__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

THE CRAFTSMAN

Magazine of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

May 2021


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

Editor: Katy Walton + Corporate Communications Officer RHQ REME, The Prince Philip Barracks, Lyneham, CHIPPENHAM, SN15 4XX  craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk (preferred method)  subscriptions@reme-rhq.org.uk (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: craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk. 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 MAY 2021 FEATURES REME Attends the Funeral of the Corps’s Colonel-in-Chief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Guest Editorial: Lt Col Alex McGready . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Former Recovery Mechanic takes on the 2021 DAKAR RALLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Breaking the Chain of Transmission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Other Russian Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 REME Soldier Wing Org Chart (Pull-out) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 REME Soldier Wing Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Trade Talks: Aviation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 The Falklands 100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 An Interview with… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Korea: Landfall Dinners, Draining Jeeps and Winter Kit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 REGULARS Corps News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Letter to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Extracts from The London Gazette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Officer Assignments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Obituaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Death Notices; The REME Charity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Screwjack Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 The Corps Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

SPORT REME Golf Association 2020 Season . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

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 info@jamprint.co.uk 01249 823 950 © Crown Copyright General Handling: This publication contains official information and should be treated with discretion.

2 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Volume 77 No. 5

Front Cover: Defender cockpit flight servicing being carried out by an Avionics technician during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about the Aviation trades on page 28.


REME

in Numbers

4 32 251 33,000 sub-units made up United Kingdom Resilience Unit 13

Over

Over

3

tests were carried out across Lancashire by UKRU 13

1

Veteran took part in the Dakar Rally

Technicians from 8 Trg Bn were promoted to LCpl

new REME Commandos passed the All Arms Commando Course

nurture bags have been sent out by the Corps Engagement Team

1st 9

REME Esports are currently joint

in the Lions League

Sgt Carrie Roberts scored a try on minutes in her debut for St Helens RFC

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 subscriptions@reme-rhq.org.uk.


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 WARFIGHTER – Texas 18 REME personnel were deployed from February to April on Ex WARFIGHTER. They were drawn from four different units (3 DSR, 1 RRF, 10 QOGLR, 16 Sig Regt) to form a composite ES Group under 3 DSR. The group provided Equipment Support to around 200 separate equipments including Warrior, Bulldog, Man SV, and Land Rover in addition to communications platforms.

Key: RHQ REME Operations Exercises Other

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII


IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

Ex ATHENA REBUS – Cyprus 47 Regt RA Wksp are still providing support to flying activities in the assured flying location in RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. This continues to enable pilot and ground crew training on the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial System.

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: subscriptions@reme-rhq.org.uk 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!

Op SHADER – Cyprus

Maj P Hodgson is currently based in RAF Akrotiri as the Quartermaster for Op SHADER and the Broader Middle East (BME). His responsibilities include; commanding the J4 Logistic Node and Cyprus Reception Centre that facilitates all equipment and personnel transiting the BME.


REME attends the funeral of the Corps Colonel-in-Chief

O

n Saturday 17 April, six soldiers from 8 Trg Bn REME, the Corps ASM, the Corps Colonel and the Master General attended the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Master General, Lieutenant General Paul Jaques CB CBE, served as a pallbearer, accompanying The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin to St George’s Chapel. The specially modified Land Rover Defender, carrying the coffin, was driven by Corporals French and Murray. The Corps Colonel, Colonel Andy Rogers ADC; the Corps ASM, WO1 Dan McNeill; Sgt Phil Mitten and Cfn Archie Dymer took part in

the ceremonial parade, recognising the Corps’ special relationship with The Duke of Edinburgh as our Colonel-in-Chief. In memory of our Colonel-in-Chief, the June edition of The Craftsman Magazine will be dedicated to HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021. This image is made available under the terms of the MOD News License. It may not be used, reproduced or transmitted for any other purpose. This image may be used for current news purposes only. It may not be used, reproduced or transmitted for any other purpose.


From left to right: Corporal Ward, Corporal French, Craftsman Dymer, Colonel Rogers ADC, WO1 (Corps ASM) McNeill, Sergeant Mitten, Corporal Murray and Corporal Hewitt


Guest Editorial

Lt Col Alex McGready REME Following on from last week’s introduction to 6 (UK) Div by Col Houldsworth, Lt Col Alex McGready explains the role of Equipment Support to Land Specialised Operations.

I

took over as SO1 CSS in HQ 6 (UK) Div in September 2020, and, as the senior REME tied appointment, I found myself as the defacto Commander ES for the Division. When I arrived, the Division was partway through a transformation from Force Troops Command (FTC) into a formation that provides support to Land Specialised Operations. In my dealings outside of the Division since my arrival I am aware that there is limited awareness of what this actually means so I would like to outline what the Division is about to try and improve the understanding of what is a unique and exciting formation within the Army. From its headquarters in Wiltshire, HQ 6 (UK) Div now has a structure of four specialist Brigades that deliver unique capabilities that have benefit for the Army, Defence and the wider Government. The Division sits at the heart of the Army’s efforts to contest state competitors day-to-day in the so-called ‘Grey Zone’, to fight asymmetrically in times of crisis, and to support our foreign partners against Violent Extremist Organisations (VEOs). The ‘Grey Zone’ is the security setting in which we seek to modify a state competitor’s behaviour without using lethal force, and at the same time set the conditions to drive enemy de-escalation in times of crisis. 6 (UK) Div was created - and continues to evolve - to give the Army an ever more sophisticated array of unconventional options to use in the ‘Grey Zone’. It carries

Lt Col Alex McGready – SO1 CSS 6 (UK) Div

A soldier prepares to launch the Desert Hawk 3 UAS (Unmanned Air System) over Salisbury Plain during a training exercise © Crown copyright 2015

8 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


out its role by fusing unconventional digital and physical effects, capability of 6 (UK) Div is very much at the forefront of Defence’s using cutting-edge sensors, electronic warfare, information effort to counter global threats in a rapidly evolving environment operations, data analytics, and cyber tools, as well as specially and moving forward looks to remain a key asset for Defence for the trained, equipped and adaptable forward forces. By using cutting foreseeable future. edge stand-off digital effects in concert with highly trained forward forces we aim to achieve a disproportionate effect whilst limiting our liability. Many of the novel unconventional techniques that 6 (UK) Div is developing to constrain state competitors, can also be applied to support our overseas partners against VEOs. In terms of equipment, we have gone from a very equipment heavy ORBAT, under FTC, to a far lighter and more agile force. We support a wide variety of highly complex, low population equipment, much of which has elements that are at the cutting edge of military technology. This brings many supportability issues, especially when you consider that we currently have the largest enduring operational global footprint in the Field Army, with small detachments scattered across the globe in demanding environments. We can also become involved with the development of capabilities as we start to better understand the full potential of equipment that is coming into service. Operations have continued apace, despite COVID, and, as the Division evolves and its capabilities become more widely understood, it is under constant demand to provide its specialist capabilities. 6 (UK) Div is a stimulating place to work as an A Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (MAMBA) in Al Amarah, Iraq engineer, with many challenges to be faced when © Crown copyright 2004 delivering operational effect. The developing

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

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 9


Corps News

Ugandan Founder Member meets the UK Defence Adviser

The UK Defence Adviser, Lt Col Matthew Edwards, met* Ugandan WWII Veterans and families, including a Founder Member of the Corps complete in his battledress jacket with campaign medals and East Africa EME ‘mud guards’. He was fascinated to see The Craftsman Magazine and how the work of today’s Corps is portrayed in print. (*Pre-Covid-19)

10 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 11


REME Units Win the Equipment Care Cup 2020 1 R WELSH LAD and 4 ACS Bn REME jointly won the annual Equipment Care Cup in 2020, recognising the first class ES they provide across 3 (UK) Div. Scribes: 2Lt Adam Tomlin (4 Bn REME) and Cpl Kimberly Chambers (1 R WELSH)

4 ACS Bn REME and 1 R WELSH LAD jointly received the EC Cup in recognition of first class ES they provide at home and on deployment

T

he Equipment Care competition is an annual competition administered by HQ Field Army and sponsored by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to promote equipment care for all Army units, major and minor across Defence. 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment and 4 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME have been recognised for their achievements, ethos and commitment to Equipment Care, recently being declared as joint winners of the Equipment Care Cup 2020. As part of 1 R WELSH, the LAD plays a key role in Equipment Care and it is an ethos that spans the entire workforce and applies in all the unit undertakes. As an underlying principle, it provides an opportunity to develop working practices, the competence of junior engineers and is an essential component of how they operate job to job, day to day, exercise to deployment. 4 ACS Bn REME operate under an overarching goal; to always strive to demonstrate Leadership, Professionalism and Readiness. This is a mentality that spans all ranks and working practices utilised in delivering the Bn’s key function of providing ES to 3 (UK) Div. As the only UK Division held at continuous operational readiness, excelling in Equipment Care is essential to the Battalion as it provides a crucial component in maintaining capability at all levels, from individual soldier to a fleet of AFVs. Both 1 R WELSH and 4 ACS Bn REME understand and appreciate that high quality EC contributes to an increase in efficiency, directly correlating to a higher production output for the same workforce investment. This in turn works to drive up the availability to meet training commitments and increases the SQEP held within these Units, bolstering the Readiness of the entire force. Cpl Kimberley Chambers (1 R WELSH LAD) remarked, “This is what the LAD thrive on and it puts a smile on our faces, 12 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

