Magazine of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Corps Formation: 1 October 1942 Corps Motto: Arte et Marte Corps Patron Saint: St Eligius (Celebrated 1st Sunday in December)
Editor: Katy Walton + Corporate Communications Officer RHQ REME, The Prince Philip Barracks, Lyneham, CHIPPENHAM, SN15 4XX firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method) email@example.com (for changes of address) ( Mil: 95481 4529 Civ: 01249 894529 SUBMITTING ARTICLES TEXT: should be submitted in MS Word and name saved as per the article. No formatting, columns, power point etc. Articles to be cleared by CO/OC/EME or appropriate REME CoC, or nominated substitute and should be submitted as soon as possible. PHOTOGRAPHS: MUST be submitted separately, in jpeg format and be at least 500kb preferably 1mb or more. Only photos over 3mb can be considered for the front/back covers and please remember captions. FILESHARE: websites, such as dropbox are ideal for submitting larger files. EMAIL: The ONLY email address which should be used is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Not MODnet. Please use the article title not ‘Craftsman Article’ as the email title. TIMINGS: The latest submission date is the first day of the month prior to publication. This does not guarantee the article will be published in that specific edition. Births, Engagements, Marriages and Deaths: These will be inserted free to all past and present members of the Corps. Contents: The contents of The Craftsman are strictly copyright and all rights are expressly reserved. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy and views, official or otherwise, of the Editor, the Corps or the MOD, therefore no responsibility for these will be accepted. Whilst including an advertisement we are not necessarily endorsing the product and as a result, the publisher and its agents do not accept responsibility for any transaction between the reader and the advertiser. Whilst we take all precautions with regard to advertising, readers are advised to take professional advice before entering into any commitments. Letters concerning reproduction, contributions or any other matter should be addressed to the Editor. © Published by RHQ REME. Funded by The REME Charity. www.remecharity.org.
Contents MARCH 2021 FEATURES Guest Editorial: Col Mike Bullard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Trade Talks: Metalsmiths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Changes to Apprenticeship Schemes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 A Visit from the Corps ASM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 From Electronic Warfare to Combating COVID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 The Craftsman Magazine’s Reader Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Excellence in REME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Tech Stores and Allocated Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 OPERATIONS AND EXERCISES Op CABRIT 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Ex INVICTA SHOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 REGULARS Book Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Letter to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Corps News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 REME Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Death Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Extracts from the London Gazette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 The REME Charity; Humour in Uniform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Screwjack Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Corps Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 SPORT REME Squash: Back to Squash 2021 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Angling Championships 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Trailwalker Relay 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 47 Regt RA Wksp Go the Distance for Veterans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Advertising All communications regarding commercial advertising rates should be made direct to the Editor. Sustainably produced on paper sourced from responsible sources using vegetable based inks. Jamprint Design & Printing Ltd www.jamprint.co.uk email@example.com 01249 823 950 © Crown Copyright General Handling: This publication contains official information and should be treated with discretion.
Volume 77 No. 3
Front Cover: Members of 5 RIFLES LAD enjoyed a white Christmas whilst deployed in Estonia. Read more about their role in Operation CABRIT 7 on page 18.
members of 1 YORKS LAD are currently deployed to the West Midlands, supporting the NHS as part of the UK Resilience Unit tasking
grading Boards have been carried out via the Career Management Portal
2295kg Soldiers from 6 Armd CS Bn collected
of donations for Andover Food Bank over December and January
47 Regt RA Wksp raised over
VM was deployed with Crisis Response Troops during hurricane season
1000 for charity
A REME 20 Armd Coy, 3 Bn Veteran came REME conducted house raids during Ex IRON in the motorcycle HOG last category of the October Dakar Rally 2021
Achieved over 90% availability while on exercise? Beaten a fundraising target for The REME Charity? If you have the numbers, we want to share them. Email your best stats and facts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
REME Global Reach
Each month we highlight the global reach of REME personnel, whether it be on operations, exercise or any other challenge set before them.
Ex PRAIRIE TRANSPORTER – Canada BATUS Workshop has assisted the Field Army by inspecting and repairing a number of Power Packs and vehicles to support the Field Force. The equipment will be moved 4000km across Canada and then loaded onto ROROs for return to the UK and Germany. The exercise is currently being conducted in harsh wintery conditions of -35 degrees and deep snow.
Ex TALLIN DAWN – Germany
Key: RHQ REME Operations Exercises Other
Seven members of 1 YORKS LAD have deployed to Sennelager on Exercise TALLIN DAWN. They are supporting Alma Coy, 1 YORKS during their stint as Task Force HANNIBAL OPFOR.
Ex WINTER DEPLOYMENT 21 REME and RM Tradesmen from across 3 Cdo Bde are taking part in the annual deployment to Norway where they will develop their skills in Arctic Warfare and sustainment in some of the world’s harshest conditions. Testing new equipment, doctrines and concepts, they are transitioning towards the Future Commando Force model, which involves smaller teams deployed at reach. How ES will be embedded/applied is being worked on but ‘Repair Forward’ remains the overriding principle.
GET IN TOUCH Where in the world are you keeping the punch in the Army’s fist?
Phone: (Mil) 95481 4528/ (Civ) 01249 894528 Email: email@example.com Facebook: facebook.com/REMECorps Twitter: @Official_REME Instagram: @REME_Official
Keep an eye on our social media channels for weekly updates on REME’s Global Reach. Then catch up on everything you’ve missed in this dedicated section of The Craftsman!
Preparing Future Candidates – Fiji LCpl Morris, of 5 RIFLES LAD, has recently spent some time back in Fiji. He returned home to see his new-born daughter and support his wife. Whilst enjoying some wellearned rest, he has also taken the opportunity to help prepare future candidates for the assessments they will face when coming to the UK. He has assisted the Royal British Legion with conducting pre-assessments and also spent time discussing the training pathway and benefits of taking on a trade.
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Colonel Mike Bullard MBE, AH CSS APC Changes to REME Career Management and Top Tips on How to Get the Best from Your Career
ow back in Glasgow and in my last job as Colonel Career Management (CM) of the CSS Branch, overseeing CM for all REME and RLC Officers and Soldiers, I want to take this opportunity to provide a rapid update on how we are managing careers in the REME CM Branch and provide some focused insight on opportunities to carve out the best career for yourself. I will start by highlighting recent changes to how business is being done by the APC, not because of COVID (although it has been a great catalyst) but, because we absolutely recognise the need to keep pace in the digital age and to provide an efficient and professional service. I will also touch on the Army’s People Change Programme CASTLE - and the impact we can expect to see in the coming years and I will finish with some important career top tips from a Desk Officer perspective. First, I think it’s worth reminding you of what we do in the REME CM Branch. The principal CM functions are to Manage, Assign and Advise all REME Officers and Soldiers. By dint of this we conduct and assure Appraisals, Promotions, Assignments, Terms of Service and End of Service action. Whilst this sounds process heavy, everything we do impacts on Soldiers and their families, employers and delivers operational output. So, it is both a fascinating and rewarding place to work, supported by a team of dedicated and talented civilian and military staff. If you ever get the opportunity, please come and pay a visit – it is well worth it. At this stage it is also worth highlighting that there is a difference in the level of service provided across the Branch; on average between 500-800 REME Soldiers are served by a single Desk Officer, whereas for Officers it is around 200. Inevitably, this means that particularly our junior Soldiers are not afforded quite the same amount of time as given to others. We mitigated this by having the chain of command and RCMOs to help provide excellent distributed career advice. This works, but we still recognise that there is a disparity and we aim to address this in the near future as we deliver enhanced career management to all.
Changes to Career Management There have been many changes over the past 12 months resulting from direction to work from home. Like many, the staff have had to adopt new ways of working to deliver the same outputs:
E-Boarding Since March 2020, all REME Boards (grading, employment and assignment) have been conducted remotely, still in accordance with regulation, but with Board members communicating from their distributed locations. This has had its challenges, not least the need to digitise all Board evidence, but has demonstrated there is no longer the need for hardcopy AR Books or P/Files. This development has fundamentally changed how business is done by the APC, offering greater flexibility, transparency and significant efficiencies. Of note is the development of the Career Management Portal software application, which digitally replicates and automates the 6 firstname.lastname@example.org
boarding processes (Pre-Board filtering, Access to ARs and Manning Profile Sheets, Scoring, Line Drawing and publishing Board Results by Trade/ YoS/ EED). As at January this year over 500 grading Boards have successfully been carried out using this application. Initial calculations confirm that the time spent by staff preparing, conducting and publishing Boards is less than half that previously required. The aim is for this saving to be reinvested into providing ‘broader and deeper’ career management to all and in so doing also help close the gap between the service provided to our Officers and Soldiers. Whilst the Career Management Portal Grading App is now Business as Usual for the APC, generating savings in time, paper and space, the next phase is the delivery of the Appointing App which also gives the option for formal Appointment Boards to be conducted remotely and electronically. Also running in parallel has been the development of the MyCareer App which aims to be delivered after Easter and will allow all service personnel to actively manage their careers via their personal iphones/PEDs. The MyCareer App has the potential to be a real game changer as it will really empower users and allow them to: • See a full list of appointments/posts in their current rank and trade and one rank up at Regimental Duty, E1 and E2. • Submit PPPs. • See their service details i.e Engagement Type, Current Assignment, Future Availability Date, Rank. • See all their SJARs and OJARs. Know whether they are eligible for promotion and if not why, i.e. which eligibility criteria they do not meet, time in rank (seniority), trade qualification or education, i.e. ALDP (CLM).
Communications The REME CM Branch recognise that there is a real thirst for accurate and timely career information and so great effort has gone into
optimising social media and wider communications channels to provide an all-informed REME net, which has timely, relevant and transparent information. Recent initiatives delivered by the REME CM Branch and the APC, include: • REME Facebook. REME Soldier Wing has introduced a dedicated Communications Manager post to create and manage the REME Career Management Facebook group. This connects the whole of the REME community and pushes information direct to REME Soldiers, helping individuals to better understand and shape their own careers. There has been great success with the new vlogs that explain how to complete a PPP, the FCR process and how the Promotion, Assignment and Employability Boards work. These are excellent and really worth a watch. • Posting Preference Proforma (PPP). REME Soldier Wing has also introduced an interactive Power BI Jobs List and has revamped the PPP into a new PDF format, which enables Soldiers to have greater involvement and focussed engagement in their own careers. • Field Force Input. The REME CM Branch has always encouraged the CoC to come and observe Grading Boards. REME Soldier Wing has now also formalised Field Force representation at all Soldier Assignment Boards. This ensures relevant military input to help better inform decisions, resulting in better outcomes for all. • Defence Connect. The APC is exploiting Defence Connect to maximise its reach. MS Web is now replicated on Defence Connect, which publishes all jobs and boarding results, thus allowing access for all service personnel who don’t have access to MODNET. Of note is the ability to set Alerts, which ensures that you are informed when any REME announcements are published. • APC Career Management Update. Have a look at APC Career Management Update on Defence Connect. It is an excellent onestop-shop that has all the relevant People Policy updates and amendments to JSPs, ABN, DINs and AGAIs and is an easy way to keep up to speed on all career matters. • APC WEBINARS. Webinars are now used as an effective tool to provide Career Management Central Briefings, which can advise and assist service personnel and help better engage with different communities. These are well received and help provide a regular drum beat of information to the Field Force.
Programme CASTLE Programme CASTLE is the Army’s People Change Programme that aims over the coming years to deliver a series of integrated projects that enhance the career management of Army personnel. Programme CASTLE provides excellent regular updates through its online Newsletters. Some of the key projects include:
Through Life Career Management Whilst Formal Career Reviews continue, the aim here is to provide ‘Through Life Career Management’ which will be a subtle shift away from episodic engagement to a more coherent, consistent and incrementally reinforcing series of routine conversations between service personnel and their Career Manager, with the CoC engaged appropriately such as to enhance the relationship between the CM triumvirate (Service Personnel, CoC and CM). This could look like: • More regular career advice (both formal and informal). • Conducted at the right time (by the right person). • Recorded and agreed through CM Portal. • Service Personnel have more access to their career profile through CM Portal.
Senior Soldier Assessment Board This is a refinement to the application and selection process for all Arms and Services Late Entry (LE) and Senior Soldier Entry (Devolved) (SSE (D)) commissions by implementing a single and common Senior Soldier Assessment Board (SSAB) for all candidates. The detail of the process is contained in DIN 2021DIN01-001(Jan 21) this is being delivered this year.
Single Officer Terms of Service This is to be introduced for all Army Regular and Reserve Officers,
less PQOs, and is expected to comprise of: • Single TOS for all Officers commissioning from 2023. • Extended EED LOS Reg C to those boarded for conversion of commission to Reg C from 2023. • Common BeL in 2023 and PL in 2024 for those who transfer to single TOS. • Changes to ICSC(L) capacity from 2027/28 if all OF3 are to attend.
Army Talent Framework The aim behind this project is to provide a common language of skills and proficiency that will enable service personnel to clearly understand the skills they need in their career, as well as the skills they already have. It will help line managers and CoC to better support the development of their people and for career managers to find the right jobs for them. The common language is to be competency based, defining the Knowledge, Application of Skill, Experience and Behaviours (KSE-B) needed to develop one’s career. This is a significant piece of work and is fundamental to delivering enhanced career management.
Top Tips Everyone has a view on what’s best for your career, but below are some common and enduring tips that apply to both REME Officers and Soldiers. It’s worth taking some time to think how you can best apply them: • Get involved in your career. Take an interest, ask questions and look further ahead than just the next rank. The MyCareer App will support you in this. • Make sure your JPA Profile is accurate. Data accuracy is fundamental to making good career decisions and presenting you with opportunities. Again, the MyCareer App will support you in this. • Shape your SJAR/OJAR – near, middle and far. Have a five-year plan. Know when you are due assignment, what jobs/options are available, and where you see your career going, then communicate your plan with your CoC. • Look back at previous boards to understand what might be available – looking two or three years back for an upcoming Board. Look at Promotion Board results to see who has been selected, as their job will now need filling and look out for ‘no selections’ from the previous board. • Understand your career stream/CEG and know what you need to do to get the best out of your chosen career - make sure you have joined the REME Career Management Facebook group. The vlogs are a must watch! • Promotion is based on potential, so understand the responsibilities and traits of the next rank up and what a Promotion Board looks for in our leaders. You should engage with your 1RO to seek suitable objectives and opportunities to help develop that recommendation. • Selection for Artificer is competitive; just because you have passed a PAB doesn’t mean you will be selected for Artificer training by the ACSLB, so work hard at developing opportunities to show your qualities. • Stand Out. If you are doing something good, make sure your 1RO and 2RO know about it. • Be realistic and manage your own expectations. Not everyone can be top third. • Please remember the REME Branch of APC is there to help. They represent your needs and will do their very best for you but sometimes the ‘Needs of the Service’ come first. • Connect. If and when you can, get up to Glasgow and/or connect with your Desk Officer. I hope this article provides a useful update. However things move fast and there will be further developments by the time this is published. So keep connected with the REME CM Branch and get to know your Desk Officer. We want to provide you with the best service we possibly can. Thank you and Arte et Marte.
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The History of Exercise HARDFALL By Olav Aalen Reviewed by Maj (Retd) Rick Henderson, REME Museum Director
‘Fighting’ against the elements
lav Alaen’s new book explores Exercise Hardfall, the annual military Arctic Warfare Training exercise conducted in Norway from 1967 to 2002. The book starts with a brief explanation of the reasons behind the formation of Allied Command Europe (Land) - more commonly referred to as AMF (L) - a multinational task force ready for rapid deployment. As Norway has a common border with Russia (formerly part of the Soviet Union), NATO during the Cold War years made detailed plans to come to Norway’s rapid assistance if required. The book is structured chronologically, but covers all the different British units that deployed. This informative work then focuses on individual recollections, from both Norwegian and British personnel, primarily Norwegian Liaison Officers. Whilst there is understandably common themes in their experiences, each provides a different and interesting perspective. Another topic covered, but often overlooked, is the complicated logistics required to put on such an exercise and the level of commitment required from the host nation’s full time military and reservists to provide the specialist instruction for the visiting military units. There are many amusing stories, including a recollection of how difficult British troops found skiing on NATO planks. Or, more importantly, the ability to stop when skiing downhill on said planks! These light hearted tales are balanced with more serious accounts of the types of training undertaken during the Arctic Warfare course and of some of the real hazards encountered when operating in these extremely harsh conditions. The book does not shy away from
covering some of the unfortunate consequences when things go wrong. I found it fascinating to discover what the host military instructors thought about not only British troops’ military skills but also their traditions and behaviour. There are accounts of when the British choose to ignore advice given and were fortunate to be rescued by their hosts. Equally there are also times the hosts are impressed by the tenacity and level of endurance displayed by the British troops they were assisting. Throughout the book are a number of interesting recollections from Norwegian Officers regarding the social activities provided by the British, from Royal visits to Mess life. The Norwegian Liaison Officers also seemed to have enjoyed hosting British Officers at dinner parties. This may also explain the number of young British Officers who now have Norwegians wives. There are also excellent insights into what the Norwegian forces thought about the British equipment and rations. As someone who deployed four times on Exercise Hardfall I thoroughly enjoyed being dragged down memory lane. I can recall some of the incidents mentioned in the book clearly and therefore found it authentic. Having been lucky enough to have worked alongside one of the Norwegian Liaison Officers (training to be a unit snow and ice driving instructor) I experienced first-hand the level of commitment, friendship and humour the Norwegians readily provided to the British Army. The book is an easy read and I am sure will be entertaining to those who have deployed to Norway as well as an informative and an interesting read for those who never had the chance to experience training in this challenging environment.