seeing an AFV roll out of our hanger because we’ve fixed it, and done so in a way that we believe to be more than just opening our toolbox is what delivering ES with a strong EC ethos is all about”. We all have a responsibility for EC and its encompassing elements. This includes identifying best practice, areas for improvement and for opportunities to train and develop the workforce. It is an iterative process that will continue to output tangible benefits if the appropriate mindset is adopted and encouraged at all levels. Throughout 2020, 1 R WELSH LAD and 4 ACS Bn REME have delivered several EC training packages, adapting to the current environment by utilising videos on Defence Connect and following them up with a Microsoft Teams Form to ensure that the message had landed with the audience. From entering a fault on JAMES to the correct method of slave starting a MAN SV, these units have worked tirelessly in the pursuit of Equipment Care excellence and are now reaping the benefits in the delivery of their respective capabilities. This mindset and belief directly contribute to the success within these establishments. The Royal Welsh soldiers invest in their equipment to meet the demanding FOE asked of them and the LAD are always at hand to support when required. “We continue to work hard as a LAD for the Battalion and we will continue to deliver the highest levels of Equipment Support and Equipment Care”. Similarly, 4 ACS Bn REME maintains a stalwart attitude towards Readiness, underpinned by an approach to EC that can be seen in both the working systems utilised and the mindset of every individual within the Bn. It is because of this that they continue to provide first class ES across 3 (UK) Div both from their home base at Tidworth Garrison and overseas. Both units aim to keep this title for the oncoming years and are incredibly grateful for the acknowledgment of this award.


Letters to the Editor

Happy Cypriot Memories Dear Editor Thank you for your extensive coverage of the JMETS in Cyprus (December 2020). This brought back some very happy memories for me. My first posting to Cyprus was to 48 Command Workshop in Dhekelia as a newly commissioned Officer in 1966. There are several memorable aspects to this: I met my wife-to-be on my first day in Dhekelia; I had the job of harvesting cobwebs for the restoration of Kitchener’s theodolite for the Cyprus Museum; I spent at least a month attached to 103 Maintenance Unit (MU) in RAF Akrotiri, where Category 4 repairs were being conducted; I spent six weeks in Libya on overseas training with the Resident Infantry Battalions; and I learned to sail and ski. Apart from falling in love with the woman to whom I am happily married, I fell in love with Cyprus. There were areas of tension in 1966 but the Locally Employed Civilians (LEC) were from all parts of the Cypriot community. It is also worth noting that HQ Middle East Land Forces (MELF) was based in Cyprus at that time. My second posting to Cyprus was from March 1975 to September 1977 as EME Tels and Adjutant CREME. By then it was HQ Near East Land Forces (NEARELF) based in Cyprus. There were two key aspects to this period: the Greek Cypriot Coup and Turkish invasion had only just happened in August 1974; and the Wilson Labour Government published a major Defence Review in 1974. In March 1975, RAF Akrotiri was the largest RAF Station in the world with Vulcan Bombers, Lightening Fighters and Bloodhound Missiles. 103 MU was a key unit for me as EME Tels because of its calibration facilities. It is worth noting that there was a two star General in what was RAF Episkopi/HQ NEARELF but there were also seventeen Group Captains. As a result of the Defence Review, the Army’s role in the Near East was greatly reduced and, theoretically, RAF Akrotiri became more of a staging post than a major military establishment. I was told in April 1976 that calibration facilities would cease by October

as 103 MU was greatly downgraded. This taxed me as EME Tels! Equally taxing was my job as Adjutant, as the establishments were being completely re-written. HQ NEARELF and RAF Episkopi became HQ British Forces Cyprus and Episkopi Garrison. It was during this period that 48 Command Workshop moved from Dhekelia to Akrotiri with the associated changes in establishments. As Adjutant CREME I was heavily involved with this but, luckily, I had an excellent boss in Lt Col Gwynne Flower. WO1 Brian Lilly was the HQ REME ASM. We were also very lucky with the other branches in the HQ BFC. We shared a corridor with HQ RE and my Welbeck contemporaries will remember the Welbeck Adjutant, Captain MIF Tuck, who was subsequently Commander RE in Cyprus. As you can imagine, there were many issues associated with the changeover from RAF Episkopi to Episkopi Garrison - not least in relation to the administration of quarters. The quarters situation was further complicated by the lack of hirings in Limassol thanks to the 1974 Coup. On a personal note, my wife left Jersey Lane to have our third child but came out of hospital to Anglesey Road in North Paramali. I had to move quarters while she was having the baby! Actually, it worked out well for we ‘inherited’ a lovely ‘batwoman’ called Aphrodite with whom we remained friends for years afterwards. There is much more that I could write about this period: the sailing, the times in Troodos and Platres, and our one visit to the Turkish area. One important event worth noting, is that not long after we arrived in Cyprus in 1975, all the Turkish Cypriots from the South were moved, under UN direction, to the North. This was a traumatic event all round and the sight of old people sitting among their belongings on the back of trucks under escort was heartbreaking. Yours sincerely, Major (Retd) The Reverend John Jessop

JMETS

Sun, Sea and Spanners When comparing the overseas postings available to REME personnel, the Joint Mechanical Engineering and Transport Squadron (JMETS) in Cyprus is one of the more unusual. Along with the obvious (sunshine and beaches), the Joint Workshop offers the chance to work alongside the RAF and other Army Cap Badges. This month, REME Officers and Soldiers share their experiences of working there, in what has turned out to be an interesting year.

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 13


REME Family

Former Recovery Mechanic takes on the 2021 Dakar Rally Neil Hawker’s lifetime ambition was to complete the Dakar Rally - the hardest rally in the world. Since 2019, the rally has been held in Saudi Arabia where 100s of professionals and amateurs gather for the ultimate off-road endurance event. In this month’s magazine, Neil talks about why the Dakar Rally is so special and the reality of taking part in it. 14 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 15


with somewhere between 600 and 800km having to be ridden each day. I recall on day five I rode 250km to the start of the timed Special Stage and it was freezing cold. I then rode for another 456km to the end of the timed Special and a further 70km to get back to the bivouac area. It was a very long day, and the next day was more of the same - another 800km day. As I said, it’s tough on both the rider and the machine.

Your bike must take a real hammering; who maintained it?

N

eil Hawker recently returned from Saudi Arabia after fulfilling his lifetime ambition to complete the Dakar Rally. The Dakar is widely acknowledged as the hardest rally in the world and has categories for motorcycles, quads, cars, buggies and trucks. It covers 8000km in 12 hard days of racing. Neil rode in the motorcycle category in the ‘originals’ class, which meant he was unsupported for the whole event. Neil attempted the event in 2020 and was just getting into his stride when he crashed on Stage 5 and was forced to abandon the rally with a broken arm. Having reflected on his disappointment and after being encouraged by other Army and REME riders, Neil decided to return in 2021 to try to get the measure of the world’s toughest rally. He has been riding for most of his life and has been passionate about bikes since he was a boy, spending many years competing with the REME Enduro Team and at Army level in the International Six Days Enduro and Scottish Six Day Trial. After leaving the Army in 2013, Neil began working as a Motorcycle Instructor with the BMW Off Road Skills School in Wales where his thoughts turned to the Dakar. Our roving reporter recently caught up with him on Zoom and asked him a few questions.

What’s so special about the Dakar? The Dakar is a rally like no other. Its super tough, you know, and there is very little tarmac riding - its 95% off-road riding on sand, rocky tracks, mud and sand dunes. The daily mileage is staggering,

16 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

The Originals Class is the toughest as there is no factory support allowed. It was down to me. Each day follows the same routine: up at dawn, breakfast and pack the tent away onto the truck. The truck then leaves and you meet it again at the end of the day. You get issued the day’s navigational road book around 20 minutes before the start, so there is no chance to pre-read the route. You load it into the roadbook holder and set off at your allocated start time. Around 10 to 12 hours later you arrive at the bivouac. I would then set about my routine. Tent up first, phone on charge (important) then back to the bike; oil change, filter change, coolant checks, chain tension, brake pads, tyre changes etc. It would normally take a couple of hours if I was lucky. Then it would be a riders’ brief, food, shower and sleep. Next day up at dawn and repeat.

This must have been mentally and physically exhausting. How did you cope? Well, I think my Army and REME training taught me well. For me, routine was the key and I had a pre-written checklist. You know, when you are tired you can forget things and, in the Dakar, things can go wrong quickly and be catastrophic. I’d follow my checklist and would not stop until the bike was done; it needed to be ready for the next day. Mentally I could then sleep - my body took very little rocking, I can tell you.

Did you have any mechanical problems? I did, but you know the bikes are very special and are designed to cope. They are all 450cc and this year I rode a KTM Factory Rally. It was an excellent bike, but much of the work I did was about preventative maintenance and not being reactive. The bivouac set up was really well thought out and there was a KTM truck full of spares and even an oil sampling diagnosis station. I took advantage of this several times and while I changed the oil every night, it was worth getting a sample of the oil checked to see if the engine was holding up. I didn’t need to worry as it was fine. I did have the occasional crash and had to replace handguards, but I noticed that


some of my fellow riders had snapped their rear suspension pivot bolt. I decided that it was worth purchasing one and carrying the tools just in case. Sure enough on Day 11, it snapped while I was in the middle of the desert. I rode on until the next check-point and then managed to change it without losing time. It was all about planning and carrying the right spares. A lesson I learned in REME.

What was your most dangerous moment? To my mind its all about understanding the danger and controlling the risk. Riding in the dust of the cars is horrendous. The bikes set off first, but within a couple of hours the cars catch up. They are very fast and fly past. After that you are living in a cloud of dust and I vowed to only ride what I could see. Some of the riders kept on the pace and some had serious accidents and were out of the rally. Once I was caught by the four leading cars at the same time while there was a camera helicopter flying overhead and I was in the middle of the massive

“It was all about planning and carrying the right spares. A lesson I learned in REME.” sand dunes. I did not know which way to turn or look. As it happened, I lost a bit of concentration and my front wheel dug into the sand, throwing me over the handlebars. I remember my airbag vest going off and I landed very comfortably on my back in the sand but still looking out for the cars. Thankfully, it was not caught on camera.

What is your most precious memory? I will never forget the spectacular scenery of Saudi Arabia. It is stunning and it was a real dream come true to be riding a bike, off road at speed, through the mixed terrain. Amazing! I have to say, though, that the last 10km of the event will stick with me forever. I was so emotional, thinking of my family and everyone who had helped get me there. It was very special.

Thanks Neil, what’s next for you? Well, first and foremost, there is quarantine. I’m in quarantine for the next couple of weeks and, like the rest of us, I’m waiting for things to return to normal. Hopefully by the summer I’ll be back instructing with BMW again. Then of course there is settling the rally bills. I’ve had some fantastic support from sponsors but there were a few unexpected invoices that will need clearing and I’m not looking forward to seeing them. The bike is being shipped back from Saudi Arabia and should arrive back in France in early February. I’m looking forward to collecting it and doing a tour to catch up with my old REME riding pals - as soon, that is, as we can.

Neil is the first REME Veteran to ever take on the challenge of the Dakar. He was 37th in the motorcycle category and sixth in the Originals class; there were over 120 starters. If you would like to see more of Neil’s adventures visit his Facebook page or search Neil Hawker Off Road Racing on YouTube to watch his Dakar Vlogs. /neilhawke41dakarrally

channel/UC8GKAFlxyHzS6ryZNPZKbsA

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 17


COVID-19

Breaking the Chain of Transmission Deployed to conduct SMART Testing, personnel from REME and RLC spent the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 doing their bit in the national fight against COVID-19.

Team Halberd at Fulwood Barracks

Op RESCRIPT: United Kingdom Resilience Unit 13

The Road to Deployment Foreword: from HQ 2 CS Bn REME

W

inter Period 20 (WP20) was Defence’s response to the unique situation the United Kingdom faced at the end of 2020. On top of a second COVID-19 peak, there was the real danger of a combination of pandemic influenza, severe adverse seasonal weather events and significant Brexit-related fallout. The WP20 package was designed to respond to this breadth of risks through graduated readiness and committed capabilities. In order to support WP20, BHQ 2 CS Bn REME and 7 CS Coy were put on five-days’ notice-to-move from 16 November. On 10 December, the BHQ deployed on a recce of Hutton Police HQ in Preston prior to conducting community-based COVID-19 testing across Lancashire. MACA 20/416 was called for by the Lancashire Local Resilience Forum (LRF), a bespoke crisis management organisation that local authorities convene to manage the reaction to adverse events; this LRF being constituted from the Lancashire local authorities of Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire County Council.

“…a well-oiled, safe testing setting and also created a good working relationship…” Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

UKRU 13 HQ Lead: 2 CS Bn REME (Lt Col MJ Davis REME) Sub-units: 7 CS Coy (2 CS Bn REME), 12 CS Coy (1 CS Bn REME), one each from 6 and 7 Regt RLC

Community testing was an evolution of the COVID-19 testing approach taken in Liverpool under 8 Engr Bde, this time, taking testing to the population, rather than relying on the general public coming to be tested. Using Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) that give results in 30 minutes, the plan was for small teams of soldiers to go to workplaces, schools, public buildings and faith institutions (all such sites termed ‘settings’) to conduct targeted testing on audiences that needed to leave their homes for work, education etc. This was SMART Testing: Sustained Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeated Targeted Testing; it used intelligence to repeatedly target asymptomatic testing in the communities deemed most vulnerable to identify and break onwards chains of transmission. On arrival in Preston, 2 CS Bn REME HQ straight away met with members of Joint Military Command North West (JMC(NW)) and the Lancashire LRF to understand and refine how we would receive and execute tasks across the county. On 12 December, the four sub-units drawn from 102 Logistic Brigade arrived in Lancashire to form United Kingdom Resilience Unit 13 (UKRU13): 7 CS Coy (2 CS Bn REME); 12 CS Coy (1 CS Bn REME); 9 Sqn (7 Regt RLC) and a composite sub-unit from 6 Regt RLC. With each subunit established in a different location across Lancashire, the troops then conducted final RSOI training, task preparation and drawing of equipment before deploying teams over an area stretching from Blackpool to Burnley and Ormskirk to Morecambe – nearly 1250km2 – to commence SMART Testing.

18 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


Testing in Action

Conducting testing at Blessed Trinity RC School

Conducting testing at Chorley Group

Scribes: from 7 CS Coy (2 CS Bn REME) and 9 Sqn (7 Regt RLC)

T

he UKRU 13 MACA was split into three-phases: an initial testing phase, to be followed by training of setting staff to continue SMART Testing within their organisations and a final assurance phase. In the end, the MACA was extended by two-weeks to ensure that the assurance and handover was fully completed, leaving behind a sustainable model for the LRF to carry on the success.

“…being tested and finding I was positive has altered my Christmas plans and potentially saved my vulnerable parents’ life; I will no longer visit them now. Thank you…” A setting employee Whatever settings the teams visited and however employers approached testing and training, an underpinning value was about acting in the best interests of their staff. To this end, it was clear that a great deal of innovation had been employed, from utilising GPS staff tracking systems to physical segregation and enhanced shift rotations, placing the welfare of staff before short-term profitability. Working collaboratively with setting staff, teams overcame language and cultural barriers to deliver testing, seeking out those asymptomatic positive cases and breaking the chains of transmission. Once positive cases were found, individuals could take appropriate self-isolating action, employers could gain confidence from rooting out the positives and if outbreaks were found (three or more in one setting), council teams would descend to support employers to limit further cases. Indeed, within days of the operation starting, a major regional employer was identified as a veritable hotbed of asymptomatic cases, leading to focussed intervention; the employer was quick to take-up training.

CO Christmas lunch at 7 Regt RLC with Maj Harrison

Christmas in the HQ

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 19


While most setting locations could be considered benign, faith locations were anything but, with uncertainty widespread in some communities. Testing in a Preston community mosque and religious education centre required a great deal of preparation from the HQ and the sub-unit involved to ensure testing was conducted in accordance with all religious requirements and sensitivities. Community members were initially quite uncertain about how testing would work, which necessitated teams visiting for site recces

to address concerns early. Thorough preparation ensured that the teams arrived at the right time - between prayers - and in the right order of dress (removing shoes), splitting the team into male and female sub-teams and using simple Arabic phrases to engage and build trust. The wider reality was that every site, whether a religious setting, education centre or business park, had their own unique requirements and site recces were the means to ensuring preparedness and testing success.

Training Staff to Conduct LFD Testing Scribe: from 6 Regt RLC

M

“…we have been very impressed with the communication, organisation and professionalism of the soldiers…” Huntapac Produce Ltd.

Conducting testing and training at James Hall & Co 20 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

oving into Phase 2 of the MACA postChristmas break, the troops began training staff to transition from the militaryprovided solution, to a sustainable civilian testing model operating within settings. Teams trained a mix of council employees, who would be used to run community walk-in sites, and setting staff, enabling businesses, schools and faith communities to become selfsufficient. Taking a rough training model from the LRF, the HQ produced a Training SOI that the teams customised further through a combination of experience testing and their own training; the SOI was constantly refined to create an enduring solution. In addition to the SOI, teams developed further products to support settings, enhancing the whole training package to create safer and more consistent methods reflecting the best practices that had evolved over the weeks of testing. No two setting sites were the same, with some allocating large conference rooms while others could only spare small or cramped spaces that were not best suited to COVID-19 testing and training, but had to be made to work. Adapting to the vagaries of each setting environment was key to allowing the teams to succeed in their goals. The importance of being able to adapt from a gold standard layout while still maintaining safety and quality of training was paramount, ultimately leading to the multitude of successes and positive feedback received across the period of MACA operation. Following a repeatable training method ensured that teams delivered a consistent training product, meeting the wishes of the LRF to maximise training, the wishes of employers to generate organic testing teams and the empowerment of employees to test and in turn ensure the safety of their colleagues.


Living and Operating on a COVID-19 Testing MACA Scribes: from 7 CS Coy (2 CS Bn REME) and 12 CS Coy (1 CS Bn REME)

A

ccommodation varied on the MACA; the HQ lodged at the Lancashire Police HQ, while 7 CS Coy drew the short straw with Halton Cadet Training Camp (HCTC), a typically austere old camp. Compared with this, 12 CS Coy being accommodated at the Barton Manor Hotel was veritable luxury. Undeterred, 7 CS Coy made the most of their lot and created a camp that worked to meet their needs. Forward thinking from the PTIs meant they deployed with some basic gym equipment and transformed one of the rooms into a usable space out of the elements, creating an area for a number of demanding PT competitions. What it lacked in creature comforts it made up in excellent running routes and beautiful scenery, none more so than when covered in snow. Living in the lap of luxury, 12 CS Coy were waited on by hotel staff glad to be open and providing a vital service to support military operations. The quality of the accommodation, food and service was only surpassed by the quality of the staff and management team. They would move heaven and earth to accommodate any requests and ensure everyone was well looked after, although they probably underestimated the amount of brews the teams drank! The facilities were first class, offering cracking recreational activities including darts and billiards; prior to the tightening of restrictions mid-task, access to the gym, sauna and massage facilities were also available! Proof that sometimes Army operations are not austere and can actually match the RAF for comfort!