Colonel Dave Harris Takes Over as New Colonel REME Reserves Scribe: Maj Simon Langham
n 1 February, Colonel Kevin Hearty QVRM handed over the appointment of Colonel REME Reserves to Colonel Dave Harris, who arrives fresh from mobilised service as the SO1 Planner for Op RESCRIPT in the North West. Colonel Kevin is retiring from the Army Reserve after 41 years service having been promoted through the ranks and commissioning as a WO1. However, this isn’t a final goodbye because he will continue to support the Army as Colonel Cadets for the South East. So for now we say ‘bon voyage’ from the Army Reserves and the Corps and thank you for your loyal service and outstanding leadership of the REME Reserves. Colonel Kevin, we wish you all the very best.
Letters to the Editor
Duty Recovery System From: Pete Botley
just thought I would put pen to paper with regard to the article in January’s magazine about Recovery Mechanics. I wasn’t a Rec Mech. I was a VMB/E stationed at York Barracks in 1968 attached to 10th Royal Hussars LAD. The days of Saracens, Saladins and Stalwarts. I don’t know what happens now but we used to have a Duty Recovery system so any calls outside working hours were attended to. It was mainly us in barracks, not the married guys. It gave us something to do other than drinking vast quantities of Amstel in the NAAFI. In the HQ LAD we used a British Leyland Heavy Recovery vehicle (The Big L to us, as in one of the main London radio stations, Big L, of the time). It was a good piece of kit, plus the inevitable Scammell in the other Squadrons. We had a couple of those and they were what we used for these duties. Anyway, I digress. This one night whilst on Duty Recovery we got a call to a 432 a few miles outside Munster. Can’t remember where - much, much too long ago. So, away we went and we eventually found it, left hand side half in a ditch on a small country road, just there, stuck and no one with it. Strange we thought, no driver. Think it was from the 3/8th Lancers or a similar outfit; what it was doing out there at that time of early evening, God knows. Well, we started looking round, found the inevitable local Gaststadt and guess who was in
there? Yes, the driver, pretty well lubricated and not with oil!! We got him out, then returned to the 432, hooked it up and winched it out. We asked our driver if he was OK to drive - he slurred his reassurance to us that he was* - in he clambered, started the thing up with the usual cloud of that good old black multi fuelled engine smoke and away he went. He must have been playing some tune with those tillers because that thing was going from side to side down that road like you wouldn’t believe. Thank goodness it WAS a quiet road with no traffic. I can still see it now. Frightening really when I think on. His eyeballs must have been pretty well synced with his hands as well because he just disappeared over the horizon. Gone. Well, we thought, as you would, time to exit stage left pretty quick, which we did. We never did find out what happened. We assumed he got back OK but we never asked nor found out. Probably better that we never did. Looking back now 58 years on - and I still think about it - it was all rather bizarre BUT that’s the way things used to be then, easier days I suspect. I hope this is of some interest and Sandy Duncan, if you are still with us, I say hi. He was the senior Recovery Mechanic at the time. Nice guy. ‘Duncs’ to us younger lads. Good days. *From the Editor: Do not try this today. Drink and drive is not legal.
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Metalsmiths Over its 78-year history, the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers has seen multiple changes to the trades that make it up. Today, the Corps consists of eight trades who serve across the whole of the British Army and every REME Soldier becomes an apprentice in their trade of choice. This month, Metalsmiths give us an insight into how this trade is constantly developing to provide the best opportunities for their tradespeople and the Corps.
he Metalsmith Career Employment Group (CEG) is a highly versatile trade, specialising in the repair, fabrication and manufacture of field force equipment.
Initial Metalsmith Trade Training (D255) – Where it all begins Scribe: SSgt Parker Metalsmiths start their initial trade training at the Defence School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (DSEME). Each trainee will attend a common foundation course that consists of numeracy and English assessments, bench fitting, engineering drawing techniques, health and safety awareness and crane operation applications.
Oxygen and Acetylene Welding (O/A) O/A welding techniques are delivered over a six-week period. These processes include positional welding and brazing of ferrous materials, and O/A cutting. These welding processes are not commonly used in industry; however, they remain an essential part of equipment support delivery within the Field Force.
Arc Welding Metal Inert Gas (MIG), Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and Manual Metal Arc (MMA) are more commonly used processes that are used within industry and the MOD. Trainees are assessed over a sixteen-week period and, after progressive training, are expected to weld ferrous and non-ferrous materials in various positions to a high standard.
Blacksmithing During this phase trainees are taught blacksmithing and heat treatment techniques. Trainees forge heated materials into tools, hooks, springs and brackets. This type of training is invaluable as it is applied in the field force on a regular basis.
Sheet Metal Work
manufacturing and forming sheet metal into ducting, toolboxes, funnels and vehicle panels.
The End Product On completion of trade training each tradesperson will be assigned to a designated Workshop or Battalion as qualified Class 3 Metalsmiths, where they will then be awarded Class 2 status after a six-month transition period.
Land (4 ACS Battalion REME) Scribe: SSgt Tidd The Metalsmith department at 4 Armoured Close Support Bn provide an impressive array of Equipment Support (ES) for 101 Logistics Brigade. The Battalion also supports all operational and training requirements of 12 Armoured Infantry Brigade and 3 Division. There are 15 Metalsmiths within the department who provide Third Line ES within the Tidworth/Bulford area and further afield. The main effort is to support and repair Challenger 2, Warrior and other armoured vehicles. We also support 26 Engr Regt with the repair and maintenance of heavy-duty engineering equipment. This equipment includes the Trojan platform that’s designed to breach minefields, and the Titan bridge-laying armoured vehicle. The variety of platforms that we support gives us the ability to gain a vast amount of knowledge and experience across a broad spectrum of ES requirements.
Sea (17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC Wksp) Scribe: LCpl Gardiner 17 Port and Maritime Workshop provides ES to 104 Logistics Brigade. All Metalsmiths who are assigned to 17 Port and Maritime will attend a Shipwright CEQ over a three-month period at HMS Sultan. The
All trainees must demonstrate they have the hand skills and engineering competence needed to fulfil the role of a Metalsmith, by
SSgt Parker, Mr Dan Beard and Sgt Hill at DSEME 10 email@example.com
Work boat inspection
training delivered includes Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP), carpentry, ship technology, the Basic Sea Survival Course (BSSC), and application of practical firefighting and damage control measures while onboard a ship. The main effort is to deliver ES to Combat Support Boats (CSB fibreglass construction), workboats (steel hull with aluminium superstructure) and Mexeflotes, which are landing rafts comprising of 20m x 7m steel cuboids assembled to form floating pontoons or causeways for ship to shore capabilities. Deployments include North Atlantic Patrol Taskings (APT) and aid relief during the hurricane season. The Workshop has also delivered ES training to the Nigerian Navy at the Joint Maritime Security Training Centre in support of their rigid hull inflatable boats, as per the Small Craft Maintenance Course. The wider span of taskings on different materials develops not only trade skills but problem-solving abilities due to the varied properties, construction and repair methods required. This makes for a well-rounded and capable Repairing a boat cradle tradesperson.
Air (7 Avn Sp Bn REME) Scribe: Sgt Howell, Metalsmith IC Life at 7 CS Bn REME presents a fresh challenge with unique skills picked up along the way. The Apache Attack Helicopter is our main ES effort. However, there is plenty of work to go around, from repairing Land Rover bulkheads to restoration projects around the station. The standards are high within aviation and we are no exception. Our aircraft weld test pieces are analysed, which (if passed) gives us a six-monthly competency to weld on aircraft. I very much enjoy working here and learning more about the aviation side of the Army as it will give me a very well-rounded experience of engineering in all disciplines with high standards.
Scribe: Cpl Molyneux, Metalsmith 2IC My first experience of an Apache Attack Helicopter was in a firefight in Afghanistan; I know how much of an asset it is on the battlefield from when I served in the Royal Marines. Transferring as a Cpl Class 2 Metalsmith I have the privilege to work on this incredible platform. Upon arrival I immediately started practicing and refining my TIG welding, having been loaded onto the RAF Advanced Welding course to make me eligible to submit test pieces to weld on aircraft. Not only does my TIG welding have to be ‘on point’, but you learn different metals to weld with along the way, from aircraft grade aluminium to titanium and Nimonic to name but a few. This is great experience and I know the sky’s the limit.
Cfn Harrington Why did you choose to become a Metalsmith? Before I joined, I was studying to become a Civilian Mechanic. I attended a weeklong REME insight course where we went to 17 Port and Maritime RLC and spent about half an hour with the Shipwrights (pre-amalgamation), including going around Southampton Harbour on RIBs. As a 17-year-old I was very impressed. I still did not join until I was 21 but I had no doubts that I wanted to be a Metalsmith.
Trade: Metalsmith Unit: 17 Port and Maritime Regt RLC Wksp
What have been your trade highlights or key experiences to date?
The Shipwright CEQ, which includes sea survival, firefighting and boat repairs. It is a great experience trying to plug a hole in the wall of the DRIU (the Navy’s sinking ship simulator) while the water is up to your shoulders and trying to throw you over. I had a brilliant opportunity to go away on the RFA ship, Lyme Bay, with another Metalsmith. From August to December we docked in Albania, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Malta. We worked rigorously between destinations on the Marines’ boats stored aboard the ship, the RLC’s MEXE raft, which was kept in the ship’s built in dock, and a major ship repair, which kept us entertained while most of the Soldiers on board caught up on their sun tans. I also recently had the opportunity to run my own metal bay over at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), while their Metalsmith was on his Class 1 course. It was a job that took away all my safety nets and let me prove myself. I was working with a great team of Vehicle Mechanics. I took on any job I could and conducted repairs on all sorts of vehicles as well as making workbenches, signs and 200 small brackets to help in the battle against COVID-19. I came out of it knowing I am much better at this trade than I had originally thought I was.
What opportunities has your trade given you so far? The highlight from my four months on ship would have to be the stop off in Egypt. People pay thousands to visit the Pyramids and I paid just £70 for the bus. I will never forget what it was like riding a camel though the desert to see the Great Pyramids. My first job back from the ship would have to be my favourite; to design and construct a Temple for the Gurkha Trust. It was a job nobody else wanted and yet was perfect for me. It combined my love of design and wood-working. I was managing a team on the construction of this substantial structure and towards the end of the project, we had almost the whole workshop onboard, helping in one way or another. It was great to have everyone working as a real team and I have never been as proud of my work as I was when myself and other Metalsmiths attended the opening of the Temple. I could see how much it meant to the Nepalese community, the Soldiers and their families.
What advice would you give to those thinking about joining REME as a Metalsmith? If you want a challenging job where you are going to be working on a new challenge every other week then it could be for you. I never joined thinking I was going to build a place for Buddhists and Hindus to pray. I never thought I would be drawing designs for workbenches that will be supporting the weight of a race car. I never even planned to be a Metalsmith, but I love the diversity of the workload. It has been good so far.
What are your future goals in REME?
Working on Apache Attack Helicopters
I will be headed out of trade for a bit now to work with the Corps Engagement Team. I am excited for a different perspective on the Army and I think working in engagement could be a good way to see the wider REME. After that I will be pushing for my Class 1 and eventually I would like to go back to work with the ARRC.
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REME Engineering Development and Research Database
re you currently undergoing study as part of a course or for personal development, or are you planning to undertake study in the near future? If yes, please read on. If not, please consider doing so; there is talent out there just waiting to be discovered. Speak to your unit Training Officer for further details on how to apply. As professional engineers we strive for excellence and part of that journey is through further education and continuous personal/professional development. Whether you are just starting out in your professional engineering journey or studying for a degree, either sponsored or of your own volition, the Corps wants to know what you are studying and why.
Who decides what needs looking into? The REME Intellectual Focus Sponsor Group comprises of personnel from DE&S, HoC CSS, Comds ES, RHQ REME, Ch Engr (A) and JHC, to name but a few. Their aim is to look across current and future equipment programs and identify areas which require further research. And that’s where you come in. The REME Arms School has established a database of study topics, both current and future, which you can browse online.
Why does the Corps want to know? Simple; the Corps wants to help you focus your efforts on areas of study that may have a tangible benefit to the Corps or wider Defence.
What do I get out of it? One of the early hurdles when undertaking study can be choosing an interesting and relevant topic. The EDRD will contain a bank of questions for you to look into to see what subject sparks your interest. The next step will be a quick email to the REME Arms School to explain why you want to study that particular topic and at what level, e g. as part of a ‘tiffy’ project or to obtain a Bachelor or Master’s Degree. Also, recording your current research will allow the Corps to put you in touch with others with experience in your field, who may be able to advise or assist you with your project. The first step is to find out what studies are currently being undertaken, hence the requirement for this survey.
Where do I sign up? You can access the survey via this link: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id= 7WB3vlNZS0iuldChbfoJ5TT4u3KsIkdOv-FxiPJabRJUODQ1TlhEVUM2UU5UU0JHRjVMOElRMTdZSS4u Alternatively if you prefer to partake in the survey using your phone, use the QR code. Please take a few moments to answer the questions and we can get the ball rolling.
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Please scan the QR code with your phone to take the survey
SSgt Andy Beacock EngTech MIMechE
Gain professional registration as an EngTech, IEng or CEng through a route specifically designed for REME personnel. Enhance your military career Benchmark your skills and training Develop your professional network and connections Apply now at imeche.org/armedforces For more support contact our Defence Liaison O cer 07590 735816
Changes to the REME Apprenticeship Scheme Apprenticeships have changed. Dave White (SO2 Engineering Assurance, RHQ REME) explains why and how this affects REME Apprentices now. The case for change
Impact and transitional arrangements
Since 1 August 2020 all new arrivals to Initial Trade Training (ITT) at DSEME have been enrolled on to the new Apprenticeship Standards. Prior to this date all individuals had been enrolled onto Apprenticeship Frameworks. This change came about due to the Government decision to cease the delivery of frameworks and introduce a new system of apprenticeships. In a framework the apprentice is assessed throughout their apprenticeship journey; there are a number of qualifications included in the apprenticeship and completion of all of those elements equals completion of the apprenticeship. There is no overall assessment of the apprenticeship, so at no point does anyone check that the apprentice actually has the right skills to fulfil their role. In a standard, the learning happens throughout the apprenticeship journey and the apprentice is formally assessed at the end. The apprentice will learn Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours appropriate to the apprenticeship and these will be assessed at the end of the apprenticeship, by what is known as an End Point Assessment (EPA). The below diagram illustrates the differences between frameworks and standards. In assessing which standard to move each CEG onto, the apprenticeship team undertook a comprehensive mapping activity of each standard against both ITT and the apprentice’s role once in the Field Army. Consideration was also given to the eventual end point assessment methodology.
It is apparent from the list above that some of our CEGs are now on a Level 2 Standard, having previously been on a Level 3 Framework. The comprehensive mapping activity conclusively showed that the CEGs in question simply do not have either the mathematics or knowledge delivered at ITT to attain a Level 3 Standard. For each of the affected CEGs, there is ongoing further work to identify opportunities for attainment of a Level 3 award. As an example, there is a Level 3 Standard for Lifting Equipment Engineering that, whilst not yet approved for delivery, may prove to be suitable for Recovery Mechanics at the Class 1 level. There are options for all of the affected CEGs and the Apprenticeship team is actively seeking solutions. The reduction to Level 2 for the affected CEGs will not impact on their ability, less TSS, to attain the Professional Engineering Registration of Engineering Technician (Eng Tech). The trigger for Eng Tech is completion of an appropriate Level 3 Apprenticeship OR completion of a Class 1 trade course. Further, the change to Apprenticeship Standards will not affect any Soldier already enrolled on the Apprenticeship Framework as the framework will be maintained as we transition to the new standards. Simply put, if an individual has been enrolled on a framework they will complete that framework. Please pass any questions through your respective Trade Champions so they may be raised at the monthly Apprenticeship Management Boards. A formal progress update will be provided in June this year.
Standards selected The following standards were eventually identified for each CEG: • Vehicle Mechanics - Engineering Technician, Technical Support Technician Level 3. • Technician Electronics - Engineering Technician, Mechatronics Maintenance Technician Level 3. • Technician Avionics - Engineering Technician, Aircraft maintenance Technician Level 3. • Technician Aircraft - Engineering Technician, Aircraft Maintenance Technician Level 3. • Metalsmith - Metal Fabricator, Level 3. • Armourer - Engineering Operative, Level 2. • Recovery Mechanic - Engineering Operative, Level 2. • Technical Support Specialist - Supply Chain Warehouse Operative, Level 2.
End Point Assessments The EPAs for the selected standards are all slightly different. They will consist of a combination of: • A professional discussion between the apprentice and an independent assessor. • A review of the apprentice’s portfolio of work by an independent assessor. • Observed tasks in the apprentices’ normal working environment by an independent assessor. • Formal Knowledge tests.
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5 Regt AAC Wksp REME
A Visit from the Corps ASM For three days in November 2020, the Corps ASM, WO1 (CASM) Daniel McNeil, visited REME Officers and Soldiers stationed in Northern Ireland. Scribe: WO2 G King REME
assumed the appointment of Workshop Sergeant Major (WSM) in August last year and seized the opportunity to invite the Corps ASM, WO1 Daniel McNeil, over to the Workshop based in Northern Ireland (NI). This was a challenging task, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and strict guidelines.