COS UKRU 13 Maj Keane’s 50th birthday

Lasting Legacy

U

KRU 13 finished on task on 12 February, having had boots on the ground testing and training for eight-weeks in total. Across this time, the teams trained over a thousand setting and council staff, ensuring that this capability could be sustained after the military departed. Over 33,000 tests were carried out by around 280 personnel, with a positivity rate of 1.37%, significantly greater than achieved in Liverpool with vastly more troop numbers and at much greater expense; succinctly proving the SMART Testing concept. The final weeks of the MACA the local council teams dealt directly with the military teams, testing their processes for the planning and co-ordinating of SMART Testing teams. This MACA represented a unique opportunity for 102 Logistic Brigade; every Regular unit within the Brigade deployed troops, with a HQ and four sub-units, as well as 3 Medical Regiment providing the medical support for the deployed force this was Team Halberd in action in the national fight against COVID-19.

SofS Defence visited the MACA Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 21


REME Overseas

The Other Russian Border Capt Mike Harrison recently deployed to Georgia, South Caucasus. We sat down to discuss what life is like, a stone’s throw away from the Russian border… What is your role in Georgia?

I

am deployed as a NATO Advisor to the Georgian Armed Forces working within the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) HQ, located just outside the capital of Tbilisi. JTEC focuses on: Readiness, Staff and Basic Training, as well as hosting larger multinational exercises. Recently established in 2016, the JTEC is a relatively junior organisation with the long-term goal of hosting quality local training and NATO courses. My daily routine is varied. One day I could be visiting a readiness exercise to evaluate training; then I could be working on long term

projects or staff development of the HQ. The team I am a part of is diverse, made up of other NATO and partner nations including: Norway, Denmark, Lithuania, the USA and Sweden.

How is it working in Georgia?

The Joint Training and Evaluation Centre is part of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package

22 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Georgia is a fantastic country with lots of rich history and culture. I had never previously visited the region, but my deployment has given me a better understanding of the country and an insight into the complexities of the postSoviet space. The terrain is very mountainous and the weather can be bitterly cold, so not one I am used to, primarily exercising in the UK/BATUS. It was interesting to see how the Georgian Defence Forces adapt to the harsh conditions. The 2008 Russia/Georgia war is still a recent memory, with two regions of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) under Russian occupation. Meeting Soldiers who fought in this war, and hearing stories of the battles, brings to life what a conflict with Russia could be like. During my time here, the latent Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia/Azerbaijan) war also reignited in dramatic fashion and has dominated headlines throughout my deployment here. Despite this not being a conflict Georgia has been directly involved with, it has attracted somewhat of a spotlight to the region. In particular, there are potential implications for Black Sea security. The new ‘character of warfare’ that is dominated by drones has been a hot topic of conversation and lively debate. The British Army’s LWC have already issued a lessons learnt document for the conflict, which I would highly recommend reading.


What projects have you been actively involved with? JTEC has recently received a large shipment of new computers and equipment to set up virtual training suites, using Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3), to train their Battalions as part of readiness training. I can recall using VBS3 when I was at Sandhurst and MOD Lyneham. Even though I only had a small exposure to the system, I was able to remember much of the functionality and it was easy to jump back in. It was also interesting to see that troops, regardless of nationality, have the same reaction to playing a military simulator… By that, I mean initially going hell for leather in a ‘free for all’ Call of Duty style game, before training properly!

Have British troops previously been in Georgia?

Capt Harrison represented the British Military on Remembrance Sunday In the past, British troops have attended Will you be returning? various exercises and this commitment to the region, specifically Georgia, is likely to endure. A large, combined arms multinational In a professional role it is unlikely in the short term, as opportunities NATO-Georgia exercise is held every three years, with the last taking are limited to individual augmentees (unless of course you are lucky place in 2019. Despite the COVID-19 situation, more recently a enough to be part of the annual UK Contingent for Ex NP). However, Company from 10 QOGLR and some elements from the LAD attended socially most definitely! From my point of view, it is no exaggeration Ex NOBLE PARTNER 2020. This was a light role multinational exercise to say that Georgia is a rare gem in the heart of the Caucasus; still not that focused on urban operations and interoperability at the tactical on the ‘tourist radar’ of most Brits. From hiking in the mountains level. during the summer or skiing in the winter, to exploring cultural sites Historically, British Troops were deployed to Georgia during WW1 as that have shaped the country, there is so much to do! mediators and established an aid station/hospital in Tbilisi. A highlight Coastal towns on the Black Sea coast are also a must-see. for me was representing the British Military on Remembrance Sunday Renowned for its unique cuisine, award-winning wine and friendly and visiting a Commonwealth Memorial Stone, which was located in atmosphere, Georgia has not disappointed in that regard! My only the rose garden of a local family. It was hidden and maintained by the regret is that I was unable to explore more of the country due to the family throughout the Soviet occupation of Georgia (1921-1991) and COVID situation. I would highly recommend a visit to this fantastic has only recently been rediscovered. place!

Capt Harrison in the South Caucasus

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 23


Career Managment Co Lt Col Lance Foster

REME Sold

SO1 REME Sldr Wg Lance.Foster249@mod.gov.uk

SECTI

SECTION A

Maj Kelly Keen

Bhupind

SO2 REME Sldr Wg

SO2 Ar�fic

Kelly.Keen101@mod.gov.uk

Bhupinder.Johal1

PAPMIS/Discipline

Barry McCallum

Mark Nicolson

Marion Ferguson

Barry.McCallum100@mod.gov.uk

Mark.Nicolson560@mod.gov.uk

Comms POC ASCLB POC No 7 Board, E2, ART and ADOC

Class 1 Cse Loading, SCLM Pt 1 Loading, WOCLM Pt 1 Loading

Marion.Ferguson154 @mod.gov.uk All Technicians Electronics

Margaret Newlands

Joyce Campbell

Andy Smith

Margaret.Newlands103 @mod.gov.uk

Joyce.Campbell179@mod.gov.uk

Andrew.Smith227@mod.gov.uk

MTI/Duty of Care, All Arms Cses, MS Referrals, PAPMIS

All Tec AC / AV SSgt-WO1

MDSS

Tracy-Ann Mullen

BOARDING

Tracy-Ann.Mullen218@mod.gov.uk Eqpt Cse Loading, Con�nuance, SF, Pilot and EOD Selec�on

Derek W

Promo�on

Derek.Webster1

SECTION D

Tech, Art AC

Carole-Anne Forrest SO2 TSS, Armr, Rec Mechs, Mtsms, Transfers, Rejoin

Mandy Begg Mandy.Begg985@mod.gov.uk

Carole-Ann.Forrest317 @mod.gov.uk

Rec Mech, Art Veh, VM D-G

Maria Dougan

Maggie Gow

Ashley Paterson

Maureen Baird

Maria.Dougan990@mod.gov.uk

Margaret.Gow812@mod.gov.uk

Ashley.Paterson305@mod.gov.uk

Maureen.Baird815@mod.gov.uk

TS Spec, Metalsmith, Ar�san WOs

Rec Mechs, Transfers, Rejoins

Armourers, Transfers, Rejoins

Tech, Art Elect, VM N-S


ombat Service Support

WO1 (ASM) Paul Reed Soldier Wing WO

dier Wing

Paul.Reed291@mod.gov.uk Roadshows, Visits, VEng, Assurance, FCRs

ON B

SECTION C

der Johal

cers/Techs

Gapped SO2 Vehicle Mechanics

101@mod.gov.uk

Eleanor Taylor

Paul Vandermo�en

Eleanor.Taylor334@mod.gov.uk

Paul.Vandermo�en134@mod.gov.uk

Art Elect, Art Veh, Art Wpns

Paul Viola Paul.Viola667@mod.gov.uk Tech AC / AV Cfn-Sgt

G SECTION

1 Coldm Gds LAD, 1 Gren Gds LAD, 1 IG LAD,1 MI Bn, 1 R ANGLIAN LAD, 1 R IRISH, 1 Regt AAC, 1 RGR, 1 RHA LAD, 1 RIFLES, 1 SCOTS (SPiB),1 WG LAD, 12 Regt RA, 13 Regt RLC LAD, HQ 16 Bde, 16 Bde HQ & Sig Sqn (216), 16 Bde Pathfinder Pl, 16 Med Regt, 16 Regt RA, 16 Sig Regt LAD, 18 (UKSF) Regt Sig, 19 Regt RA LAD, 2 LANCS, 2 MERCIAN LAD, 2 MI Bn, 2 PARA, 2 PWRR SPIB, 2 R ANGLIAN LAD (SPiB), 2 RGR, 21 SAS, 22 SAS, 22 Sig Regt LAD, 23 Engr Regt (Air Asslt) Wksp, 23 SAS Regt, 24 Cdo Engr Wksp, (59 Cdo Sqn), 26 Regt RA, 29 Cdo Regt LAD, 29 Regt RLC, 299 Sig Sqn, 3 PARA, 3 Regt AAC, 3 RHA LAD, 30 Sig Regt, 4 MI Bn, 4 Regt AAC, 4 Regt RA LAD, 4 RIFLES LAD (SPiB), 47 Regt RA Wksp, 5 FS Bn REME, 5 Regt AAC, 7 Avn Sp Bn REME, 7 PARA RHA, 8 PARA Fd Coy REME, 9 Regt RLC LAD, BATSUB, BATUK, BATUS, CTG, Cyprus Jt Sy Unit, Cyprus OSU, Defence HumInt Unit, HQ 1 (UK) Sig Bde, HQ 1 Arty Bde, HQ 77 Bde, 15 (UK) Psy Ops Gp, HQ Spec Inf Gp, Joint Hel Sp (JHSS), MOD Central Staff - HQ Dte SF, NI Garrison SU, OPTAG, RL LAD, RTMC, SBS RM Poole, SFSG, Sp Bn HQ ARRC LAD REME, SRR.

Linda Crossan Linda.Crossan984@mod.gov.uk

Webster

VEng Applica�ons

ns/Boarding

107@mod.gov.uk

C, AV, VM A-C

Mairi Bogan Mairi.Bogan750@mod.gov.uk Armr, Art Wpns, VM H-M

Camille McWilliams Camille.McWilliams784 @mod.gov.uk TSS, Mtsm, VM T-Z

1 Armd Med Regt LAD, 1 LANCS, 1 MERCIAN LAD, 1 R WELSH LAD, 1 Regt RLC, 1 Sig Regt LAD, 10 Tpt Regt QOGLR LAD, 102 FS Bn REME, 14 Regt RA Wksp (RSA), 14 Sig Regt (EW) LAD, 15 Sig Regt (Info Sp), 2 SCOTS, 2 Sig Regt LAD, 21 Sig Regt LAD, 27 Regt RLC LAD, 3 Armd CS Bn, 3 CLSR LAD, 3 RIFLES Mech Inf, 3 SCOTS Lt Mech, 3 Sig Regt LAD, 4 Armd CS Bn REME, 4 Armd Med Regt LAD, 4 CLSR LAD, 5 Armd Med Regt LAD, 6 Armd CS Bn REME, AJAX ATT, ATDU/WCSP Trials, BKA Coy, 5 SCOTS, HCR LAD, HQ 101 Log Bde, ITDU, LD LAD, Royal School of Signals (11 Sig Regt), RTR LAD, SCOTS DG LAD.

Tracey McMonagle Tracey.McMonagle509@mod.gov.uk 1 CS Bn REME, 1 NATO Sig Bn (incl 628 Sig Tp), 1 PWRR LAD (RIB), 1 Regt RMP, 1 RRF LAD, 1 SG LAD, 1 YORKS LAD, 101 TS Bn REME, 103 FS Bn REME, 17 P&M Regt RLC Wksp, 2 CS Bn REME, 2 RIFLES, 2 YORKS, 21 Engr Regt LAD, 22 Engr Regt LAD, 22 Fd Hosp, 26 Engr Regt LAD, 28 Engr Regt C-CBRN, 29 EOD & S Gp Wksp, 3 Med Regt LAD, 3 Regt RMP, 32 Engr Regt LAD, 32 Regt RA LAD, 34 Fd Hosp, 36 Engr Regt Wksp, 39 Engr Regt Wksp, 4 Regt RMP, 4 SCOTS LAD, 42 Engr Regt (Geo), 5 Regt RA Wksp, 5 RIFLES LAD, 6 Regt RLC LAD, 7 Regt RLC LAD, 75 Engr Regt, ARMCEN, Bri�sh Gurkhas Nepal, FALCON AS and R Sqn, HQ 102 Log Bde, HQ 170 (Infra) Engr Gp, HQ 20 Armd Inf Bde, HQ 8 Engr Bde, HQ Brunei Garrison, HQ Regional Comd, Joint AEDTU, KRH LAD, LEA Teams, NATO-NCSA-NCSA Sector Naples, QDG LAD, QRH LAD, RDG LAD, RMAS, School of Inf Ca�erick, Spec Ops Regt RMP, The Inf Ba�le School.


REME Careers

What has been happening in REME Soldier Wing? REME Soldier Wing Update Scribe: WO1 (ASM) Reed – REME Soldier Wing WO

A

lot has changed since the last REME Soldier Wing (RSW) Update in July 2019 – career management has been on a steady path of continuous improvement. We have been looking both in and out at how the process can be made more efficient, freeing up the career managers to spend more time actively delivering career management to REME Soldiers. A concerted effort has been made to improve how REME Soldier Wing communicates. The introduction of the REME Career Management Facebook Group has been central to this and the take up has been impressive. With over 3300 serving REME now subscribed, information is hitting exactly where it is needed instantly. It is an exclusive group with membership constantly monitored to ensure that everyone in the group is still a current serving member of the Corps; those that have left are removed. The publication of the Job List for all ranks and the reinvigoration of the Posting Preference Proforma (PPPs) in a new PDF format provides improved visibility of available

posts and the opportunity for numerous preferences to be submitted. Consequently, an improvement in the quality of PPPs has been witnessed, with more realistic aspirations being submitted based on what is available. Equally, five vlogs on how an Assignment Board works, how to complete a PPP, the FCR process and how the Promotion and Employability Boards work have now been published. A Field Force Representative (FFR) now attends each Assignment Board in direct support of the career manager. Current military input is now injected into all Assignment Boards by the FFR, as well as adding military judgement – they are being used to clarify any PPPs that don’t make sense to the board, or to discuss other options if all preferences have already been taken. So, don’t be surprised if the FFR gives you a call during an Assignment Board! RSW also deliver mock Promotion / Assignment Boards to units that have requested training. These have been designed

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE NEVER STOP LEARNING Use your Standard Learning Credits (SLC) towards outstanding technical training. 7 May

Introduction to structured problem solving using Lean Sigma

15 June Technical report writing More courses to be added throughout 2021. Virtual courses exclusive to armed forces personnel. Pay as little as £45 when you use your Standard Learning Credits.

JNFDIFPSH4-$ NFDIFPSH4-$

26 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


to demonstrate how a board is conducted, who attends, the code of conduct that is adhered to or how it is assured. This training can be delivered remotely, or units can organise a visit to APC (post-COVID-19) via the RSW WO. So, as you can see, RSW was evolving for the better in several areas. Then COVID-19 happened. This global pandemic threatened to bring career management to a grinding halt. Those who have been to APC know how tight and busy the floor is and almost immediately, Kentigern House shut its doors with everyone sent home. With very limited IT at the start of the pandemic (one laptop between the whole of RSW), Dougie Devlin became the SPOC for all REME matters on the laptop and the SO1 managing all emails on the work Blackberry. To keep things interesting the SO1 wanted the boards to continue as planned if possible, so a new digital way of boarding needed to be quickly devised. After only four weeks, laptops had been sourced and 90% of REME Soldier Wing staff were back online again. The Career Management Portal is now being used to run all Promotion Boards and, having been used for the recent LCpl to Cpl Board, is excellent. There is no longer a requirement to use paper copies of SJARs and all future Promotion Boards will be done electronically using the CM Portal. Again, this is a great move forward and frees up valuable time to allow the career managers to proactively get involved in their primary role of managing careers. COVID-19 has forced APC to move forward in time; initiatives that would have taken years have now been introduced within a few months. In REME Soldier Wing there are several continuous improvement initiatives taking place, where digitisation features heavily. These include the use of Power Automation to streamline workflows and the use of Power BI to graphically display the assignment opportunities

that are available. Moreover, paper P-Files are soon to be nomore as APC seek to find a digital solution to store these files in the future. JPA accuracy is becoming increasingly more important – data cleansing continues at pace as JPA remains the single source of truth and becomes increasingly more important in the digital era. The CoC has a part to play and it remains vital that the CoC continue to update JPA regularly, especially since the filter requirements are now being applied using the Career Management Portal. Making sure all educational qualifications and class are recorded correctly is even more important. Equally, the data cleansing work sets the conditions for the arrival of the new My Career app. The My Career app will be a game changer as it begins to offer our Officers and Soldiers the ability to directly engage in the management of their own careers from their own personal electronic devices – more to follow. Programme Castle is gathering momentum too. Brigadier Cook and his team are looking into different areas of innovation in Career Management across the Army (lots of information on Twitter and Defence Connect). The Assignment Exchange survey was recently published across the Army, gathering data to see if Soldiers would like to see a job swap policy. How that will be managed exactly will fall out from the feedback that you provided. REME Soldier Wing says hello to Maj Kelly Keen who has arrived from the BEME role in 2 Brigade, WO1 Paul Reed from the RCMWO role at 8 Trg Bn REME and the new Section Head for B Section, Mr Bhupinder Johal, who joins us from DIO. Also, we say goodbye to Mrs Lorraine Wylie, Mr Dougie Devlin, Capt Kenny, Chalmers and Maj Hollinger. We wish them the best of luck in their new roles and would like to say thank you for all the hard work they have done over the last few years.