Day One Upon arrival at 5 Regt AAC Wksp, I escorted WO1 McNeil to his VIP accommodation in the WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess. The Workshop ASM (WO1 James Garwood) greeted the Corps ASM in the anteroom and introduced him to some of our living-in members. We enjoyed some hearty banter whilst providing the Corps ASM with an insight into the Workshop, Regiment and Aldergrove Flying Station.
Day Two The programme for the visit was built around a balance of providing the Corps ASM with an insight into the capabilities of the Workshop and enabling him to engage with the Officers and Soldiers. The day started early with a COVID compliant windscreen tour of FS Aldergrove, highlighting the various ongoing infrastructure projects aimed at improving the welfare and mental wellbeing of the families and Soldiers. In the absence of the OC (Maj Shawn Nel), WO1 McNeil was greeted by the 2IC (Capt Sean Hunter) and introduced to the Officers and Warrant Officers whilst indulging in some early morning treats. Capt Hunter delivered an informative presentation to the Corps ASM, explaining the role of the Workshop in supporting UK Counter Terrorism (UKCT) operations and the unique engineering challenges experienced whilst working on ageing aircraft.
665 Aircraft Maintenance Platoon Scribe: WO2 (AQMS) Graeme McConaghy REME During WO1 McNeil’s visit, he was introduced to tradesmen who were busily engaged in maintaining the Gazelle AH Mk 1 Fleet. The Corps ASM was able to understand and appreciate their daily routine in support of UKCT Ops on an aging platform and their life at FS Aldergrove. He was also shown around the various aircraft lines, including those personnel currently undergoing training to develop organic Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) capability with support from 7 Bn REME. The Corps ASM was shown around Hangar 6 additionally, which has been re-established as a secondary Gazelle hangar owing to the high amount of depth work required to recover the fleet from several Urgent Technical Instructions. This also contributed towards the Workshop COVID resilience plan by separating the workforce into smaller cohort bubbles. WO1 McNeil was surprised to see the high level of crossservicing required within the Gazelle Fleet in order to maintain a forward capability due to diminished ES resources and appreciated the Technicians’ forward thinking approach to the increased maintenance burden that this brings.
651 Aircraft Maintenance Platoon Scribe: Capt Liam Bloxham REME Personnel in 651 AM Pl work to maintain the fleet of Islander and Defender aircraft – ISTAR assets that are now operated by the RAF. WO1 McNeil’s visit to the AMP coincided with a visit from the RAF ISTAR Force Commander, Air Commodore Hay, who was visiting the unit to discuss the future ‘sunset’ of the Islander and Defender airframes. The news of the impending closure of the Platoon led
to many questions for the Corps ASM on future assignments that would be available to personnel and what support is being offered by the Corps for individuals’ careers and families. In a time of much turbulence and uncertainty, WO1 McNeil was able to provide answers on how future careers could progress as well as updating personnel on wider Corps matters, including changes to the Artisan career stream, commissioning and what qualifications would be on offer in the future. Some of these updates led to healthy debates on the Workshop floor about what it meant for each individual, but on the whole the visit provided a much-needed link back to the wider Corps, for what is a rather RAF-focussed and geographically dislocated platoon.
Day Three After receiving an excellent tour of both AM Platoons and refreshed from the previous night’s activities, the following day started with an introduction in the gym for COVID PT accompanied with the traditional Northern Ireland weather of heavy rain.
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Later that morning, the Corps ASM was invited to deliver an update on Corps matters, in a series of presentations to the Officers and Soldiers. The presentations from WO1 McNeil were excellent with so much valuable information that gave the audience much to think about and generated lots of questions.
Summary After a busy three-day programme for the Corps ASM, Capt Hunter presented him with an engraved Workshop plaque. He thanked the Corps ASM for taking the time to visit the Workshop, spending time with the troops and providing a much need Corps update, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and a period of uncertainty for the unit. The visit to the Workshop certainly raised the morale of the troops.
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14 Signal Regiment (EW) LAD
From Electronic Warfare to Combating COVID Like many REME personnel across the United Kingdom, Soldiers from 14 Sig Regt (EW) LAD found themselves facing a new challenge in the fight against COVID-19. LCpl Williams, LCpl Jones and LCpl Allan share their experience of Op RESCRIPT.
uring the Coronavirus pandemic multiple LAD personnel were aligned to the Regiment-led COVID Support Force (CSF) as part of Op RESCRIPT. The taskings included COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit activities and providing additional workforce to the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) tasking. These involved driving the Ambulances or Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) and assisting the paramedics in their duties, as well as conducting decontamination duties to clean the vehicles.
WAST Tasking Group The WAST task started with a two-day training package in Chepstow. Day one of the training consisted of different stands designed to give you a brief overview of things we might be asked to do and going over the use of specialist equipment. The first stand showed us the different vehicles we would be working out of, showing us where all the kit and equipment was stored, how to operate the radio and computer interface system as well as how to operate the tail lift on the ambulances. The second stand was going through all the medical kit in the back of the ambulance in more detail. We were shown the contents of the different response kit bags and how you would use various items within them, as well as being shown things
like the O2 and N2O cylinders and how to set it all up ready for use. We then moved onto the third stand where we were all fitted for various PPE items we would be required to wear in different situations; being shown how to don and doff each item correctly and in the correct order so you don’t contaminate yourself or others while doing so. The last stand of the day involved being shown how to use all the different handling aids, from the folding chair at the back which has an attachment track for going down stairs easily, to the spinal boards and the ELK which is a blow-up chair to aid getting people off the floor in a safe manner. On the second day we received an overview of driving situations and different exemptions to the law that would apply to us, before then moving onto the practical driving assessment section. We completed a course set up on the camp to test our manoeuvring before then moving onto the public roads to demonstrate our ability to conduct this new capability safely. We were all very surprised at how easy the ambulances were to drive and how responsive they were for their size. The last stand was on being taken through scenarios by one of the paramedics, being shown what kit they would take to different situations and the process they would use, as well as how to set up the kit that would be needed, such as the ECG machine or the defibrillator. The training overall was brief but had loads of information; we all enjoyed it and were very keen to get to our duty Ambulance Stations and into the thick of it all. Following the two-day training package, we deployed to Llanelli Cadet Centre, where we were accommodated for the duration of the tasking. During this period, we were split up into different 12-hour shifts consisting of either days or nights, working out of different Ambulance Stations in Llanelli, Neath, Llandudno, Llandeilo, Swansea or Ammanford. The shifts were either on a RRV with a Paramedic or an advanced Paramedic, or on a ‘truck’ (Ambulance). From the word go we were thrown into the deep end, responding to live 999 emergency calls and often attending up to seven jobs within the 12hour shift period. We assisted a wide variety of tasks, from LCpl Williams assisting a gentleman with severed fingers to Sgt Gee carrying out CPR for a sustained period on a cardiac arrest patient in full Red PPE. Some of the tasks were very demanding and challenging to all involved. Overall, it was an utterly fantastic experience and a really good insight into the job that these talented people do for our country. It was very humbling to see how welcomed we were by the WAST and the locals, whom we were assisting on a daily basis.
Mobile Testing Unit and ‘Train the Trainers’ During the COVID-19 period, Cpl Doyle and LCpl Jones of the LAD were assigned to conduct the COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) Train the Trainer (TtT) course. This involved two-day training in unit, followed by an additional one-day training package in Tern Hill where they learnt how to set up an MTU. Following this, they deployed to Grantham where they were assessed on everything that they had been taught in the last few days of training. They were then tasked on multiple occasions to train the various rotations of personnel within the Regiment, covering a variety of ranks from different departments in order for them to be deployed out to an MTU site to conduct testing on local civilians. An MTU has a very similar set out to a rolling replenishment, with extra precautions put in place to safeguard the personnel
conducting the tests. There was a lot of information to take on board in a very short period of time outside of our normal daily business and routine. All members adapted well and pushed forward to conduct an outstanding job for the duration. Overall, the tasking was an enjoyable experience and it was good to see that the Soldiers we trained had taken on board what we taught them and employed it out on the ground. They were now providing a key supporting role to emergency services and local councils/government whilst remaining safe at all times.
Essential Firm Base Personnel When COVID-19 first started to be announced in the world news, the decision was made from the LAD Chain of Command that we would all work extended hours to get ahead of the game and maximise the Regiment’s vehicle availability in order to enable them to deploy more effectively if they were required to do so. Due to the hard work and commitment to the task, the Regiment’s vehicle availability went up to a very respectful 93%. As the situation progressed and the virus became more prevalent in the UK, it was decided that only a core element of personnel would remain in work to conduct essential firm base tasks with the remainder being dispersed awaiting tasking at 48 hours NTE. Over this period, because the vehicle availability was so high and the remaining vehicles were long term ‘Non-Taskworthy awaiting Lv 4 repair’, we were able to maintain all platforms held at readiness to c.90%, whilst also having the white space to complete additional tasks that we would not normally have had the time to focus fully on. Infrastructure and Departments were re-organised, creating a leaner and more effective LAD structure and processes to best meet the challenges and needs looking ahead to A2025. Also, during this time, having minimal external pressures, we were able to carry out contingency training in case we were called upon to back fill either the WAST tasking or COVID testing elements. Concurrently, we were also maintaining the Regiment’s holdings; conducting the required servicing, maintenance and inspections of the wider Regimental equipment, ensuring our junior tradesmen were still getting valuable time on the tools.
Be recognised for your professionalism Professional registration provides recognition of your military skills and experience and may mean you are eligible for up to £3,000 once achieved*. We are licensed by the Engineering Council to award CEng, IEng and EngTech. With IET membership discounts available for technicians and annual fee reimbursement by the MOD, there is no better time to apply.
Become professionally registered with the IET. How to apply If you’re currently serving in the Armed Forces, you could be eligible to apply by Special Registration Agreement, which maps your role to professional registration requirements and makes the process quicker and easier.
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5 RIFLES LAD
Operation CABRIT 7 From motor shows and cadres through to working with Allied Forces, working as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence isn’t all mud and snow. Scribe: Lt V Naker - EMELt 5 RIFLES LAD is nearing the end of their deployment on Operation CABRIT 7 as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Estonia. The BG LAD led by 5 RIFLES also comprises of elements from the Fitter Sects of D Sqn (QRH), 5 AES (22 Engr Regt), Chestnut Tp (1 RHA), 5 Armd Coy (3 Bn REME), 3 Regt RLC and 27 Regt RLC. A deployment under the context of COVID-19 has presented new challenges to overcome but, as expected, the tradesmen’s output and morale has remained high. The LAD is responsible for maintaining c.470 items of equipment, both armoured and wheeled, including bespoke platforms providing niche capabilities. All personnel are also permanently held at either six hours or 12 hours NTM. The workload has been demanding, testing individuals in conditions foreign to what they are usually accustomed to. Despite this, they have found time to exploit some of the excellent extracurricular opportunities available in Estonia. These have included;
skiing, ice-driving, motor shows and battlefield studies. The BG did a brilliant job to ensure that Christmas felt as festive as it would do back home; consistent snow on the ground went a long way to helping! Decorations, Christmas trees and ‘gunfire’ on the day are just some of the ways in which we were able to embrace the Christmas spirit. A massive thank you goes to those organising Operation CHRISTMAS BOX which gave each member of the BG something to open on Christmas Day. Finally, the biggest thanks are reserved for the friends and family back home. The support received during these testing times has not gone unnoticed and we are all looking forward to some well-deserved time off together in April. But for now, here’s what we’ve been up to so far…
HOTO Scribe: LCpl Thomas, VM 2, HQ Coy Ftr Sect Op CABRIT 7 started for much of the LAD at the end of August, with a two-week isolation period at either The Defence Academy in Shrivenham, AKA ‘The Hilton’, or the far less glamorous settings of Swynnerton and Capel Curig. Following the usual ‘on the bus, off the bus’ exploits at South Cerney and Brize Norton, we arrived in Estonia at the start of September. We immediately rolled into a HOTO with the previous LAD, exchanging a full BG’s worth of equipment within a small window. Usual challenges were faced due to a short turnaround; nevertheless, we soon gave a socially distanced wave goodbye to our comrades and wished them a safe trip back. With the HOTO now complete, there was limited time to prepare vehicles for the upcoming exercise phase – so we cracked on. A validation ALERTEX was soon called by 1st Estonian Bde to judge how quickly the BG can react to an imminent threat. As expected, the ALERTEX was called in the early hours of the morning. Everyone quickly rubbed the sleep from their eyes and made best speed towards, firstly, the armoury and then to the vehicle sheds. Watching and listening to the noise generated as an entire armoured BG’s worth of equipment formed up within their Combat Teams was truly impressive. The number of vehicles that made it to the FUP was a real testament to efforts of the various REME attachments. Once all were present and accounted for, we rumbled out the gate, deploying onto the Central Training Area (CTA) and into Op FURIOUS BUGLE…
Op FURIOUS BUGLE – Interoperability Training with Danish and Estonian Forces Scribe: Cfn Gurung, VM 2, 5 AES Ftr Sect Christmas on operations
October was a busy month with the Fitter Section deploying on Op FURIOUS BUGLE (CT1 - CT3)
Battle Tanks (MBT) and a WARRIOR Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) to compete with. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and some of the Squadron still being on exercise in Estonia, we deployed as a small support team. The competition was a sight to behold with 12 nations competing for the two trophies; Best MBT and Best AFV. The main attraction for all was the CHALLENGER 2. Most nations were in a LEOPARD variant and the French brought the LECLERC, yet, despite its age, the CHALLENGER still drew the largest crowd. This year was the first year for the AFV event and we took a WARRIOR from A Coy 5 RIFLES. The WARRIOR was up against CV90s and held its own. Overall, the Norwegians put in an amazing performance and won both categories. After three days of competition, there was a fire power demonstration conducted by day and night. Each nation lined their equipment up on the firing point and obliterated the targets in front of them. Artillery fire and air support, from two Eurofighter Typhoons flying only meters above the viewing platform, accompanied the barrage. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am pleased I got the chance to be a part of it.
Op FURIOUS AXE – 1st Estonian Brigade Integration and Validation Exercise Scribe: Cpl Henderson, Tech 1, 1 RHA Ftr Sect The Chestnut Troop Fitter section, from 1 RHA, deployed on Op FURIOUS AXE to support a fleet of AS90s, WARRIORs, BULLDOGs and variety of B Fleet. The Section was right to it Recovery Mechanics at work during Op FURIOUS BUGLE from 29 September - 10 October. The exercise took place outside Tapa Camp, on the CTA. During the first phase of the Operation, D Sqn ran through the basic principles of operating as an Armoured Sqn, moving into conducting a SOC 4 (Obs Xing) using TITAN, TROJAN and TERRIER to provide mobility support. Moving into the CT3 phase, the Squadron was broken down into Combat Teams, supporting A Coy 5 RIFLES, D Sqn QRH and Vidar Coy from the Danish Contingent. I was part of Combat Team 2 operating in the CRARRV crew working with both D Sqn and Vidar Coy. The marshy, forested swampland of central Estonia was new to the majority of the vehicle drivers and commanders, differing significantly from the UK and BATUS. We were kept busy providing recovery to vehicles getting stuck in the soft sand, whilst simultaneously supporting the T3 Fleet. During the Op, I felt very privileged to have the opportunity to work alongside our NATO counterparts. We had a chance to work with both the Estonian and Danish Armies, improving our interoperability, mutual respect and confidence. ENDEX was called with a crew photo and we looked forward to the week ahead - preparing kit to re-deploy on Op FURIOUS AXE in Latvia…
Op IRON SPEAR – Multinational Gunnery Competition Scribe: Cpl Smith, Armr 1, 6 Bn REME attached to D Sqn QRH (The Black Pigs) Ftr Sect As an Armourer, I have had very few chances in my career to go to multinational competitions. In October, I gained this opportunity as part of the support team for the IRON SPEAR Gunnery Competition. This was hosted in Latvia by the Canadian BG, who are currently sharing a multinational camp in Adazi. The eFP Estonia BG entered two CHALLENGER 2 Main
Recovery Mechanics at work during Op FURIOUS AXE
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with jobs coming in straight off the HETS. Within 24 hours we had already diagnosed a charging fault on a WR 514, leading to the team doing what REME does best, and working late into the night with a pack lift. We finally felt at home. Following this, the fleet deployed onto the area where, due to the undulating ground, tracks were getting thrown left, right and centre. Shortly after, it was ‘job on’ for the 512-crew, heading out to pull a BULLDOG that had thrown a track and then taking the lead with helping the crew put their track back together. Sadly, our own vehicles caved in on us, which kept the VMs and Tech occupied with two charging faults for the 512 and the ‘Tiffy’ bus. However, the positive was that Cfn Hicks is now a subject matter expert in the removal and fitting of fuel pumps, having changed numerous BULLDOG pumps within the first week, including his own! The first week was over and it was onto the live firing phase for the guns. After a steady week before, the Armourers were ready for it to step up a gear and so it did. Sgt Witcomb utilised some unorthodox engineering methods to fire the last round of the day off; his work was recognized and rewarded with a CO’s coin. The Recovery Mechanics also had their work cut out for them that week, with the CRARRV on standby for the sub units remaining in Latvia. Jobs came in day and night. Cold and wet, the Recovery Mechanics embraced it, as they do, and got the job done on every occasion. On their return they were welcomed back like heroes, to 5-star REME accommodation with ponchos and a fire set up; some solid foundation training for the CWOC course in January. All in all, it was a successful deployment for the Fitter Section and an enjoyable one too with high morale throughout. We even managed to get a couple of games of cricket in, with a record of one win and one loss - don’t expect to see us in the REME Cricket Team any time soon!
of the journey was the blue light escort we received whilst driving through Latvia. A quick and precise brief from the Latvian police, and our orders were…. “Do not worry about adhering to speed limits or slowing down for speed cameras! Keep the gaps closed and we (the Latvian Police) will control the civilian traffic.” The police were true to their word and controlled everything in a well-rehearsed and professional manner. Whether it was stopping traffic at a junction or using appropriate force with oncoming traffic, they made sure the convoy had plenty of space on the road. One breakdown and 15 hours later, we arrived at our final destination; a disused and ageing ceramic factory. During the exercise, we experienced very little equipment failure, obviously because the FSp Ftr Sect always maintains its fleet to the highest possible standard. This resulted in only a few VM jobs and Cfn Easton having to repair two weapons. This gave him time to become fully acquainted with the modern equivalent of the ‘puffing billy’, ensuring that we constantly had a hot brew at hand. Cfn Delieu, demonstrating the ‘Soldier First’ ethos, had his kit packed and prepped. He deployed on the ground in a light role with the Company. Recce Pl took him under their wing, enjoying the fact they were able to pay him back for all the ‘level 1’ work he had given them. His efforts throughout the ‘recce’ taskings have not gone without credit. Upon hearing of a REME tradesman deploying out of his primary role and holding his own in some bleak conditions, the Lithuanian Brigade Commander awarded him with a coin. A very notable achievement, showing the experienced soldiers of Fire Support Coy, that we, tradesmen, can live up to our REME motto… Arte et Marte!