The REME Soldier Wing's Career Management Top Tips: All SP are encouraged to try and find the answer by looking at Corps Instruction E5/E6, JSP 757 or the ALDP homepage first then ask the CoC or RCMO to address their Career Management questions. If you would like some advice directly from your Career Manager then please get in touch using the email address APC-MSSldrsCSS-REMEMailbox@mod.gov.uk Join us on Defence Connect under ‘REME Career Management’. • Please encourage everyone, especially Craftsmen and JNCOs, to join. • You will benefit from the latest updates including topics like Board feedback, trawls, and short notice postings. Alternatively, join the REME Career Management Facebook page. After six months in post, WO1 (ASM) Reed offers the following top tips: • There is no such thing as a bad decision, just good decisions based on bad information – make sure you get involved in your careers, take an interest, ask questions and look further ahead than just the next rank. • Understand your career stream and know what you want to do/get out of your chosen career – make sure you have joined REME Career Management on Defence Connect or Facebook. The vlogs are a must watch! • APC are here to help when they can, but sometimes the needs of the Service must come first – you are in the British Army after all! • For promotion potential, understand the responsibilities and traits of the next rank up and what a Promotion Board looks for in our leaders – engage with your 1RO to seek suitable objectives / challenges to help develop for 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. You have to work hard at it. • If you are doing something good, does your CoC know about it? How will your 1RO and 2RO be able write about it if they don’t? • Take an interest in what the rest of the Army is doing, what Regiments are deploying to or where – this will shape posting preferences for those seeking opportunities on operations or major exercises. Information is obtainable through a quick Skype or search on SharePoint.

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 27


Trade Talks

Aviation

Apache positioning for return landing on HMS Queen Elizabeth flight deck

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, Aviation give us an insight into how two trades, Avionics Technician and Aircraft Technician, are constantly developing to provide the best opportunities for their tradespeople and the Corps.

Maintaining Excellence

A

ristotle told us ‘Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance determines your destiny’. REME Aviation is about integrity and the courage to deliver the very best flying platforms in the most demanding circumstances and environments. It is about using our inherent skills as technicians and engineers intelligently to deliver operational effect. We are professional Soldiers and tradespeople and we must inculcate a desire to always be outstanding and simply, extremely good. So, it is not enough to know we are good, but to prove it every time we pick up a spanner. ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit’.

Training

• Licencing Module Scheme. Army Aviation have been provided money for a CAA licencing trial and the CAE(A) team is working at pace to deliver this. This will afford the aviation trade to work towards civilian licences. Licence modules will be delivered through access to online e-learning, complementing current inservice training and CAE(A) supported CAA examinations. A greater number of modules will be available depending on your training level and rank. For those who complete all relevant modules, the CAA Cat B1.3/B2 licence will be REME Aircraft funded under the Maintenance scheme. More details Licencing: will follow, and you can Registration of express your interest Interest shorturl.at/fHUW4 using the QR code.

The way we train our Soldiers is constantly changing and adapting to new regulations, policy and technological advances. We are continually looking at ways to improve the way we technically train our Soldiers, whether this be through the means of remote learning, on the job or distributed training.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Trade Accreditation If you are a Corporal supervisor, and/or NVQ3, you can apply for EngTech status (the typical application cost is £40.00) with your subsequent annual fees claimed back through the military system. On gaining your EngTech status you will be able to claim £3,000 under the Army’s professional registration lump sum scheme. If you were not aware of this and need to know more details your engineering chain of command stands ready to support.

Opportunities Army Aviation and the CAE(A) team have been working to introduce opportunities for the wider Army Aviation community and these include:

28 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Defender cockpit flight servicing being carried out by an avionics technician during the COVID-19 pandemic


• Foundation Degree. Army Aviation continue the drive to deliver a foundation degree route for all technicians before proceeding to Staff Sergeant. Negotiations are ongoing with several universities to accredit the REME Aviation trade courses. More to follow as this develops. • Project TITUS. The CAE(A) and his team’s main effort is retaining and rewarding Aviation Technicians by delivering against your expectations and aspirations. Army HQ is putting their weight behind REME Aviation and Pj TITUS will deliver wholecareer benefits in recognition of the challenging and technically demanding roles which you undertake. The scope of the project includes: • Professional development and academic qualifications. • Training courses, career progression and promotion opportunities. • Attachments and potential lateral entry (including how this affects you who are serving already). • Appropriate pay and conditions. REME Aviation - Maintaining Excellence; Arte et Marte.

LCpl Josh Cook Trade: Aircraft Technician Class 2 Unit: 5 Regt AAC Wksp

Why did you choose to become an Aircraft Technician?

I selected the Aircraft Technician trade with a perception that I would gain valuable experiences within the Army, with an ambition to progress in trade or learn transferable skills if I decided to pursue a career in the civilian aircraft engineering sector. I’m currently nearing completion of an NVQ Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering and I have an intent to use either a SLC or ELC to study a higher education qualification.

What have been your trade highlights or key experiences to date? I began my Army career in 2016 at AFC Harrogate before starting Aircraft Technician trade training at MOD Lyneham. The training predominantly consisted of aircraft theory and practical, utilising Gazelle and Lynx helicopters as training aids. During the individual phases I studied engineering maintenance skills, health and safety and aviation policy, there was also a requirement to complete an airframe repair module to repair sheet metal and composite components; this was a particularly enjoyable and challenging phase. On completion of trade training, I was assigned to 5 Regiment Army Air Corps (5 Regt AAC) in Northern Ireland. During my time at 5 Regt I have maintained and serviced both rotary and fixed wing platforms, consisting of Gazelle, Islander and Defender aircraft. Whilst employed at 665 Aircraft Maintenance Platoon (AMP) I conducted scheduled maintenance, flight servicing, fault finding and vibration test flights on the Gazelle. A specific highlight of my time at 665 AMP was when I had the opportunity to deploy on detachment to BATUS Canada to support 29 Flight, maintaining Gazelle in the MEDEVAC role. During the detachment I took advantage of opportunities to travel, alongside conducting and watching winter sports. I also achieved the Canoeing Foundation adventure training qualification whilst deployed.

What opportunities has being an Aircraft Technician brought you? Since my transferral to 651 AMP as part of internal restructuring, I have worked as part of a crew to ensure that there has been excellent serviceability of Islander and Defender aircraft. This has proved particularly challenging during the COVID 19 pandemic - I

Apache on HMS Queen Elizabeth awaiting refuelling have learnt to remain flexible and I have developed my prioritisation skills to remain effective on the shop floor; a silver lining to the dilemma of working routine amendments due to legal regulation changes.

What advice would you give to those thinking about joining REME as an Aircraft Technician? My advice to anybody considering a career in REME as an Aircraft Technician would be be positive. The opportunities to acquire qualifications, experiences and transferable skills are vast and are supplemented with sports and adventurous training opportunities, ultimately concluding in a very appealing career.

What are your future goals in REME? Looking towards my future, I am hopeful to initially attend a Supervisor Course. This progression will signify an increased responsibility on the aircraft and the opportunity to lead and manage teams of Technicians during maintenance and fault finding an opportunity that I am really relishing. Further opportunities to attend the Senior Supervisor and Artificer Course will follow.

LCpl Nitin Sharma Trade: Aircraft Technician Class 2 Unit: 5 Regt AAC Wksp

Why did you choose to become an Aircraft Technician?

I joined the Army in 2013 as a RLC Chef. I have always had a very keen interest in engineering and constantly find myself fixing household appliances, bicycles or even my car. So, I decided to re-trade to REME and become an Aircraft Technician. This field ticks all the boxes for me and the trade allows me to use my full potential, learn more, gain more engineering experience and do what I love. There is a wide variety of equipment and opportunities available in this stream as I get to work on the Army’s aircraft.

What have been your trade highlights or key experiences to date? I have been lucky enough to be attached with 5 Regt AAC as part of the UK Counter Terrorism Operations. The unit is a busy unit with constant learning opportunities. I have been given the chance to work on more in-depth jobs, which challenge my skills and knowledge as well as standard scheduled maintenance - our bread and butter. I am given a lot of responsibilities alongside my normal

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 29


day to day job. This includes looking after all the Workshop technical instructions and manuals. The evervarying tasks keep me fully engaged, which all add to improving my personal knowledge and experience, making me a better Aircraft Technician.

What opportunities has being an Aircraft Technician brought you? My trade has given me multiple opportunities to allow me to show my full potential, which in turn has allowed me to excel in any task given. Trade training gave me the chance to build on my own experience and knowledge. I was taught the correct aviation technical skills such as fault finding and vital hand skills as well improving my own IT skills. I have been an Aircraft Technician for a couple of years now and I have been able to use my own skills to mentor new Aircraft Technicians coming into the unit.

What advice would you give to those thinking about joining REME as an Aircraft Technician? Being an Aircraft Technician in the Army brings out the best in everybody in the role. The trade training is one of the longest and hardest technical training courses in the Army. Successfully completing this training is extremely satisfying and rewarding. I strongly recommend anyone attempting this course to stick with it through to the end. The course provides the vital skills that are required daily to competently complete the demanding tasks of the job. Using these skills on operational aircraft that are used to protect the country is highly satisfying. Being attached to different units allows you to learn new things and get a chance to broaden your aircraft knowledge. There is a huge range of equipment to work on and lots of locations to choose from to spend your career at; there is something for everyone. It is a challenging and exciting career with great qualifications to be gained. My advice is really to go for it and make the most of the many adventurous training opportunities and competitive sports available.

What are your future goals in your career? My future goals are to gain my Class 1 qualification to enable me to take the next steps in my career. Further down the line I will work towards becoming a Senior Supervisor and attend the courses required, so that I can continue to progress in my career and develop myself further as an Aircraft Technician.

Apache being monitored pre-take off from the tower

Sgt Robert Adkins Trade: Aircraft Technician Class 1 Unit: 651 AMP 5 Regt AAC Wksp

What led you to become an Aircraft Technician? Joining the Army was something I always wanted to do. Initially I had joined for the Royal Engineers, but my Platoon Commander and Company Commander in basic training were both REME; having the different trades and qualifications I could gain explained to me, prompted me to transfer to REME to become an Aircraft Technician.