Op IRON WOLF - NATO BG vs BG Light Role Training
Scribe: LCpl Smith, Tech 2, 5 Armd Coy, 3 Bn REME
Scribe: Cpl Sanderson, VM 1, FSp Coy Ftr Sect It was Wednesday 4 November and it was time to deploy on Operation IRON WOLF, to demonstrate Allied capabilities for collective defence and deterrence across the Baltic States and Poland. Starting with a surprisingly late Armoury timing of 0700hrs to collect weapons, we mounted up in our vehicles ready for the long haul through Estonia, Latvia and finally into Lithuania. The highlight
The BG LAD
Tartu Motor Show In October, members of 5 Armd Coy from 3 Bn REME, had the opportunity to attend the Tartu Motor Show. The show was attended by members of the public and personnel from the eFP BG, who were there to showcase the vehicles and equipment used by ourselves. Because of this, entry to the show was free; an offer too good to miss out on! The show itself had a lot to offer, no matter your interests. Whether you prefer two or four wheels, or even mobile homes, there was something there for you. There was even an opportunity to see some
astonishing restored cars. The attention and engineering proficiency given to them was something which all, let alone REME, could appreciate. Overall having this opportunity whilst out on operations was amazing and enjoyed by all; perhaps due to the fact it offered a brief respite. Seeing the engineering achievements of the vehicles, whether they were restored or modern, was brilliant.
PNCO Cadre Scribe: Cfn McAdam, VM 2, A Coy Ftr Sect Faced with the harsh winter of Estonia, five members of the BG LAD attended an Infantry PNCO Cadre. After surviving the first day’s arduous eight miler, which saw a pass rate of under 50%, Cfn McAdam, Cfn Tabron, Cfn Sutcliffe, Cfn Westall and LCpl Roslyn were off to a good start. Soon to be housed for up to six weeks in stunning 5-star accommodation (a hangar), the students could not wait to start their daily training. The cadre covered ADLP, M Qual, K Qual, DTTT and daily outdoor PT sessions that were a shock to the system (“Rats!”). Nonetheless, the REME contingent kept up with the group and finished every session; giving the Infantry a run for their money. In the final exercise the cadre deployed onto Soodla Training Area. Temperatures had dropped into the negative and the ground was covered with snow. Initially living under ponchos, the students had to be moved into arctic tents. The exercise allowed the REME students to use weapons that they would not normally use, as well as experience Infantry tactics that we would not typically see. Despite stagging on, we got more sleep on some nights than we were used to, as we temporarily left the pack lifts behind us. The long days and short nights turned out to be no issue for the REME personnel, who all passed the course. Although it was a very tough cadre, which took us out of our comfort zones, it was a great opportunity to be tested in arduous conditions and successfully come out the other end. Congratulations to Cfn Westall who was awarded Best Attached Arm Soldier.
While on the PNCO Cadre
St Eligius Day Scribe: Cpl Henderson, Tech 1, 1 RHA Ftr Sect On St Eligius Day, the Fitter Section had an opportunity to unwind after regenerating the kit from the initial back-to-back exercises, whilst also being given the chance to work as a team and showcase our engineering ingenuity. The day started off with a BG LAD photo, followed by an engineering challenge where the teams would fire their ‘spud launchers’. Teams competed in two competitions; the target hitting for accuracy and the longest distance for pure power.
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Preparing to fire potatoes to mark St Eligius Day Over the weeks leading up to St Eligius Day, the teams assembled their potato cannons using only materials available within the Workshop. Our design comprised of a simple but effective build, consisting of a hydraulic housing filter (Gas chamber), pallet post (barrel), electrical spark (igniter) and a lot of e-metal. When it came to the competition, we were confident in our build. Not only did we win the accuracy event, hitting two out of the three targets and collecting a bonus point for obliterating one (much to the frustration of the Trg WO); we then went on to win the distance challenge by a country mile, with a distance of 250m. Our efforts were rewarded in the evening at the REME ‘smoker’ when each member of the Section received the prize of a portable charger, thanks to The REME Charity. It was a fun day and a better feeling to win following our recent defeat in the cricket on the previous exercise!
With a clearer picture of the enemy’s capabilities following the previous night’s recces, the next day was spent going through various serials designed to test the section’s abilities to react to events unfolding in front of them. The serials included various clearance patrols, vehicle IEDs and mass casualty triage and evacuation. The final night proved to be an eventful one, with the harbor area being attacked, forcing the platoon to withdraw to a hasty harbor location. Roaming patrols were conducted throughout the night in -8 degrees - it was lucky the nearest JPA terminal was a vast distance away. As dawn broke, the Platoon stepped off to complete the final attack. The attack was carried out with good aggression throughout; however, as usual there was room for improvement and points to work on. To the relief of all involved, those beautiful words of ENDEX were whispered with a hot brew and bacon baps waiting for us on our return to camp. On reflection the BCS FTX was a good test of our field admin in the face of the harsh Baltic winter, and helped brush up on our basic soldiering skills with many of the LAD due to go on ALDPs this year.
Summary Overall it has been a thoroughly enjoyable lived experience for all REME tradesmen employed within the eFP BG LAD. The vast and varied fleet has given us all an opportunity to expand our trade expertise and spread our knowledge amongst our peers. We have seen four successful Class 3 to 2 presentations delivered that have enabled career progression for those individuals. Due to the scale of the deployment and the training opportunities available it has also been a real pleasure to see the direct impact of REME productive output. Equipment availability has consistently remained above 80%, which has allowed the Armd Inf, Tanks, Engrs and Arty to do some bespoke high-quality training. We are now looking forward to the Cold Weather Operators Course, a light role defensive Operation and then scrubbing down the wagons ready to hand over to 1 MERCIAN BG in March.
Ex FURIOUS CRAFTSMAN - REME BCS Scribe: LCpl Thomas, VM 2, HQ Coy Ftr Sect With white space in the FOE at a premium, the start of December was deemed the only feasible time to down tools and re-affirm our basic soldiering skills. Members of 5 RIFLES LAD and a section of volunteers from the ES Pl set out on a three-day BCS FTX with the EMELt, 2Lt Naker, installed as the PC. The aptly named Ex FURIOUS CRAFTSMAN was to be designed to refresh and refine the skills and drills that are often given a backseat over production. The first morning was spent going through dry drills and confirming SOPs in the vehicle compound; this was followed by an insertion tab out to the training area and the occupation of the harbor. Once the harbor was fully established and nightfall had arrived, each Section was given its first set of orders to conduct individual ‘recce’ patrols on an area with a known enemy presence.
Engineering in process
16 Regiment Royal Artillery
Ex INVICTA SHOT ‘The Final Hebs’
In September 2020, the Fitter Section of 30 Battery (Roger’s Company) had the opportunity to witness Rapier firing live in the UK. LCpl Terry reports back on their deployment to the Hebrides.
30 Battery (Roger’s Company) from 16 Regiment Royal Artillery deployed on Exercise INVICTA SHOT 20/2 between 4 - 25 September 2020. The significance of this exercise is that it was the last time that Rapier was fired live in the UK (under current planning). The deployment involved a road move to the Isle of South Uist in the Hebrides Archipelago, a total distance of approximately 840 miles, with 15 days technical firing. This exercise was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Rapier firing live within the UK. This exercise has provided brilliant training to both Technicians and Vehicle Mechanics of the Regiment in the past, and all agreed that the Hebridean experience is definitely something else and to not be missed. The long-term effect of this exercise is that it allows 30 Bty to deploy to the Falkland Islands to operate the Rapier FSC in 2021. The journey spanned across the UK, travelling between ATR Grantham, Barry Budden Training Camp and its ‘5-star accommodation’, and finally Benbecula. The formation of the convoy consisted of the Royal Artillery leading the way with the Royal Logistics Corps suppliers and REME at the back of each travel packet. This was to ensure there was always at least one Vehicle Mechanic (VM) with each packet to provide intimate ES. Once all packets of the convoy made their way to the Qinetic site on South Uist, REME set up in the Workshop that was provided, which turned out to be an ideal environment for working in. The VMs could get working on the vehicles straight away and the Technicians were ready to assist the RA with any and all Rapier faults. REME personnel were available to provide a niche capability of support in response to any and all issues that arose. Over the course of the exercise, both the RA and REME gained a tremendous amount of experience with the Rapier Air Defence system. For the RA, the exercise provided practical training with the system,
including live firing at a Banshee drone target. For some members of the RA, this was their first time firing live missiles, whereas others had previous live-firing The epic route from experience in the Hebrides. Thorney Island to Benbecula There was also a great opportunity to relax during our time up there. There was a great opportunity to cycle around the Island or undertake physical training in what could be said is a beautiful location; but not when it is raining. For REME personnel, and especially the Electronics Technicians, the exercise provided a non-stop stream of faults to investigate and repair, in order to maintain the RA’s ability. This provided a great learning experience and an in-depth look into some of the equipment. Some of the repair tasks completed included, stripping down an Active Surveillance (AS) trailer to replace a core component, chasing faults through a launcher’s thermal imaging system and replacing the transmitter in an AS. The Vehicle Mechanics were a great help maintaining the MAN SVs, which towed the Rapier trailers, crucial for the journey there and back. They also assisted in power supply faults on the Rapier. For a couple of us, it was our first exercise at Regimental level and, while we were away from home, it did feel like another day at work once we completed the drive and had set up the Workshop. It was a great learning experience for the whole Fitter Section in preparations for the Battery deployment to the Falkland Islands in 2021. We also look forward to working on the Sky Sabre air defence system in the future, once Rapier is out of service. 30 Bty, including the Fitter Section, will be the final Resident Rapier Battery in the Falklands in 2021.
Sgt Pothecary assisting LCpl Walsh and Cfn Lawson with an SV repair
30 Battery Fitter Section
Fitter Section Artificer: SSgt Terrill
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The Craftsman Magazine’s Reader Survey
he Craftsman Magazine is constantly evaluating and looking to improve what we offers as a publication, whether that is changing what is featured in articles or how you read the new issue. As part of this, we are introducing an annual survey so that you can tell us what you want to read in your magazine. To complete the survey, please answer the 17 questions plus an additional five on Diversity and Inclusion. To ensure our results are accurate, please answer honestly and with as much detail as possible. All results will be anonymous. Please either go to our online survey (scan QR code) to complete the survey or complete this paper copy and post it to: The Craftsman Magazine Survey, c/o The Craftsman Editor, RHQ REME, MOD Lyneham, Calne Road, Lyneham SN15 4XX
To fill out the online survey, scan the QR code with your phone camera
1. How do you receive The Craftsman Magazine? Through my unit, I just pick one up Through my membership of the REME Institution Through the REME Association I ordered my copy direct from the REME Shop I purchased it as a one-off Online through REME Connect
2. How long have you been reading The Craftsman Magazine? Less than 1 year 1-2 years 2-5 years 6- 10 years 11-20 years More than 20 years
3. How much time do you spend reading The Craftsman Magazine? Less than 1 hour 1-2 hours More than 2 hours
4. When you receive The Craftsman Magazine, do you… Skim the magazine for relevant and interesting articles Skim the magazine to see who you recognise in photographs Read the whole magazine, front to back
5. How do you rate the layout of The Craftsman Magazine? Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor
6. If you chose Average, Poor or Very Poor, please explain why. ................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................
7. Do you prefer to read The Craftsman Magazine…? In print Online Both 24 email@example.com
8. Have you registered with REME Connect (https://remeconnect.org/)? Yes
9. If there was additional content online only, would you be likely to read it? Yes
10. I rely on _______________________ to stay up to date about The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (choose all that apply) The Craftsman Magazine Official REME Facebook Official REME Twitter Official REME Instagram Other...................................................................................................................
11. Please rate your interest in… (please tick the relevant box) Very Interested
Military A Year in the Life of… Operations Exercises Training Career pathway Global Reach Postings Extracts from Lon. Gazette Corps Orders Engineering Trade Talks Apprenticeships Engineering Awards Apprentice of the Year / Apprentice Champ of the Year Sport Annual review Match/Event reports Sports Awards Charity fundraisers Global Reach REME Family Excellence in REME REME in Numbers Association Branches Where Are They Now? My Life in REME Corps History Obituaries Death Notices Corps Diary Screwjack Letters Miscellaneous Letters to the Editor Reviews Photo articles, e.g. VE Day 2020 or Remembrance 2020 One-off specials, e.g. COVID or Black History Month
Somewhat Not Interested Interested
12. What other topics would you like to see or read about in The Craftsman Magazine? (Please list below) ................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................
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13. What do you think there is too much of in The Craftsman Magazine? (Choose all that apply)
A Year in the Life of… Operations Exercises Training Career pathway Global Reach (Ex and Ops) Postings Extracts from the London Gazette Corps Orders Trade Talks Apprenticeships Engineering Awards Apprentice of the Year/Apprentice Champion of the Year Annual Review of a specific sport Sport match/event reports Sports Awards Charity fundraisers Global Reach (sport) Excellence in REME REME in Numbers Association Branches Where Are They Now? My Life in REME Corps History Obituaries Death Notices Corps Diary Screwjack Letters Letters to the Editor Reviews Photo articles, e.g. VE Day 2020 or Remembrance 2020 One-off specials, e.g. COVID or Black History Month
14. Please indicate your agreement with the below statements? (please tick the relevant box) Strongly agree
The Craftsman Magazine strengthens my personal connection to REME I can identify with the people featured in The Craftsman Magazine
15. What actions have you taken as a result of reading The Craftsman Magazine? (Choose all that apply) Applied for a specific posting Used pullouts, e.g. the unit locations map Contacted a specific sport Connected with long lost friends Attended an event Other...................................................................................................................
16. Do the advertisements in The Craftsman Magazine have a noticeable impact on what you choose to do? Yes
17. How often do you contribute to The Craftsman Magazine? Never When I am asked to Once a year
Twice a year Three times a year Four times a year Five or more times a year
18. Any other comments ............................................................................................. ............................................................................................. ............................................................................................. ............................................................................................. .............................................................................................
Diversity and Inclusion Questions This section is optional. We have included it to make sure we have a cross section of the REME family to ensure that the results are treated fairly. All results will be anonymous and not traced back to individuals. 1. Age Under 18 years old 18-25 years old 26-35 years old 36-45 years old 46-55 years old 56-65 years old 66-75 years old 76-85 years old 86-95 years old 96 years old + Prefer not to say 2. Gender Male Female Non-binary Other........................................................................................................... Prefer not to say 3. Ethnicity White British/Irish White Commonwealth Asian/Asian British Black/African/Caribbean/Fijian/Black British Middle Eastern Any other ethnic group, (please describe)............................................. Prefer not to say 4. Relationship to REME Family Serving personnel Retired personnel Partner of a Corps member Child of a Corps member Parent(s) of a Corps member Interested in REME 5.Rank (If you answered 'Serving' or 'Retired' to question 4) Cfn LCpl Cpl Sgt SSgt WO2 WO1 2Lt Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen
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Want to read The Craftsman Magazine from your phone? Ever wondered if you could be posted closer to home? Unsure where to find out what the next Corps function is? Applying for a grant from The REME Charity? Looking for your nearest Association Branch or group?
The answer you are looking for is on...
The Online Home of The REME Family Features include: A digital version of The Craftsman Magazine A map of units where REME serve Information on the Corps Sgts & WOs’ Mess and Corps Officers’ Mess Details about Association Branches and groups Applications for REME Charity grants Visit remeconnect.org today
Excellence in REME
WO1(ASM) Craig Patterson WO1(ASM) Craig Patterson’s career in REME reads like an A-Z of Corps Sport. From Rugby through to Triathlon, there doesn’t seem to be many sports he hasn’t tried. Most recently, he has been awarded both Corps Colours for Triathlon and the REME Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in sport. This is alongside a career that led to him becoming an Artificer, gaining an engineering degree, being selected for a Commission into REME in 2021 and receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. In this month’s Excellence in REME interview, WO1(ASM) Patterson talks about teamwork, consistency and keeping your CoC on side. What made you join the Army? I wanted to join the Army from my mid-teens. Some advice I was given by my Dad always stuck: “having a trade will help you throughout life and something, if necessary, you can fall back on.” When I went to the Careers Office and stated what I wanted out of the Army – a trade and the opportunity to play rugby – my Recruiter said I needed to join REME as it would give me the best opportunity to combine engineering and sport. My Dad was in REME in the 60s so when the Recruiter mentioned REME it flicked a switch.
“having a trade will help you throughout life and something, if necessary, you can fall back on.” Why was this the right decision for you? If I could write a letter to an 18-year-old Craig telling him what I would achieve if I joined REME he would have laughed. A friend from school left university with an engineering degree and student loans, whereas REME offers a qualification pathway up to degree level. We both have Honours Degrees in Engineering, but I combined mine with practical experience on that journey. I think the opportunities for different jobs and assignments has improved over the years, which has allowed me to develop a rounded career. This may not be to everyone’s preference, but I like the challenge of changing jobs with each different
assignment. From being a ‘Tiffy’ at 5 Bn REME to then being assigned to DE&S, bringing Exactor 2 into core equipment, was a big challenge and a steep learning curve.
What have been the highlights of your career so far? I could fill the entire interview with highlights. Looking back, I have many from each assignment but three that really stick out are: 1. Being an Artificer at 1 Fd Coy, 5 Bn REME, delivering ECM repair for operations. The team was critical to support operations at that time as there was no support solution for the ECM kit except for Elec Pl 1 Fd Coy. The equipment availability targets set simply had to be met or the troops in theatre would not have had the required equipment. The team stepped up to the plate and delivered on all fronts; it is something I am very proud off. 2. The three years I spent in BATUS changed the trajectory of my career and gave me the opportunity for many more experiences. I have always wanted to travel and it was one of the reasons I joined the Army. BATUS gave my family the opportunity to see parts of North America that would have been unavailable, such as being able to jump in your car on a Saturday morning and be in the Rockies four hours later. At that stage of my career, I was at a crossroads but I was given
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The Army Triathlon team in Estonia
some fantastic guidance and responsibility that has led me to being sat here today as an ASM. 3. Winning the Lawson Cup in 2018 with REME Rugby League. I stopped playing back in 2010 but have been involved since 2011 in an admin role. The journey to winning the Cup back has been a long one and the roller-coaster of emotions through the years made 2018 special. I only played a small part in getting the boys onto the field of play, but I will never forget that day in Aldershot.
How does WO1(ASM) Patterson differ from the Mr Patterson who first came to the Army and the Corps? I was a bit lazy when I joined the Army. What I mean by this is that I would just do enough, probably sit in the background and be content to scrape by. I barely passed my Technician Course and didn’t push myself as hard as I could have on the rugby pitch, such as the extra gym work needed. I would say I was naive and had a lack of confidence. The guidance I have received throughout my time in REME has enabled me, with hard work, to have a highly successful career. Mr Patterson tried to survive on his own growing up; I have found that teamwork and buying into the collective goal brings greater success. We have the moto ‘One Team’ with REME Rugby and I try to apply that across everything I do. Even when suffering during a triathlon, it is teamwork that has got me to the start line.
Currently you are involved with Triathlon, both competing at Corps level and as a member of your local civilian club, but your sporting history includes multiple different sports. What motivated you to stay involved with sport overall? I played rugby up until an injury meant I had to stop but I missed the challenge and the team spirit. I got involved again with REME 28 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rugby League as Team Manager but still missed the competitive side of sport. All the sports I have tried or have taken part in, from ice hockey and cycling to Nordic skiing, have that team element that results in the ethos of not wanting to let your team mates down. It is great to achieve something as an individual, but the feeling is so much better when you achieve it as a group. I continue to push myself with triathlon and set my own personal targets but, even after 24 years, it still means something special to pull on that Corps or Army vest. I am getting older and, at some point, it will be for the last time.
2019 was your most successful triathlon season so far, with no finishes outside the Top Ten, and in 2020 you were selected for the 40-44 Great Britain Long Distance Triathlon team. What is the secret to your success? It was as simple as consistency with training and staying injury free. I was able to be put in a great block of training over the winter but there are so many elements that allowed me to have a great season. My race bike snapped mid-season which looked like it would end my season before it started, but SSgt Tim Davies, a REME triathlete, loaned me his race bike for the season as he was not going to use it. Without that support there would be no GB qualification and no AG Top 10 at Ironman Estonia. Having a group of friends to train with and bounce issues/ideas off has certainly helped me with achieving success in Triathlon. The bike loan was the extreme but a conversation about the cycling leg with another REME athlete before Ironman Estonia set me up for my strongest Ironman Marathon by listening to his advice to not go out like a rocket on the leg. I think it is important to share your goals. That doesn’t mean
post all over social media but with people you trust and who can hold you to account. I make sure I share mine with my wife so she can buy into what I want to achieve but also my peer group at Corps, Army and Civilian level. These goals need to be realistic; we have not swum much in the last 12 months, so there is no point setting a goal to set a swim PB in April this year, but I have spent some serious time on the indoor bike trainer, so a better goal for early 2021 would be to PB my 25-mile TT time.
the summer months so I had about seven months with no Rugby, but this gave me the chance to play Ice Hockey. This change of focus was the start of the journey from 105kg Rugby Union prop forward to an Army Triathlete.
You have had a varied career, moving between Field Army and DE&S regularly. How have you found the right balance between being a sportsperson and a military engineer?
I believe it is important to have balance. Most of us do this for fun, often in our spare time, so to go chasing success can often lead to burn out. Do your sport with a smile on your face and enjoy the process. Do not get too hung up if you must miss a session due to work commitments and enjoy that piece of cake; life is for living. If Alistair Brownlee turns up to a local race, then the likelihood of me winning is zero even if he does puncture. We have so many opportunities in REME to maybe do something different from your usual sport. I feel that the different sporting experiences during my career have helped me become the triathlete I am now. There was no rugby played during my six months at BATUK but we did play golf – some may ask what golf has got to do with triathlon, but it requires patience, focus and lots of practice. I have been fortunate to try snowboarding, Nordic skiing and ice hockey to name a few. My advice is if you are offered the opportunity give it a go – it might just be your thing. I fully believe there is a sport out there for everyone. We just have to discover it and the Army is a great place to try different sports. I can find it easy to see the glass as half full, but try and spin that around. During 2020 and now 2021 swimming training has been limited. There is no arguing that my swimming form is being affected but I do not need to get up at 0530hrs to get to the pool so I am now up every morning for a yoga session with the aim to improve my flexibility, helping all three sports.
I haven’t always made them work together, especially in my earlier career when I just wanted to play sport. A bit of realism from my ‘Tiffy’ at the time opened my eyes, when I had to put equipment prep before Army Rugby. From there I have tried to keep my CoC informed with the fixtures/events when they were released. It is so much easier to get the buy-in from your boss and, importantly, your peer group on the shop-floor if you give as much notice as possible. While at DE&S, I gave everyone 18 months’ notice about racing Ironman New Zealand. It was in their calendars from an early stage, so they were happy to support me taking the time away from work. Sometimes a new assignment hasn’t always aligned itself to competing for the Corps or Army but it has given a different opportunity. The rugby season in BATUS was very short during
Sport is an important part of Esprit de Corps and being in REME. What advice would you give others chasing similar success to yours?
At the time of writing, we’re entering a third national lockdown. Having made it through a 2020 none of us expected, what are your goals for 2021? There is so much uncertainty with 2021 but hopefully there will be some return to normality. I will be commissioned into REME during 2021 and move to 2 Bn REME, which is going to bring new and exciting challenges. During the early part of the year, I plan to work towards CEng and start an MSc while still at HQ 6 Brigade. I am also a mentor for the IET and am looking to get more involved with the organisation in line with applying for CEng. With the hope that we can soon return to sport, the intention is to build on the work done with REME Triathlon over the last 18 months. A REME Triathlon race series focused on novice athletes, hold Triathlon/Duathlon introduction training days and get some athletes out to Cyprus for some international competitions. We had that planned but COVID has postponed that.
If you could sum up your life now how would you do it?
At the Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Life is great! I’m happily married to Lyndsay, a Canadian lass from Flin Flon, Manitoba (Google it, it does exist), and have Barney our rescue dog from Bosnia. Gaining a BSc (Hons), becoming an ASM and now commissioning into REME has surpassed everything I thought I would ever achieve when I walked through those gates at SEAE back in May 1997. Someone early on in my career said the friends you make in REME will be friends throughout your life and they were certainly not wrong. If I were ever in need of them, even though we have not spoken in years, I know they would be there if required.
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REME Squash: Back to Squash 2021 Secretary Address
2019/20 Review and 2020/21 Fixtures
Scribe: WO2 Morris
As the Secretary of REME Squash, it gives me great pleasure to write this article. As a Corps we have gone through great transitions overs the last ten years and I hope that we will continue this progress as we introduce our new strategy. All of us, including the Chairman, Committee, players, coaches and referees, will have a critical part to play in achieving this goal. The Army is a demanding environment, now more than ever, and our day jobs and families must take priority. 2020 was a year to remember and not for the right reasons. So, as 2021 develops I ask that you continue to positively support and engage in REME Squash and with each other. REME is at the top when it comes to playing squash, but the number of new participants is falling. Hopes are high that a new strategy will halt the decline.
Vision To make REME Squash the best it can be and compete at the highest possible level. To achieve our strategic goals, we will develop capable players to be trained and qualified to deliver routine training sessions, in turn helping to progress REME Squash. Create a thriving Corps squash community by redefining and enhancing the squash experience for all players and coaches to enable, develop and deliver an innovative performance program; to sustain the sport, maximise potential and deliver experienced leading teams and individuals.
Champion REME Squash: LCpl Adam Smart Role: Army U25s Captain Age: 23 Trade/Unit: Vehicle Mechanic, 3 Bn REME Operational Experience: Op CABRIT Military Highlight: Being able to travel around Canada for two weeks after a large Battlegroup exercise, including white water rafting in Banff. Squash Experience: Played squash for 12 years, County Junior player throughout the age groups, three x Army U25 Champion, REME U25 Champion, represented the Army Men’s Team. Squash Tours: Two tours in Gibraltar and San Francisco Squash Highlight: Travelling around San Francisco for two weeks playing organised team matches against American squash clubs. Why did you join the Army? My uncle was in the Army and told me about all the benefits. Being able to push myself to my limits both mentally and physically is what attracted me to join. Once I joined, I found out that I could also play and train for squash. I haven’t look back since.
• New format for Army Individual Championships in 2019 was successful (Open to Graded Competition) and will be continued in 2021. • Successful San Francisco Tour - thanks to SSgt Warren as Tour OIC. • Success at Army Squash Inter-Corps Championships 2019 – second in Group A and winners of Group C. The spread of COVID-19 hampered squash competitions in 2020. However, with the release of a vaccine, we hope to see a return to squash in 2021 with no restrictions.
Army/REME Squash Proposed Fixtures 2021 Early March
NEW ACTIVITY: Army Ladies Squash Introduction
Army Individual Championships 2021
NEW COMPETITION: U25 Army Squash Championships
NEW ACTIVITY: Army Festival of Squash
REME Squash Championships 2021 (TBC)
Inter-Corps Squash Championship 2021
A busy year is planned and all level of players are welcome and more info regarding the Army level events can be found on the Army Squash website (https://squash.armysportcontrolboard.com), which can be accessed through your phone.
Coaching If you are interested in REME Squash and would like to take it further or require any info on REME Squash, then please contact the following people: Lt Lemonaris - U25 Development Officer Emilios.Lemonaris100@mod.gov.uk Lt Dabbs - Female Development Coach Alice.Dabbs100@mod.gov.uk WO2 White - Team Captain Fraser.White305@mod.gov.uk WO2 Morris - Secretary Christopher.Morris784@mod.gov.uk To conclude, squash is physically challenging, fast and sweaty but it’s also a lot of fun and has been likened to physical chess. The benefits are cardiovascular and endurance. It is fast, furious and rowdy so, if you prefer something more polite, try tennis. Otherwise, if you’re still interested or have played prior to joining the Army then do not hesitate to contact REME squash. Finally, don’t forget the REME champs 2021!
Corps Coarse Angling Championships 2020 It might only have been for one day but Coarse Angling was one of the few sports able to continue competing in 2020. SSgt Dave Goodall reports on how the Corps and Inter-Corps Championships went.
ith COVID-19 adversely affecting all sports within the military it was looking as though the REME Angling Championships would have to be postponed or cancelled this year - that was the easy option! Thankfully this option was not accepted and significant legwork was conducted between the Army Angling Federation and the Army Sports Control Board - the result was that angling was one of the few sports that was able to continue albeit with many understandable necessary changes. The 2020 Coarse Angling Championships were reduced to one day this year from the usual five days encompassing Corps Team Selection, but at least it was taking place! The event was held on 14 August 2020 at Moorlands Farm Fishery near Kidderminster. Unfortunately, this usually well supported event saw numbers drop this year as the reduction in length meant that some did not fancy the significant travelling time to the venue. However, 16 anglers arrived on the morning and a detailed match brief was delivered to all attendees. The draw was completed by one individual to limit contact between participants and the 16 anglers were split into three sections across Meadow Lake. This was a six-hour match, fishing from 1100-1700hrs. After the match, myself and Sgt Trev Tanner weighed in all competitors. Again, this was to minimise contact between
participants. The results: Cpl Joe Beevs was crowned the 2020 Champion, with a weight of 56.220kg, second was Maj Toby Burrell, with a weight of 55.420kg, and third Sgt Steve Tilson with 50.500kg. The highest placed associate was Mr Jason Nicholls who came fourth with 48.830kg.
Inter-Corps Championships This is a one-day event held in September every year and this time it took place at Staunton Harold Reservoir, near Derby. Each Corps entered a six-man team and REME finished third overall, behind the Royal Signals and Royal Engineers. On the day, myself, Sgt Trev Tanner and Sgt Steve Tilson all finished second in their six-man section, with the other three members not having the best of days. The biggest thanks must go to The REME Sports Association and The REME Charity for its support in funding our sport. This greatly offset the cost of both events to each serving participant, encouraging greater numbers to attend. The Corps Championships proved to be a great success and introduced new members to the sport. If you are interested in joining REME Coarse Angling, please contact SSgt Dave Goodall. David.Goodall722@mod.gov.uk.
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Trailwalker Relay 2020 100km in 30 hours? Not a problem for members of 664 Sqn 4 Regt AAC Wksp REME, who took part in last year’s Trailwalker Relay. Scribe: LCpl Rai
railwalker was established in 1981 by Brigadier Mervyn Lee in Hong Kong, which at the time was a British colony, as a training exercise for the Queen’s Gurkha Signals. In 1986, teams of civilians could take part and Oxfam Hong Kong was invited to co-organise the event. In 1997, with the handover of Hong Kong to China, the Gurkha Regiments were relocated to the United Kingdom. The Trailwalker event followed the Gurkhas’ relocation and was organised over the South Downs in Sussex, with Oxfam in the UK acting as partner since 2002, alongside the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Traditionally, this event consists of a team of four. Each team is required to complete 100km distance in 30 hours. Last year the rules of the event were altered due to COVID. Each team consisted of 4 -10 members and teams were required to collectively cover 100 km. This virtual event took place on 21-27 September 2020.
“…we don’t have to do something big to make a difference.”
After reaching out to my friends and colleagues, I managed to form a team of eight. We named our team ‘The Potatoes’ and planned to run 21km (half marathon) each, therefore completing 168km in total. We began on Saturday 26 September and after considering many factors, we decided to stage the event on a circular route around Wattisham Air Station. During the run, we were not blessed with the best weather. It was raining and with a strong wind but that did not startle us. We started and finished our run together whilst maintaining social
distancing, following the government guidelines throughout the run. It is easy to view this as a one-day event on paper but behind the scenes we had many training sessions to ensure we built up our fitness to prevent injury. Concurrently, we were also raising donations and with the help of our friends, families and colleagues, we managed to raise around £900. A small sum that will make a large impact for many people who are in need. With the world moving at such a fast pace, it is easy for us to forget that we don’t have to do something big to make a difference. This would not have been possible without the team. Many thanks to them and everyone who supported us.
THE REME CORPS SHOP THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT THE REME CORPS SHOP
ALL PROFIT MADE IS RETURNED TO THE REME CHARITY TO SUPPORT WELFARE, BENEVOLENCE, SPORT, ADVENTUROUS TRAINING AND THE REME FAMILY.
www.remeshop.org.uk www.facebook.com/REMECORPSHOP We sell a wide range of REME Clothing, Accessories, Uniform, Mess Dress, Toys, Glassware & Presentation Pieces
Online Shop Contact Times: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:00am – 15:00pm THE REME CORPS SHOP REME Museum, MOD Lyneham 32 email@example.com
47 Regt RA Wksp goes the Distance for Veterans
team of twelve from 47 Regt RA Workshop recently cycled continuously for 24 hours on two Wattbikes to raise money for Mission Motorsport, a charity which supports Veterans through racing in adaptive motorsport and career transition partnerships into the automotive industry. The total distance pedalled was the equivalent of cycling from our Barracks in Larkhill to the outskirts of Madrid. Alongside this distance was the discomfort from not having your own saddle and looking at the same piece of hangar! The two forerunners for greatest distance in one-hour were WO2 White and WO2 Nicholls. It was a close call, with WO2 Nicholls just edging it. The team was organised by SSgt England, corralling members of all abilities to participate, successfully providing a significant physical and mental challenge to push those involved! Altogether, the team surpassed the goal of raising £1000. Well done all!