What has been your best experience as an Aircraft Technician? One of the best experiences I have had as an Aircraft Technician was the build up to the London Olympic Games. For this we had a preparatory two-week exercise in Corsica where the Squadron trained to intercept rogue aircraft and disable them. During the exercise, the motto ‘Work hard, play harder’ became evident, as all the hard work we had put into preparing for the exercise meant that we could make the most of our time off exploring the Corsican coastline and local nightlife.

What opportunities has being an Aircraft Technician brought you? I have been very fortunate with opportunities both in and out of trade. One of the most memorable must have been working in support of Other Government Departments in 2016-17. Working with a small, independently deployed team of seven technicians presented the opportunity to develop my technical ability in a high tempo environment. We were frequently the focal point of the operation, ensuring that the aircraft were serviceable in order to be released for operational flying. Alongside daily work I have been very fortunate with the qualifications I have been able to obtain; these include airframe repair qualifications in both metallic and composite materials. These qualifications have not only assisted me in my day-to-day job, but they have also come to my assistance when competing at an Army Angling Festival, repairing damaged fishing equipment and enabling myself to continue competing in the event.

What goals have you set yourself for the remainder of your career?

Apache commencing departure from flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth

30 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Over the remainder of my career I have set myself numerous goals. Top of the list is to attend and complete my Artificer course. I see this as the next step in my personal development as it will enable me to become a leader in the technical environment and offer me a wider range of opportunities to deploy and operate independently. Aside from work, my passion is angling and I would like to pursue this to the highest levels possible, representing the Corps and then hopefully the Army.


Sgt Samuel Cooper Trade: Aircraft Technician Class 1 Unit: 5 Regt AAC Wksp

What led you to become an Aircraft Technician?

From a young age I always wanted to join the Army and I was convinced into getting a trade, to give me a better chance of getting a job when I finally decided to leave. After weighing up my options, I decided that an Aircraft Technician was the ideal job, for the opportunities it presented and for the comfortable living conditions the technicians get, to give them the best environment to carry out their flight critical tasks.

What has been your best experience as an Aircraft Technician? One of my best experiences has to be working with the 5 Regt AAC in Northern Ireland. It’s a place like no other, delivering Manned Airborne Surveillance Force Elements for operational deployment in the UK and Worldwide in support of Defence and Other Governmental Departments. It presents a lot of extra challenges that you won’t experience at other units; we are constantly adapting to provide an output of serviceable aircraft.

SERVICE LEAVERS The Army Reserve is ready to welcome you There are 25 REME Reserve units across the UK, with many vacancies for junior tradespeople and Subaltern Officers now.

What opportunities has being an Aircraft Technician brought you? Some of my best experiences have been on exercise and tour, from maintaining the Apache in the US and Afghanistan, conducting live fire packages and heading out to BATUS Canada, on three occasions, to providing 24 hour MEDEVAC cover for Battlegroup exercises with the Gazelle. There have also been numerous Adventurous Training opportunities from skiing in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, ice climbing and winter survival techniques to horse riding in the Rocky Mountains, surfing and mountain biking. Army Aviation takes you to places you only usually see on postcards.

What advice would you give to those thinking about joining REME as an Aircraft Technician? An Aircraft Technician is a very rewarding job, from receiving the aircraft unserviceable, rectifying faults and carrying out scheduled maintenance to flying in the aircraft to test its serviceability, in a host of environments - it is not your run of the mill job that you can walk into in the civilian world. There are ample opportunities to further yourself in knowledge and qualifications and the ebb and flow of maintenance provides time to get away on AT and ‘team-bonding’ activities. It really is a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture.

What goals have you set yourself for the remainder of your career? My motivation has always been my family and my unit, and my chosen trade provides an ideal work/life balance. My aim for the future is to expand my knowledge and experience to further my effectiveness. I will be working towards my civilian aircraft maintenance licences so I can transfer my skills from the military to civilian aviation and get a job working at a civilian airport when I retire.

Apache twilight operations on HMS Queen Elizabeth

The offer: • Make use of your skills and excel as a competent recent former Regular. • Meet and work with like-minded people. • Serve your country, but on your own terms. • Enjoy pay and benefits, plus an annual tax-free bounty. • Reduced initial commitment for the first three years: 19 days, reduced MATTs, no deployment liability. • Opportunity for more work or increased commitment if you want it, including personal development and AT/sports. Leavers process: ‘COs are to direct unit staff, especially RCMOs, to; signpost opportunities in the Army Reserve to their Service Leavers (SLs), support those showing interest in joining the Army Reserve and to process applications expeditiously.’ This includes facilitating visits by Service Leavers to Army Reserve units during the resettlement period. Transfer process: Annex G to SToS - includes a useful flowchart at Appendix 1 to Annex G.

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 31


16 Regt RA LAD

The Falklands 100 On 4-6 January 2021, REME personnel walked over three days the equivalent of the mileage from Hampshire to Essex. Cpl Tristan Steed recounts the events, from the consequences of forgetting your trainers through to what happens when you don’t #ProtectTheGooch.

In total the 100 miles included: 27 hours 52 minutes over three days, giving an average of over nine hours a day on foot.

11 Battery Fitter Section of 16 Regt RA deployed to the Falklands Islands in July 2020. While deployed, they wanted to plan and execute an endurance event to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, while exploring the history and terrain of the island and raising funds for a military charity. The plan of covering 100 miles (161km) over three days was developed, starting in Port San Carlos, most noted for being the first landing place of British Forces during the 1982 Falklands War; it was codenamed ‘Green Beach’, and was part of Operation Sutton. They would then travel 40 miles south to Goose Green, which was made famous as the resting place of 2 PARA’s CO, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones, VC, OBE. From Goose Green the group would travel east 26 miles, stopping overnight at Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) before making the last 33 mile push into Port Stanley for a well-deserved celebration meal to mark their achievements.

Day 1 (4 January 2021)

164.1km / 102.5 miles. The equivalent distance from Thorney Island (Portsmouth) to Chelmsford, Essex.

3186 metres of elevation, equalling roughly three times up Snowdon. 9085 calories burnt, the equivalent of 40 standard Mars Bars. £1287.66 raised for SSAFA.

32 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

11:44:28

67.35km (41.8 miles)

1,672m

With the alarm set for 0430hrs and knowing that 40 miles lay ahead, all nine participants and both drivers knew this would be a VERY long day, and the drive from MPC to the start point of Port San Carlos took nearly two hours. After the obligatory photos, the team set off at 0653hrs. The mood was high for the first 30km, with everyone staying together and having a short break every six miles. Past the halfway point at the top of the last big hill of the day, LCpl Cox was close to pulling out, but being at 24 miles already, the draw of those last two miles downhill, and the desire to be able to say he had travelled over a marathon on foot, was too tempting, and he finished with a huge smile on his face. Cfn Smith, having heroically completed 35 miles in boots when most had decided to wear trainers, said he was done for the day, before admitting his faux pas - he had forgotten to bring his trainers and didn’t want to be mocked by his hero, commando-trained LCpl Carroll (you’re welcome Jack). A quick photo was taken at the finish before the group headed to the Rapier site, to be treated with a muchappreciated authentic Thai curry provided by Bdr Cook.


Day 2 (5 January 2021)

7:33:50

44.45km (27.6 miles)

Day 3 (6 January 2021)

710m This was to be the shortest day on the least hilly terrain and with the advantage of finishing at MPC, allowing everyone to go straight into self-care as they finished. Deciding that an extra hour in bed would be beneficial, we met for breakfast at 0730hrs. After a relatively short 40 minute drive to the start line, the seven who thought they could continue stood next to the boundary sign of Goose Green, taking a moment to pay our respects, with LBdr Brough giving us a brief Battlefield study. We stepped off at 0908hrs but, within a few hundred metres of starting, Gnr Dymond, realised his body did not want to work as much as his mind did and he made the smart move to take a rest day. In contrast, LCpl Carroll set a furious pace, finishing the day before anyone else had reached the 32km point, only struggling with the abnormal Falklands weather, averaging 23 degrees and not a cloud in sight. SSgt Bell took the day steady and after a good finish with a strong headwind, put his Artificer hat back on and went into work. Sgt Boyle, being driver/support crew, repacked the vehicles and made sure we were ready for the final push into Stanley.

8:35:25

52.20km (32.4 miles)

804m

The last push. Breakfast at 0630hrs was followed by the feeling of herding cats until everyone was ready. Eight of us set off at 0718hrs. Working back from our 1900hrs table reservation in the Malvinas Hotel, we set cut off times so everyone was given the best chance to finish. LCpl Stephens and LCpl Lapish set the tempo for the day, walking the ups and jogging the downs. With obvious soreness, the newly coined phrase #ProtectTheGooch kept everyone’s sense of humour intact. However, concerns were noted when LCpl Stephens’s bloodstained trousers clearly demonstrated that he indeed did NOT #ProtectTheGooch as he walked like he had misplaced Red Rum for the rest of the night. SSgt Bell re-enacted the story of the tortoise and hare, as he was the only one to complete the full 100 miles. As his courageous effort the day before had clearly taken its toll, LCpl Carroll became Support Crew, deciding to join the finishers on the final 8 miles to encourage them on. Everyone performed incredibly, with the lowest mileage reached still being an admirable 50 miles. The event gave way to many quiet times where the mind would wander; trying to imagine what it was like during 1982. Each day we were exhausted, but got to go back to our beds, eating as much as we wanted. We wore trainers, carried no weight, walked on roads, had no rain or snow and no fear of an enemy. Attempting to walk in the steps of those that came before has made us realise how much gratitude we owe them. For anyone wanting to retrospectively contribute to the event sponsorship in aid of SSAFA, the team’s Justgiving page is still open.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the-falklands-100.