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ARE YOU A SERVING MEMBER OF REME OR FORMER MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES?
Why Not Join the REME Association Caravan and Camping Club? Enjoy new friends of all ages, new places and leisure activities. Membership – who can join? Membership is open to members of the REME Association, serving or former serving REME personnel; also any member or former serving member of the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) or any Civil Service employee.
charge, usually in the region of 50p per night per van to cover coffee, tea and biscuits etc.
Rallies During the year the Club holds eight rallies or weekends usually starting in March, then monthly until October. Weekend rallies are held nationwide, usually start on a Wednesday and go through until Tuesday, although members can come along for shorter periods. Rally locations are generally commercial sites with full facilities. Site fees are variable and start from £12.00 per night, depending on the type of site, plus a small rally
How much does it cost? The membership subscription is £12.00 per year, which includes the member and partner plus any young children.
2021 RALLY CALENDAR March 17 – 23 Lawn and Lakes CP, Holbeach, (AGM) April 21 – 27 Riverside CP, Stratford upon Avon May 12 – 18 Kingsdown Tail, Devon June 18 – 28 Ashfield Farm, York July 14 – 20 Highfield Farm, Comberton, Cambs. August 11 – 17 Lickhill Manor, Stourport on Seven September 15 – 21 Waleswood C and CP, Sheffield October 13 – 19 Yew Tree Farm, Bewdley View our 2021 Rally programme and future events at a glance via REME Assn Caravan & Camping Club.
Holiday Rally In addition to the monthly rallies, we hold a ten days annual ‘Holiday Rally’.
Why join the Club? We are able to get heavily reduced rates on almost all of the sites, sometimes reduced by almost half price. So just do the maths, its simple! £12.00 per year subscription – by the end of your first Rally you are in pocket! We are with you every step of the way There are always experienced caravanners to hand if you are new to caravanning and need assistance. So please feel free to call us and book into one of the rallies to come and try us out. You know the old saying: “nothing ventured, nothing gained!”
Hopefully we shall see you on a rally field somewhere soon. For further information contact… Hon Secretary: David Ormond • 4 Holbein Walk • Corby • Northants • NN18 9LF
PLEASE ENROL ME AS A FULL MEMBER Please enrol me/us as (a) member(s) of the REME Association Caravan & Camping Club. To: Mrs Janet Benson, Members Secretary REME C & CC, 6 Winthorpe Close, Doddington Park, Lincoln, Lincs LN6 3PQ. I enclose a cheque for £12.00 made payable to: REME Association Caravan & Camping Club. My / Our details are: Name: .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Spouse/Partner’s Name:............................................................................................................................................................ Address: ....................................................................................................................................................................................... ...............................................................................................
Form Issued by: ........................................................................................................................................................................... Completion of this form assumes your Agreement with the Club Data Protection Policy. We will never share your details with any person or organization without your express permission. Full details of our policy will be published and updated in our rule book, available on enrolment.
Farewell to the ‘Brams’ Arborfield Branch Secretary, Johnny Worrall, reflects on the loss of a landmark institution for many Corps personnel who passed through Arborfield.
ost of our readers will know the Bramshill Hunt Public House in Arborfield - in fact there must have been thousands of members of the Corps, who have at one time or another had a pint or two in there (in some cases three or four or more!). Located, only a few hundred from the old Depot REME, sadly, on 28 September the building started to be demolished. I went over to Arborfield to take some pictures of its demise as did Branch Member, Malcolm Heppolette, days before me. Malcolm writes: “I was watching the start of the demolition of the pub on Monday 28 September, and got talking to the Team Foreman about the pub’s heyday in the 50s-80s. My stories about the thousands of REME Soldiers letting off steam in the pub at weekends got to him slightly so he sent two of his men scurrying around, in what remained of the building, to look for anything he could give me as a souvenir! They came back with a framed poem which was still hanging on the wall at the side of the bar. The poem was written by a former publican but not signed. I sent a copy of the framed picture to the Museum to be considered for their collection and they will get back to me soon.” I am sure a book could be written containing anecdotes of times spent in the pub. I was looking at the website of the Arborfield Historical Society and discovered the following:
“The 1841 Census listed the ‘Bramshill Hunt’ as an Inn, with Anthony Cole as ‘Beerseller’. However, Anthony had been there for some years. When the 1837 Tithe Apportionment Map was drawn up, his dwelling was simply described as a ‘cottage and garden’, owned by William Cordery. By 1851, Anthony Coles [sic] was only a labourer, while his wife Ann was the beer
seller. Charles Clacey was the publican for many years, appearing in the 1861, 1871 and 1881 Census returns, but by 1891 he was a widower living nearby at Langley Common, while Richard Whitley was at the inn, combining the occupations of publican and blacksmith. Charles died in 1898, and is buried with his wife Annie at Arborfield. Kelly’s Directories show that Thomas Kelly was landlord in 1895 and 1899 (and in the 1901 Census), then William James Rapley in 1907 and 1915; William died in December 1926, aged 63. John Henry Allen had taken over by 1929, followed by William Kent, as recorded in the 1935 edition.” Of course, a lot more has happened since then. I understand that the Co-Op has put in planning permission to build a small store on the site.
A Poem written by a publican of the Bramshill Hunt in Arborfield The poem was framed and was hanging in the bar of the pub.
The Man Behind the Bar He deserves a hero’s medal for the many lives he’s saved, And upon the Roll of Honour his name should be engraved; He deserves a lot of credit for the way he stands the strain, As the ‘bunk he has to swallow would drive most of us insane. He must pay the highest licence, he must pay the highest rent, He must settle with the agents though he don’t take in a cent; And when it comes to paying bills he’s ‘Johnny on the spot’, He’ll pay for what he sells you, whether you pay him or not. And when you walk into his place he’ll greet you with a smile, Be you workman dressed in overalls, or banker dressed in style; Be you Irish, English, Dutch or French, it doesn’t matter what, He’ll treat you like a gentleman, unless you prove you’re not. He must listen to your arguments that happen in this place, And no partiality for any creed or race; The bunch outside can knock the King, the Kaiser or the Czar, But he has to be a neutral does ‘The Man behind the Bar’. It matters not the aches and pains and hardship he endures, He tells you not his troubles, though you always tell him yours; And if the weather’s hot or cold, or it turns to rain or snow, It’s up to you to tell him so, he ain’t supposed to know Should he sit down to read the news, some fool with half a jag, Pulls up a chair beside him, and begins to ‘chew the rag’ Though Job they say had patience, a more patient man by far, Than Job could ever hope to be, is ‘The Man Behind the Bar’ Yet the preacher in the pulpit, and the lecturer in the hall, Will tell you that the churches are against one and all, But when the church decides to hold a fair, or a bazaar, They start in selling tickets to ‘The Man Behind the Bar’
“Located, only a few hundred from the old Depot REME, sadly, on 28 September the building started to be demolished.”
Yet the time will come when he must shuffle off this mortal coil, Hang up his coat and apron, no more on this earth to toil, When St Peter sees him coming he will leave the gates ajar, He’ll know he’s had his hell on earth, ‘The Man behind the Bar.
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Tech Stores and Allocated Tasks Every REME career is different. Something that former WO1 Bill Freeman experienced first-hand as a Storeman. From over five years with 16 PARA Bde, despite never volunteering, through to running the clothing stores as a TQMS, Bill was able to turn his hand to anything that came his way. Scribe: Former WO1 Bill Freeman
hank you for publishing my previous article in the April 2020 edition of The Craftsman Magazine. On the previous page was a submission by the late Major (Retd) Frank Reynolds. The person he refers to having all the injections I believe to be myself. I remember being at the Depot at that time. We had to parade every morning in Draft Order and were then allocated fatigues for the day. I was at the back of them all - I stood on my own as my draft was Individual/Central Africa. No one needed a one-man fatigue party so I was just left to wander around all day. In the 1950s anyone in the South of England being posted overseas had to be processed in Googe Street. I was allocated a civilian flight from Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire to Nairobi. The distance between Arborfield and Blackbushe is 7.8 miles. I flew on a civilian plane to Nyasaland. I was met at the airport by two Sergeants. I asked who the Senior Storeman was. The reply was you are and you have a local civilian to assist you. Can you imagine my reaction with nine months service and Third-Class trade qualification? More was to come - a leaving and Farewell Party in the Mess that night was taking place. I asked which Mess, to be told it was being held in the Sergeants’ Mess. There were only two Messes available for British Soldiers; an Officers’ Mess and a Sergeants’ Mess. I became a member of the Sergeants Mess at 18 years and three months old - did that make me at that time the youngest REME Soldier to be a member of the Sergeants’ Mess? However, I was promoted to Corporal/Local Sergeant. The next morning my own batman reported to me and explained his role in looking after me. The Sergeants’ Mess had its own vegetable garden, looked after by a local man. I was put in charge of supervising his work schedule. The Rhodesian Army did not have a stores backup like that used in RAOC. A lot of my time was spent providing vehicle parts via
local purchase. After three years I returned to England in the rank of Corporal. My next posting was to the Gunnery School in Lulworth Cove. A civilian worked for me who was very good. During my time at Lulworth Cove I gained my First-Class trade qualification and my First-Class Education Certificate. While at the Gunnery school I drove a small Jumbo Crane to assist Vehicle Mechanics to carry out engine and gearbox changes. This I found tricky at first due to the rear wheel steering. My next posting was to 16 Para Bde in Aldershot, as stated in my previous article. On my arrival interview I was asked when I would like to take the Para Course. I said I didn’t want to take the course as I had been posted to the Brigade and was not a volunteer. I was asked why I had volunteered - my answer was that it was a posting as I didn’t want to be a Parachutist. A posting out would have to be arranged and could take up to three months. A Red Beret was issued to me so that I wouldn’t look out of place - I wore it for five years and three months. My employment was in the LAD Stores attached to a Gunnery Regiment later to become 7 PARA RHA. The LAD would go skiing to Aviemore for one week each winter. Skiing was not to my liking so I asked if I could give it a miss. It didn’t quite happen as I was given a task of being in charge of the Advance Party to set up a tented camp beside the Loch. I then became Cook and Camp Commandant while the unit went skiing. The Main Party travelled to Aviemore by train. In the sixties strange things happened. The ranking in the LAD stores was upgraded to Sergeant. Was a posting on the cards for me - yes in a way? I was moved to the PARA Workshop and replaced by a Corporal/Acting Sergeant as he was Para trained. A few months later my Sub Sergeant came through. A posting at last? No, I was moved back to 7 PARA RHA and the Acting Sergeant was demoted to Corporal and moved back to PARA Workshop. In 1965 I received a posting to 69 Station Workshop in Brunei. The flight to Singapore was an RAF flight and on it were wives and children going out to join husbands. Some of us were asked if we would help the families during the flight - I was responsible for two children and looked after their meals and entertainment during the flight. A childminder no less. At 69 Station Workshop, I had for the first time a Junior Tech Storeman working for me. The prices the NAAFI charged for snacks were very expensive - after a lot of moaning from staff the Unit Welfare Officer opened an account with the NAAFI which meant we could purchase goods from them at
cost price. The task of ordering and stocking and selling these goods became the responsibility of my department. All monies taken were handed over to the Unit Welfare Officer who managed the account. My department organised a monthly horse racing evening in the Workshop. The wooden horses we used were made by the Carpenters. The Tels Staff also helped out by using a piece of their equipment to decide which horse to move and how the spacing of it should be. The profits from these evening events went into the Unit Welfare account. It was always a good evening`s entertainment and enjoyed by all who supported it. The rank of the Senior Tech Storeman was upgraded to Staff/Sergeant - again a promotion for me. I received a posting to 1 (BR) Corps Troops Workshop as a Staff Sergeant. That soon changed to Sergeant. One of the Sergeants at the Workshop claimed he was senior to me. He didn’t get the promotion; it was given to another Sergeant who was next in line for promotion. On arrival I was informed that I was to form a Stocktaking Team, which consisted of myself and a German civilian called Bruno who was excellent to work with. The unit was going out on a training exercise. I didn’t think I would be involved - not so. I was given the task of looking after and issuing the fuel. The driver of the 10-ton vehicle was an attached RAF Sergeant who had never heard of camouflage or the reason for it. That made it difficult. Eventually the G1098 position of Stores Sergeant was given to me, working for the TQMS. It was the first time that I had someone senior to me in the Stores. 1 (BR) Corps Troops Workshop sponsored the REME BAOR Small Arms competition. This required the setting up of a tented camp on the Ranges, which I had the responsibility for. The living quarters for personnel was not a problem; the main problem was the erection of the marquees. I was lucky that I had two Corporals in the party who had previously erected marquees. I received my promotion to Staff Sergeant and thought a posting was imminent. Not so. I was put in charge of the clothing stores - a Tech Storeman running clothing! What next? My promotion to WO2 came through in 1971 and classed as the RQMS. On the Annual Inspection Day Parade, the RQMS had the position of left-hand marker. I received a posting to 3 Field Workshop in Tidworth as TQMS. In May we were assured that the Workshop would never be sent to Northern Ireland. In August we received an attachment to Northern Ireland for six months. The Workshop was set up in Sydenham outside of Belfast. On disembarking in Belfast I met a man I had known in Germany who worked in Movement Control. He informed me that the RAF
had flights to Lyneham every weekend. Our unit were offered seats on the flights for R and R. As part of my TQMS duties, I now became a travel agent working out the rota for personnel to travel to Tidworth each weekend. Another task which was allocated to me was the selection collection and return of films. My promotion to WO1 came through in July 1973 and I was then posted to SEME Bordon. There was Military and Civilian Staff who worked in the various stores in SEME. As I was looking to settle in 1997, I purchased my first house in my home town. This was to enable my family to start their education in a settled environment. I was able to travel home most weekends. Most Warrant Officers were allocated Platoon Commander duties in the training companies. One of the duties was a weekly pay parade. Also they could be nominated as a Range Safety Officer if qualified. These duties entailed weekend firing. Somehow, I failed the test my fellow Warrant Officers wanted to know HOW as the answers were on the test paper. My reply was it was harder to fail than to pass. Bordon was my last posting in the Regular Army. My last few months were at a Civilian Workshop in Liverpool. These last few months of service enabled me to seek employment on leaving the Service. I was placed on Special Reserve during the Falklands conflict; fortunately, I was not required. After leaving the Army I worked in retail management for the Littlewoods Organisation for 15 years. After retiring from the organisation, I registered with an employment agency. This gave me a variety of employment opportunities in many aspects until I finally retired. My service in REME was most enjoyable and I would recommend it to any young person.
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Obituaries Lt (Hon Capt) Gordon Smith Grossart Gordon Smith Grossart was born in 1923 in a Glasgow tenement. He won a scholarship to Allan Glen’s Private School where he won the engineering prize which inspired him, aged 16, to go to Glasgow University. In just two and a half years he gained a BSc in Electrical Engineering, graduating in 1943 aged 18. At University he joined the Senior Training Corps and he became part of the Royal Engineer Company; at the end of his service in the STC Gordon qualified for two certificates, A & B, which meant when he was called up, he was classed as a Potential Officer. He also undertook fire-watching duties (in case of enemy invasion) as a member of The Home Guard. Upon graduating, Gordon presented himself for Primary Training at Brancepeth in County Durham, with the Durham Light Infantry. In July he was dispatched to Wrotham in Kent where he was taught to drive in Bedford 15cwt trucks. He did not have to take a civil driving test after this and was still driving up until the beginning of 2020 having never had any reportable accidents in all of that time. Gordon’s training continued with a general engineering course at Loughborough and then at Foremark Hall near Repton in Derbyshire to start training to be an officer on the 47th Course at the Officer Cadet Training Unit for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. REME had only been formed the previous year from elements of the Ordnance Corps, the Service Corps and the Royal Engineers to bring together all the mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines. The course included a lot of ‘square bashing’, but Gordon also learned about Army organisation, map reading, field exercises, and instructing. Gordon was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 12 November 1943; his training continued at Loughborough College and in April 1944, at 8 Central Workshop REME at Chilwell, near Nottingham to learn about motor transport and tracked vehicles. Towards the end of May 1944 everything was gearing up for D-Day and Gordon found himself in Cambridgeshire where he ran a small workshop, a Light Aid Detachment, which was situated on the Letchworth bypass. There they had scores of Bren Carriers lined up on the verges on both sides of the road waiting to be driven to Tilbury Docks for shipping across the Channel after the engines had been waterproofed to protect them when they landed on the beaches. In July, Gordon went to the Military College of Science to learn about Anti-Aircraft Guns and Equipment on the 39th AA EME’s course, which included lectures on the theory behind various pieces of fire control equipment, from searchlights and sound locators to the new predictors - these were really the forerunner of computers, which in conjunction with rangefinders, or later with Radar, enabled the guns to track enemy aircraft. After that he went to a vehicle training unit based in Mitcham, South London and the final part of Gordon’s training took place at the REME Depot at Arborfield in Berkshire. Here he spent six weeks learning how to organise and administer a workshop, coordination of the various trades, planning and provision of stores etc. He was now fully trained to take over the maintenance of anti-aircraft equipment operated by the Royal Artillery in the field. Gordon’s first posting was to 10 Anti-Aircraft Regt Workshop based in Doncaster which he joined immediately after Christmas 1944. After a couple of days he went to join a Light Aid Detachment at Louth in Lincolnshire, a top priority job to assist the Royal Artillery of AA Command to install 12 new gun sites, one every mile along the coast in order to defend Manchester from attack by buzz bombs. Each site had to have four 3.7in AA guns installed together with their associated Fire Control Equipment. Fortunately for Gordon there were no buzz bombs during the three months it took to complete the full installation. After two weeks home leave, Gordon travelled to Nottingham where his embarkation draft was being assembled. He was issued with khaki drill uniforms there ready for service in a warmer climate. He had no official word about where he was going but inspired guessing led him to buy an Italian dictionary, which he studied on the ship on the way. On Monday 26 March 1945 he left for Nottingham Waterloo Road Station in full service marching order, ie. carrying nearly everything in backpacks, plus respirators, water
bottles, and small arms. As an Officer he was allowed, in addition, a trunk with his dress uniforms and other clothes, as well as a camp kit consisting of a bed roll, a safari bed, blankets, washstand and canvas basin and bucket. He still had most of this equipment in his attic until he donated all his camp kit, alongside all his technical literature, to the REME Museum before he died. On 10 April 1945, Gordon’s ship sailed into Naples Bay and he undertook censoring mail from the troops, practicing firing his revolver and visiting Pompeii! He was promoted to Captain in November 1945 and for the next four years he was moved around Italy and Austria, repairing trucks and tanks from a variety of mobile workshops. Gordon’s last posting in Italy came in March 1947 when he went to the Headquarters of CMF at Padova as a Staff Captain in the REME Directorate. He was to be responsible for workshop organisation, allotment of work and labour, provision of stores and equipment throughout the CMF. At this time, REME, which had had only a temporary cap badge since its formation in 1942, was given a new one, so the Colonel decided that it was the right time to hold a celebratory dinner (which Gordon had a hand in organising) to commemorate the ‘coming of age’ so to speak. It was held in the Danielli Hotel banqueting hall in Venice by St Mark’s Square; the hotel was one of two where Officers could stay when on leave - for the princely sum of one shilling (5p) per night! Finally Gordon’s demob number came up and he was posted back to the UK in June 1947 for discharge from the Army. He travelled by train to Calais and then on to Woking where he was processed and had to hand in his kit and be fitted out with civilian clothes. He was allowed to keep some kit, like his camp kit and some battledress and boots, and, of course, some of his uniform was his anyway as Officers had to buy their own. The ‘civvies’ consisted of a suit, shirt and tie, an overcoat, shoes and a hat which did him quite well for several years. Technically he was then on 83 days leave on full pay and with a gratuity, which was about £80. Having left the Army, Gordon successfully applied to join the Regular Army Reserve of Officers (RARO) and was finally released from this obligation in 1965. Gordon married Betty, a fellow member of a vocal group at his local church in Glasgow in 1952 and eventually settled in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, after securing a job with the Vacuum Group and then The Rutherford Laboratory at Harwell. He remained there until retiring in 1988. Gordon was always thoroughly involved with the local church, where he undertook a large number of duties. He visited the REME Museum at Arborfield and also twice visited Lyneham where he was excited to see the displays and exhibits, especially when he and his grandson, Andrew, were given a personal guided tour by the REME Association Hub Manager, Stuart Cowen. Gordon had lived alone since losing his wife in 1996, and coped admirably with everything, including cooking which he had rarely done before. He towed his caravan to Scotland on a number of occasions and was very at home with computers; the internet allowed him to keep in touch with his family and friends, do his shopping and research his family tree. Gordon died five weeks short of his 97th birthday and leaves three daughters, six grandchildren and a great-grandson he was lucky enough to hold, despite the restrictions brought about by COVID19.
Brig (Retd) Tom Paine Scribe: Major General Malcolm Wood CBE (late RLC) Brigadier Tom Paine died on 15 December 2020, aged 66, after a prolonged battle with cancer. Always known as Tom, he was actually born Andrew Philip Paine in May 1954. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe and it was suggested by fellow pupil Mike Oldnall’s (Colonel late REME) father, then a serving REME Major, that if Tom was interested in the Army and engineering he should join REME! Tom completed his Engineering Degree at Pembroke College, Cambridge and this was where I first met him. He was commissioned into REME in 1973 prior to
structure, which today is taken for granted as being its key building block. After Command, Tom worked at HQ Quartermaster General and continued to be based there following promotion to full Colonel in 1997. He was lead change manager in DGES (Land)’s area, working directly for Major General Peter Besgrove CBE, who knew Tom previously and says of him: “Our paths crossed a few times in our careers. Whenever I heard Tom and I would be working together I could breathe a sigh of relief; that would be one flank very safely secured.”
university, as a University Cadet – demonstrable proof that Tom was clever. Everyone who ever met Tom would agree that he was bright, but he was also blessed with bags of common sense and loads of practical skills, as evidenced in later years by various house restoration projects. Tom married Anne, who he had known since primar y school days, in 1977 and their enduringly happy relationship had reached its forty-third wedding anniversary by 2020. Tom spent much of his early career in Germany, serving with the Gunners and at Headquarters 1(BR) Corps. He arms plotted to Northern Ireland from there with 2 RTR and served his LAD tour in NI at the height of the troubles. After Staff College in 1986/87 and an appointment in the MOD, he was OC of 20 Electronic Workshop REME. Major Mike Reynolds REME was the MTO/Trg Offr at the unit, but employed his old ASM skills to help solve some reliability issues with the unit’s many 40 KVA generators. Within a couple of months though, Mike was poached by REME Branch 1(BR) Corps to help with planning for the first Gulf War in 1990/91. Realising there was a need for plenty of generators that could be relied upon in the desert, he in his own words, “nicked the lot”, from 20 Electronics, something which Tom never really forgave him for! Mike went on to be Tom’s Adjutant when, following a short tour working on REME Officer planning, Tom was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and posted to command 101 Bn REME(V) with Companies in the North West, the Midlands and North Wales! Tom relished the role and thrived in it. This was at a time when REME was moving towards embracing a full ORBAT based on a Battalion
At this time, Tom was heavily involved working with then Brigadier (later Lieutenant General) David Judd CB on the re-design of the Land Equipment Support area as it migrated to an Integrated Project Team (IPT) structure and adopted the principles of Smart Acquisition, whilst taking its place in the newly formed Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), forerunner of today’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation. There followed a period of adjustment, particularly for the Army, in how best to engage with DLO. Consequently, Tom found himself on the `customer` side of this relationship in his next job as the Colonel of the Army Sustainability Cell in Whitehall, which, notwithstanding the title, meant being the Assistant Chief of the General Staff ’s Key Logistic Advisor and as such a major part of the Army’s `loggy conscience`. Not for the first time, Tom’s intellect and integrity allowed him to make a major contribution in this multi-faceted role. In 2003 he became an Integrated Project Team Leader (IPTL) for the Field Artillery Systems Support (FASS) IPT, leading a team of over 100 with a significant annual budget and responsibility for a wide range of equipment. Around this time there was plenty of talk about through life partnering contractual relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Tom, though, was very much the driving force behind his IPT delivering it for real and, with a major piece of kit, namely the AS90 SP Artillery Weapon System, one of the Army’s key battle fighting capabilities. The AS90 Equipment Support Agreement (ESA), as it became known, was one of the first and certainly one of the most successful such contracts. At the launch, the then Minister for Defence Procurement said, “The partnering contract demonstrates the innovative way MOD and industry are working together to produce new cost-effective support solutions… ensuring our Armed Forces continue to have the best support available.”
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Tom’s final appointment, the finale to a full and successful career, as a Brigadier, was as our Defence Attaché (DA) to Germany. As ever, Tom gave learning the language his `best shot`, but he always recognised that one of his best assets during this tour was his wife Anne, who was a German linguist and qualified German teacher in her own right and so ideally placed to help with many aspects of a role in a diplomatic environment. Tom served in Berlin from the end of 2005 until early 2009; when he returned to the UK to make the transition to being a retired Army Officer. He was quite clear that he did not wish to seek fresh employment, preferring to install two kilns in an outhouse at his home in Andover so as to perfect his skills, which were considerable, as a potter; to take on various home improvement initiatives and be a supporting husband, father and grandfather. When the cancer was detected it always seemed to stay one tactical bound ahead of any treatment and Tom finally succumbed, at peace, in a hospice near Andover. Apart from Anne, his widow, he leaves a son Douglas, a daughter Jenny and grandchildren Tabitha, Ralph and Felix.
‘Best Soldier and Leader’. Following his ‘graduation’, Ray was posted within the UK and settled into Army life, being quickly promoted. He was one of the first of 64C Intake to attend the Artificer Selection Board and then his Artificer Course at SEME Bordon in 1972. After qualifying as an Artificer Vehicles, Ray was posted to Germany. Ray continued his Military Service, reaching the rank of WO1(ASM) before retiring from the Army in 1991. Whereupon he was engaged as Workshop Manager for a major truck dealer in Southampton. Sadly, Ray was made redundant after three years, but soon found another position as Manager of an MOT Centre in Southampton. Around 1999, Ray suffered a major health scare, being diagnosed with a benign tumour inside the top of his backbone. Unfortunately, the tumour was pressing too close to his central nervous system to enable an operation so Ray was forced to live with the condition for the rest of his life. Ray, being Ray, was stoic about the whole thing. However, it did mean he was no longer physically fit enough to work as such, which was a major blow to an active man like Ray. In 2004 he stumbled across the AOBA website and quickly joined the Association - there followed many years of wonderful reunions as he hooked up with plenty of his old pals. Ray always took the time to welcome any new members, ensuring they were introduced to any members of their own intake. During the 50th Anniversary of his intake year he was instrumental in locating many of his peers, to the point that the 2014 reunion enjoyed 47 Apprentices from 1964. In 2012, he joined the AOBA Committee, with responsibility for producing the OBAN News Magazine. This he carried out with his usual professional commitment, bringing the organisation of OBAN back under the control of the AOBA, as a consequence saving the AOBA many thousands of pounds annually. The magazine took on a new, fresh design, which is still in existence today - all thanks to the hard work Ray initially put in. Ray stood down from the Committee in 2017 but continued to enjoy reunions up until 2019. Ray was one of those very rare people - he never had a bad word to say about anyone, always had a cheerful face. He made many friends both within and outside of the military circles he loved so much. Raymond Stevens was one of the goodn’s and will remain sadly missed by us all...
Former Sergeant Kelvin ‘Bob’ Roberts By Andre Roberts
Former WO1(ASM) Ray Stevens 64C Penned by All His Military Pals... It is with deepest sadness that we must inform the Corps of the death of WO1(ASM) Ray Stevens, who lost his fight against COVID-19 on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2021, aged 72 years. Ray grew up in Croydon, educated at Croydon Secondary Technical School, South Croydon. In September 1964 he joined the Army as a Vehicle Mechanic Apprentice in Intake 64C at the Army Apprentice School in Arborfield. Following ‘basic training’ in B Squad Junior Company, he moved to B Company. Ray took to Army life easily, enjoying his time at Arborfield as an Apprentice. During his time there, in addition to his prowess in the gymnasium, he was an active member of the Football Team, representing the School each season. He excelled in Military Training, raising to the Junior Soldier rank of A/T CSM (Apprentice Tradesman Company Sergeant Major). In his trade studies he was top of his Division and even at that stage he was identified as future Artificer material. At the Passing Out Parade of Intake 64C in August 1967, Ray was presented with ‘The Commandants Cup’ - awarded each term to the 40 firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with great regret that I have to report the sad loss of my father Kelvin ‘Bob’ Roberts aged 86, on 11 January at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Bob signed on in 1952 at the age of 16 and joined the Army Apprentice School at Arborfield on the advice of his father, a retired RSM of the North Staffs who suggested he “get himself a trade”. He excelled at Arborfield, attaining the rank of (A)CSM, also collecting prizes for Athletics, Regimental Efficiency and the Commandant’s Cup for Military Ability. This led him to taking the salute at the Passing-out Parade in February 1955. REME beckoned, and later Bob was posted to 7 Infantry Workshop REME in Gillingham during the build up to the Suez crisis, before moving to Goojerat Barracks in Colchester in t h e n ew ly d e s i g n a t e d 8 Infantry Workshop REME. The next few years saw Bob bouncing around the Mediterranean, as was the case in the late 50s and early 60s, with stints in Cyprus and Kenya, taking in Malta, Gibraltar and Kuwait along the way. During this time, he met and married Jan in 1957 back in his home town of
Former WO2 (AQMS) Richard Charles (Dick) Tomlin Scribe: Bryan Jarvis
Burton-upon-Trent, followed in 1961 by the birth of a son, Andre. His final posting was a big exercise in Cyprus - Famagusta and Panhandle, returning to UK. Soon for discharge, Bob was offered a three-year accompanied posting to Hong Kong for which he would have to sign on for 22 years and attend No.2 Artificer Course. Although tempted, he decided “goodbye Sergeants Mess!” and accepted a position as a Computer Engineer with the Austin Motor Company in Longbridge, Birmingham, at the time the largest car factory in Europe. Bob spent the next 30 years at the Austin, through the British Leyland years, rising to the position of Site Technical Training Manager at Austin Rover, before taking early retirement in 1992. The next project was ‘Pennypot’, a former nailer’s cottage on the outskirts of Bromsgrove. Bob virtually rebuilt the place, adding garages, outhouses, gardens, bathrooms and kitchen. Eventually, he built a new workshop, where he could be found most days creating on a lathe, bandsaw or any of a myriad of tools gathered over the years. Bob’s other great interests were sport (any sport on TV and radio), chewing the fat with mates down the pub and his grandchildren and great grandchildren who knew him affectionally as “GG”. He is survived by his wife Jan, son Andre, his family and will be greatly missed by all.
Richard Charles Tomlin, who was a Founder member and highly valued member of REME, died on 14 January 2021 at his home in Farnham, Surrey at the age of 98. He had been in poor health for over a year and been in and out of hospital for several weeks before he passed away. Dick Tomlin, as he was better known, grew up in Surrey and attended Grammar Schools in Farnham and Guildford. Then, aged 15, he enlisted into the RAOC at Guildford on 5 July 1938. He completed a Motor Mechanic apprenticeship at the Army Apprentice School in Arborfield. In 1942, when the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was formed, it needed qualified tradesmen – hence Dick’s transfer into REME that October. He then spent the next three years working at a medium (up to 5.0 ton) vehicle repair workshop in the UK under AA Command. Next came a posting to 7 Base Workshops REME in Alexandria, Egypt, where he worked and trained others on engine rebuilds and complete vehicle overhauls. By February 1948 he was back in the UK and, having completed an Artificer Vehicles course at Bordon, he was granted leave to marry Monica. This was just prior to a home posting to a mediumsized REME workshop. His next move in early 1949 was to the Station Workshop REME in Tripoli, Libya where he and his family spent three years. From there he returned to a medium repair workshop back in the UK, where he spent two years in charge of the vehicle overhaul line. At the same time, he became responsible for the adjacent Ancillary Trades section, which included Carpenters, Machine Fitters, Turners and Metalsmiths as well as Blacksmiths. In 1954 Dick was deservedly promoted to AQMS WO2 and posted to 19 Air Formation Signals LAD at Changi, Singapore, where he and his family lived in married quarters. This proved a most enjoyable posting for the whole family. After another short spell in the UK, he and his family then spent nine years at Verden and Fallingbostel in Germany with 7 Armoured Workshop. It was largely here that he built up considerable knowledge and skills for the repair of both tracked and wheeled vehicles. He also attained the acting rank of ASM (WO1). The last year of his service was spent at SEME Bordon where he worked as an Instructor. Finally, in May 1966, after a total of 28 years and a day military service, he finally handed in his uniform. But in what seemed a natural progression, he continued at SEME as a civilian instructor until 1987 when he reached retirement age at 65. Dick and Monica Tomlin had long since settled in at Farnham, Surrey, but in 2002 his wife suddenly predeceased him. They had two children – Nick, who died in 2015 aged 60 years of age, and a daughter, Jenny. He will be sorely missed by both family, which includes three grandchildren and two great grandchildren, and friends. Due to the pandemic, Dick’s funeral comprised of a small private ceremony at Guildford Crematorium. A life well lived. Rest in Peace Dick.
Former Craftsman Oswald Redvers Snell Scribe: Graham A Matthews, Secretary Lincolnshire Branch
Bob with his great grandson, Travis
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It is my sad duty to inform the Corps of the passing of Oswald (Ossy) Redvers Snell who died on 7 December 2020 in the Pilgrim Hospital Boston aged 86 years. Ossy was born on 20 August 1934 at Well Park Farm, Willoughby, Lincolnshire and was the ninth child of 15 to John and Elsie Snell. Born into a farming family, his early years were hard, working on the land from the age of 15. At the age of 18 he received his National Service papers; when the Farm Manager said he was able to submit Exemption papers for farm workers his response was to enlist in Lincoln for 21 years with a three-year option in REME on 5 August 1952. Arriving at the Trg Bn REME in Blandford, Ossy excelled during basic training and was reported as being well behaved and steady in
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habits with a frank and open manner. However, with a posting and a full career in front of him, he became unwell and was admitted to Chester Military Hospital where he was diagnosed with double pneumonia. After intensive treatment, he was re por ted as ceasing to fulfil ar my medical requirements and was discharged with one year and 13 days reckonable service. Ossy returned to Lincolnshire and farm work in 1954, where he met his wife to be, Beryl. After a five-year engagement, they planned to marry in March 1959. Unfortunately, Ossy was again hospitalised with double pneumonia but, after recovering, they eventually married on 16 May. They went on to have two children Bridget in 1961 and Mark in 1963 and spent many years with Beryl supporting Ossy in his sporting activities, fundraising for charities and his political achievements. Ossy made a huge contribution to Fishtoft and Boston, playing football at several levels as well as managing and running teams before going on to referee, again at several levels. He ran many marathons and half marathons, including two London marathons. Together he and Beryl were involved in the running of local playing fields and in 1980 he was elected to Fishtoft Parish Council. Then, in 1991, he was elected to the Borough council and accepted a directorship of Boston Mayflower Housing Association as well as chairing the direct services board. In 2002, Ossy was nominated for the high office of Mayor of Boston - he and Beryl served as Mayor and Mayoress of Boston for 2003/04 and Deputy Mayor/Mayoress for 2004/05. During his term of office as Mayor, he was the presiding official for the dedication of the newly formed Lincolnshire Branch Standard. Ossy was a founder Member of the Lincolnshire Branch and for many years was the Branch Standard Bearer. He and Beryl were keen supporters of the Branch, attending and enjoying all functions and events. After a period of poor health, Beryl passed away in 2010. Ossy continued as a Councillor until 2015 when poor health forced him to retire from local politics and place his efforts with the Association Branch. A dedicated family man who will be remembered as an ambassador for the local community, his and Beryl’s achievements have a lasting legacy in Boston. Ossy was a husband, dad, grandad, great grandad, brother, uncle, friend and dedicated community champion who will be missed by all that knew or met him. A service of Remembrance and Committal was held at Boston Crematorium on Friday 15 January 2021 where, under COVID-19 restrictions, close family said their farewells. The Corps, Branch President and the Lincolnshire Branch were represented by the
Branch members at the 2016 AGM
Branch Secretary parading the Branch Standard. Ossy Snell RIP- he will be missed but never forgotten.
Ossy and Beryl as Mayor and Mayoress
Former LCpl Tom Tatham By Carole Tatham Tom (Tommy) Tatham suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at home on Thursday 24 December 2020, aged 72 years. The dearly loved husband of Carole, a much loved father of Joanne and Stephen, a devoted grandad of Holly and adoptive grandchildren Jimmi and Eydie. Tommy will be sadly missed by his loving family and many friends. Tommy was so proud of REME; he often talked about his memories of Bordon, Arborfield and the 10 years he spent in Germany and his two tours in Ireland (I wish I could find his medals). He played football for REME and he loved his sports. I wish we had mementos of these times and he still wore his beret and tie with pride. He always laid the wreath on Armistice Day at the Cenotaph at our local church. A private service was held at St James Church, Lower Darwen and Cremation at Pleasington on Friday 15 January 2021. Donations may be made in memory of Tom (Tommy) to CANW, c/o The Alty Funeral Service: The Alty Funeral Service (Family Owned), Broomfield Place, Blackburn, BB2 1XF 01254 503240 (24hrs). email@example.com
Death Notices COSTANZO – Maj (Retd) Michael Costanzo passed away 16 January 2021 aged 84. Dates of service 1953 – 1992. CROWTHER – Former Sgt John (Pud) Crowther passed away 26 December 2020 aged 75. Dates of service 1960 – 1972 HAWKINS – Former SSgt Derek Hawkins passed away 18 January 2021 aged 67. Dates of service 1973 – 1975. MENZIES – Former Sgt George Donaldson Menzies passed away December 2020 aged 60. Dates of service 1976 – 1994. STEVENS – Former WO1 (ASM) Ray Stevens passed away 24 December 2020 aged 72. Dates of service 1964 – 1991. TATFORD – Former WO2 Anthony George Tatford, (known as Jim), passed away 20 January 2021 aged 88. Dates of service 1946 – 1973. SEME Bordon 1973 – 1995. TATHAM – Former LCpl Thomas (Tommy) Tatham passed away 24 December 2020 aged 72. Dates of service 1965 – 1981. WALL – Former Cpl Frederick Thomas Wall passed away 18 December 2020 aged 87. Dates of service 1956 – 1978.
Death Notice Requirements In order to publish a death notice we require the following information: Surname, first name, rank, full date of death, ages and dates of service. An obituary with additional career and life information is welcome. To inform us of the death, please contact Ms Bev Bate, Corps Welfare Manager on ( 01249 894523 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Over Christmas and the New Year, you raised £503.03. The REME Charity would like to say thank you to everyone who has used Amazon Smile.
COMING SOON! REME 10K Virtual Run
This June, The REME Charity will be offering entry to the inaugural REME 10k Fun Run*. The race is an opportunity for the entire REME Family to participate in something as one big team. Regular and Reserve, retired or civilian family members, everyone is welcome. All abilities are encouraged to join in whether you walk, jog or run the event! Every participant will receive a newly designed REME 10K 2021 collectable medal and there will be prizes to be won! Registration will be made available on REME Connect. Keep a look out and join REME Connect now. All proceeds will go to The REME Charity, for the family.
REME Virtual 10K
*Due to restrictions around COVID at the time planning, the race will be virtual. More information will be released shortly
REME KARTING Where Engineering Meets Sport
To stay up to date with REME Karting, follow us on: REMECorpsKartingTeam reme_karting REMEKarting Details of training, events and competitions will be shared on social media. Due to the current situation, we are unable to conﬁrm dates far in advance. For more information, contact WO1 Alex Gooch Alexander.Gooch394@mod.gov.uk
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REME Women’s Network lved? Who can join and how can yu get invo The network is open to all female, Regular and Reserve, serving and Veteran, Officers and Soldiers. The aim of the network is to keep people in contact, share ideas and experiences, improve retention, progression and mentoring.
it?” “Where can I find information about The network currently has a Facebook group, if you search for ‘REME Women’s Network” and answer the eligibility question you will then be able to join the other 317 members who have already joined this fantastic group. This is currently our main method of communication but there is also an email you can use for direct contact if required.
REMERHQ-WomensNetwork@mod.gov.uk REME Women’s Network
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YOU YOU The Craftsman Magazine exists for The REME Family but it is only kept going because you provide the articles in it. From engineering to fencing, if it is about the Corps you can write an article about it. See inside the front cover for guidelines.
12 January 2021 REGULAR ARMY Major General D. J. EASTMAN MBE 531461 is appointed Colonel Commandant Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 30 December 2020 in succession to Major General M. J. GAUNT CB 520645 tenure expired.
19 January 2021 REGULAR ARMY Intermediate Regular Commissions Captain E. J. BAKER 30201408 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020 Captain R. J. OLIVER 30123352 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 26 March 2018 Captain J. A. PITTAMS 30247541 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 17 December 2019 Lieutenant J. COLLICOTT 30146779 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 14 April 2020 Lieutenant A. L. DABBS 30201438 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Lieutenant with seniority 16 December 2018 Lieutenant J. P. B. HODGKINSON 30201451 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Lieutenant with seniority 16 December 2018 Intermediate Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Warrant Officer Class 1 Thomas John CLARKE 25091447 to be Captain 31 July 2020 (Belated Entry)
Extracts from the London Gazette
RHQ REME, MOD Lyneham
Short Service Commissions Second Lieutenant D. A. RIDGE 30197312 to be Lieutenant 10 August 2020
26 January 2021 REGULAR ARMY Short Service Commissions Officer Cadet Harriet BURNS 30222191 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020 Officer Cadet Nathan Anthony JACKSON 30228510 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020 Officer Cadet Adrian MONTAGU 30328876 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020 Officer Cadet Harry OWEN 30319900 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020 Officer Cadet Tristan Benjamin Mark PRICE 30158146 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020 Officer Cadet Gaurab RAWAL 30327486 from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to be Second Lieutenant 12 December 2020
2 February 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Major D. J. O’CONNELL 25058122 from Regular Commission (Late Entry) 7 November 2019 to be Major with seniority 31 July 2019 (Belated Entry)
Regular Commissions (Late Entry)1 July 2019 (Belated Entry) Major K. I. ALLEN 25020115 retires 3 November 2020 Intermediate Regular Commissions (Late Entry) Major (on probation) M. R. BIRRELL 24792661 is confirmed as Major 31 October 2019 with seniority 29 September 2018 (Belated Entry) ARMY RESERVE Captain S. L. HUTCHINSON 563961 to be Major 1 August 2020 with seniority 17 March 2015 (substituted for the notification in Gazette (Supplement) dated 15 December 2020)
The REME Charity The Trustees of The REME Charity acknowledge with sincere thanks the donations received during the month of JANUARY 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£2,488.80 Cycle to Chaptelet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£575.00 In memory of Tom (Andrew) Paine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£435.00 In memory of Brig Tom Paine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£300.00 Christmas Jumper Competition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£268.83 Charities Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£197.50 Leena Batchelor Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£157.50 RLC LAD Charity Bake Sale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£139.72 In memory of Geoff Trelease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£100.00 David Webber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£100.00 1RRF LAD Christmas Jumper day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£62.00 Mr JE Tyler and Miss J Tyler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£50.00 Chisnell-Davies Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£35.00 Mr H and Mrs PJ Row . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£26.00 Broxhead Dinner 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£20.00 Michael Shipp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 Nigel Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£10.00 Sam Melvin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7.50 Julie Firth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7.50 Charles Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 George Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 CAFGYE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Payroll Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1.94 Total Donations (Jan) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5,034.79 Total £’s paid in Grants (Jan) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£26,707.16 No. Grants (Jan) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Average Grant (Jan) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£890.24
If you would like to see how your money is spent, we welcome one or two observers at The REME Charity meetings. The meetings are held midweek, approximately every three weeks. If you would like to observe a meeting, please contact The REME Charity Secretary on ( Mil: 95481 4527 or Civ: 01249 894527 in the first instance. The REME Charity is here for both veterans and serving personnel in times of hardship or need. Contact via SSAFA ( 0800 731 4880 www.ssafa.org.uk or The Royal British Legion ( 0808 802 8080 www.britishlegion.org.uk or your Unit Welfare if serving. All enquiries and information is dealt with in the strictest confidence. If you wish to discuss any benevolence need you can contact us on ( 01249 894523.
Anyone wishing to leave a legacy to The REME Charity, which is exempt from inheritance tax, can add a codicil to their will. Our registered charity number is 1165868
Humour in Uniform “Even drill can be fun with the right manager!” Scribe: Former WO1 George McKie When I first arrived at 656 Lt Ac Sqn Wksp REME, (in Noblefield Camp, Kuala Lumpur) in December 1959, everyone was sporting a deep bronzed tan, whereas I was a typical ‘Whitey from Blighty.’ The working dress in camp was: beret, shorts, belt, socks rolled down over boots. So my luminous white skin stood out a mile. During my first week, after the morning muster parade, Squadron Sergeant Major Whale decided we would all benefit by having our drill skills refreshed. When we started marching as a squad I found I was soon out of step and I had to perform the skip-step routine to try and get back in step with everyone else. After two or three skip-steps I was failing miserably. Then I heard SSM Whale yelling “That man in the sheep-skin vest get back in step NOW!” The squad fell about laughing and he had to call us to a halt and start again. Even drill can be fun with the right manager!
The Arborfield Old Boys Association RECRUITING NOW! If you are a former apprentice and not yet a member of the Association then please seriously consider joining us. It doesn’t matter if your time at Arborfield or Carlisle was not completed; it doesn’t matter how your Army career progressed (or didn’t). As long as you passed through those Arborfield gates, you are eligible. The Association is free to join and the annual fee is only £15. There also is an Annual Reunion held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Our magazine, The Arborfield Old Boys Newsletter, is published three times a year. For full details on how to join, please select the ‘Join Here’ option via our web site:
https://arborfieldoldboys.co.uk This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of both the 1970 and 1971 intakes at our reunion in July; if you belong to either of these intake years, please get in touch. For 1971 apprentices, please also reach out to Jim Chadwick as he is heading up the effort to get as many apprentices to the Reunion as possible. Jim is contactable via the Contacts tab on our website and selecting the Recruitment Office option.
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The Screwjack Letters – No. 15 Works Training
studied in my spare time and eventually passed Part 2 of the IMechE exams, as a Grad IMechE, for which I received an impressive scroll with a portrayal of George Stephenson as the logo. Part 3 of the IMechE exams was about Industrial Administration, which I could study later. I applied for my longawaited ‘Works Training’ in 1963. This had recently been reduced from 18 months to nine. I applied to go to Westland Aircraft in my home town of Yeovil, and this was accepted. I knew the works airfield well. In 1944, aged seven, with my pals Tony and David, I sometimes went to see the new Spitfires taking off for their test flights. Westlands Yeovil built over 2000 Spitfires and Seafires. The perimeter track was now a public road just outside the airfield fence, but the old concrete runway still went across the perimeter extending into the field to the west. Locals called it the Spitfire runway. I’m not sure why a Spitfire would need it, the airfield is big enough, unless a Spitfire had engine failure during take-off. I started in the transmission shop, assembling Whirlwind* (helicopter) gearboxes. From there I worked on crack-detection of minor components. The Officers’ School wanted me to write an article for the Corps Journal, I think, so I took an interest in, and wrote about, the manufacture and testing of main rotor blades. In the experimental shop there was a continuous noise coming from a sound-insulated box. I learnt that they were testing a Helicopter gearbox with ‘conformal’ gears. I think the principle was invented by
Novikov, a Russian. The pinions had convex teeth and the crown wheel had concaves such that the load-bearing surfaces were cylindrical and so greater in area than with conventionally- toothed gears. Some years later the Westland Lynx was fitted with conformal gearing in the main rotor gearbox. Main rotor hubs and blades were tested in fenced ‘whirl towers’, which ran in a corner outside the main sheds to determine safe lives in flying hours. Other components were tested on vibration rigs inside the factory, monitored by a retired Army Officer called Dobson, carrying a clip-board. Of further interest to me was the Fibreglass Department of Westlands, a few miles from Yeovil, where, among other things, a fibreglass main rotor gearbox casing was being made as an experiment. Gill and I lived in a rented flat adjoining a garage in Sherborne. An elderly mechanic at the garage had a 1932 Hillman Minx saloon and he sold it for £5 to a Sherborne schoolboy. The MOT had just been introduced and I told the lad that I would buy it from him for a fiver if it failed the test. It failed the MOT for excess play in the steering box. I bought the car, removed the steering box, re-ground the drop shaft and made a new bush in the garage workshop. It then passed the MOT. I sold my Austin Healey for £205. I hand-painted the Hillman in primrose yellow with black mudguards and white bumpers. I also painted red ‘L’s front and rear so that I could teach Gill to drive in it. The car was old and rough, but it had one remarkable talent. If, when driving, I took my foot off the accelerator, then switched off the ignition, then switched on again two seconds later, an enormous bang came from the exhaust with no sign of damage. Talent indeed, you will agree. Gill was not impressed, just embarrassed, she said. One fine summer evening I was driving us downhill in a lane after a dinner at the Mandeville Arms when there was a crowd of young people outside the Foresters Arms pub lower down the hill. One of them pointed at my car and they were all laughing. As we drew near them I reached for the ignition switch and timed it perfectly as we went past. * Westlands produced a twin-engine fighter in 1936, faster than the Spitfire, also called the Whirlwind. Its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines, however, were not as reliable, but a few hundred went into RAF service.
Arborfield Old Boys Association (AOBA)
Reuniting the 71-ers The year 2021 is the 50th Anniversary of those former REME Apprentices who joined the Corps at Arborfield in 1971. Maj (Retd) Jim Chadwick is trying to contact former Apprentices who joined the Corps in 1971, with the view to meeting up at the annual AOBA Reunion at the National Arboretum this year (COVID-19 permitting). If you are one of those Apprentices, or you know one of the 71 ‘ers’, please contact: Major (Retd) Jim Chadwick email@example.com. 07743 484031 46 firstname.lastname@example.org
Corps Diary Dates 2021 All events listed are subject to Covid-19 restrictions
J U LY 2 0 2 1
Master General’s Conference
REME Institution Corps Ball postponed to summer 2022
Corps Spring Guest Night Cancelled
REME Reserves Management Board, Portsmouth.
REME Reserves Management Board
Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night
M AY 2 0 2 1 6-7 13
Young Officers’ Conference and Dinner Cancelled Corps Dinner Night Cancelled
JUNE 2021 17
REME Institution Beating Retreat and Garrison Cocktail Party
SEPTEMBER 2021 9
Corps Dinner Night
OCTOBER 2021 21
Corps Autumn Guest Night
Stay Social During these challenging times, make sure you keep in touch with everything that’s going on with the Corps 805 likes
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Corps Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Summer Dinner Night Will be held in the Harris MM Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess at Prince Philip Barracks on
Thursday 26 August 2021
The closing date for returns is Thursday 29 July 2021
REME Connect will be used for booking and payments (opens April 2021) remeconnect.org For further information, please contact WO2 Iain Campbell Iain.Campbell460@mod.gov.uk