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 33


REME Sports

A Crazy Year but Not Quite Crazy Golf The REME Golf Association (RGA) 2020 Season didn’t quite go as planned – a running theme across REME Sports. However, thanks to the committee’s work, three main events were held. RGA Corps Assistant Scretary, WO2 (AQMS) Anthony Parkinson, reports back on how they went.

I

n what has been a crazy year for all, the RGA was lucky enough to still get out and play a number of events throughout the year. Working to the strict conditions set by the Army Sports Control Board, the Committee worked tirelessly to ensure it was possible for some REME Golf to be played. For the 2020 season there were some significant changes within the RGA Committee: WO1 (ASM) Carl Wray replaced Capt Paul Simpson as the RGA Secretary, WO2 (AQMS) Erv Brown replaced WO1 (ASM) Carl Wray as Corps Captain and WO2 (AQMS) Anthony Parkinson replaced WO2 (AQMS) Mick Shipp as the RGA Assistant Secretary. A resounding thank you goes to the outgoing members for their hard work and dedication whilst being a part of the RGA Committee. Although it was a significantly reduced golfing season with only three main events taking place, there was still a lot of positives to take away from it. For the second season in a row, an increase of personnel attending the events was Col Chris King presenting Gen Bill O’Leary, WO1 (ASM) Carl Wray recorded, with a massive field of 75 players entering the and WO1 (ASM) Paul Gardner with their Corps Colours Corps Championships. The only other fixture to be completed in 2020 was the highly If anyone is interested in taking up the sport and is not sure how competitive Officers v Soldiers competition, which was played at to get involved, then please contact WO2 (AQMS) Anthony Basingstoke Golf Club. Once again, the Soldiers were victorious with Parkinson. Alternatively either visit www.remegolf.co.uk or find the a comprehensive 11.5 - 6.5 victory. RGA on Facebook.

Summer Meet REME Golf finally got underway for the season on a beautiful summer’s day at Tidworth Golf Course. With perfect golfing conditions the course was in superb condition, with lightning-fast greens making it a challenging day for the 60 golfers who entered. Sgt Josh

Summer Meet Results 36 Hole Medal 1st Sgt Josh MacInnes (138) CB 2nd Maj Lance Rosie (138) 36 Hole Stableford 1st WO1 (ASM) Carl Appleby (77 Pts) 2nd Cpl Simon Curtis (73 Pts) Medal AM 1st Cpl Liam Burrows (69) CB 2nd Cpl Sean Jones (69) Stableford AM 1st Maj Mick Green (35 Pts) 2nd Lt Col (Retd) Tony Workman (34 Pts) Medal PM 1st WO2 (AQMS) Mick Shipp (66) 2nd WO1 (ASM) Dave Smith (69) Stableford PM 1st Sgt Mike Silvester (39 Pts)

Maj Lance Rosie posing after another great approach shot into to the green.

34 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

WO1 (ASM) Carl Wray teeing off at Tidworth GC

2nd Col Chris King (37 Pts)


Macinnes won the 36-hole Medal competition with a total of 138, narrowly beating Maj Lance Rosie on count-back. WO1 (ASM) Carl ‘the bandit’ Appleby won the 36-hole Stableford Competition with a total of 77 points ahead of Cpl Simon Curtis with 73 points. Playing off a questionable 24 handicap, Carl managed to eagle the same hole in both rounds!! Other winners on the day were Cpl Liam Burrows who won the morning Medal Competition, WO2 (AQMS) Mick Shipp the afternoon medal competition, Maj Mick Green the morning Stableford and Sgt Mike Silvester the afternoon Stableford.

Being a bandit got a bit too much for WO1 (ASM) Carl Appleby

Beautiful day for Golf at Tidworth GC

Corps Championships

Corps Championships Results Corps Championship Scratch (36 hole) 1st LCpl Craig Cowie (154) 2nd WO2 Colin Bell (156) Corps Championship Medal (36 hole) 1st WO2 (AQMS) Fraser Bott (143) 2nd WO2 (AQMS) Anthony Parkinson (148) Corps Championship Stableford (36 hole) 1st Capt Tek Gharti (73 Pts) 2nd WO1 (ASM) Carl Appleby (71 Pts) Retired Members Stableford (36 hole) 1st Mr Bryan Bennett (67 Pts) AM Stableford 1st Capt Sher Gurung (37 Pts) PM Stableford

Sgt James Ruff showing off the ‘Gun Show’

1st Sgt Kris Stephens (37 Pts)

With the RGA Corps Championships originally planned to be held at St Andrews in June 2020, a decision was made to postpone the event due to COVID restrictions. Unfortunately, this meant a change away from the original venue of St Andrews, which has been pushed back till 2021. A new venue was selected, with Rye Hill, Banbury, being chosen to host the event and 75 golfers competed for the trophy. Impossible to compare the course to St Andrews; however, Rye Hill served its purpose, as it is a long course with testing greens that provided a stern challenge. Again, the sun was shining. However, blustery conditions made things considerably difficult and added to the challenge provided by the course. Played over 36 holes LCpl Craig Cowie became the Corps Champion winning by two shots from WO2 Colin Bell. The subsidiary competitions, 36holes Medal and Stableford were won by WO2 (AQMS) Fraser Bott and Capt Tek Gharti respectively. Other winners on the day were Capt Sher Gurung in the morning Stableford competition and Sgt Kris Stephens Dates for 2021 the afternoon competition. 16 June 2021

Brass Balls The final event of the REME Golfing calendar is the Brass Balls, which is normally held at Tidworth Garrison Golf Club. With the summer meet being played at Tidworth, the Brass Balls was moved to Ogbourne Downs GC. Again, we were fortunate with the weather conditions for the time of year, allowing for perfect golfing conditions. The winner of the Brass Balls trophy for 2020 was Mr Chris Mitchell narrowly beating WO2 (AQMS) Fraser Bott on count back. The afternoon, as always, consisted of a fun competition where players are paired up with a partner and are only allowed five clubs of the same denomination in their bag. The competition is played under Foursomes format and this year it was played over nine holes. The winners with 20 points were Mr Bryan Bennett and WO2 (AQMS) Parkinson.

Brass Balls Results Brass Balls Trophy 1st Mr Chris Mitchell (37 Pts) CB 2nd WO2 (AQMS) Fraser Bott (37 Pts) Ken Smith Trophy - 5 Club Challenge 1st Mr Bryan Bennett and WO2 (AQMS) Parkinson (20 Pts) WO2 (AQMS) Anthony Parkinson clearly taking his eye off the ball on his tee shot!!

2nd Gen Bill O’Leary and Col Kevin Hearty (19 Pts) CB

Corps Championships Round 1 17 June 2021 Corps Championships Round 2 21 July 2021 Summer Meet 01 September 2021 Autumn Meet 07 October 2021 Brass Balls/ Hadrians Cup Final

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 35


An Interview With…

Leena and Max Batchelor A Poet and a Vehicle Mechanic… No, it isn’t the start of a bad joke. Instead, we caught up with the Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Leena Batchelor, and her son, Max, a VM and PTI, to chat about how they’ve been supporting The REME Charity.

A

key part of joining the Corps is that you also become part of The REME Family, with all the support, relationships and belonging that brings with it. “Once REME, always REME!” That family tie extends beyond our Officers and Soldiers to their own families as well, whether they are parents, spouses, partners or children. Many realise this, giving to The REME Charity in multiple different ways in the knowledge that it will be there for them or their loved ones when they need it. Leena and Max Batchelor are two such people, who found ways to give to The REME Charity and The REME Family in the process. We caught up with them earlier this year to find out more about their connection to REME, how they’ve been fundraising, and their thoughts on poetry and engineering.

Hi Leena. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? I’m Leena Batchelor, also known as Pixie Muse Poetry & Prose on my various social media channels (all the usual culprits – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!). I work full time as a Headteacher’s PA at a Secondary School in the West Midlands, and as their Clerk to Governors. I’m also currently the Worcestershire Poet Laureate and a Writer in Residence for a local museum, The Commandery (famous for being the site of the final battle of the English Civil War!). I’m a mother of four children, and a grandmother of two boys. My eldest son (Max) is a REME Soldier, and my youngest son (Liam) is about to join the Royal Marines. I’ve been writing since I was about 16, and have three solo poetry collections (all available from myself or Amazon), as well as inclusions in several anthologies. I also perform as a Spoken Word artist locally; all of these events have moved online during the pandemic, which means my audience has spread globally and included performances streamed to the USA, Finland, Canada, Germany, and Poland! Writing poetry for me has always been both an emotional release and a way of understanding the world around me; I’m also renowned for getting lost in a good book! I adore travelling (sadly curtailed during the current pandemic), and often use long weekends away to find inspiration for my writing.

Most of our readers probably aren’t aware that there are Poet Laureates for some counties. Could you explain what the role encompasses? Most of the UK counties have local Poet Laureates; for Worcestershire, the post is awarded through an annual competition held by the Worcester LitFest in the Summer. Although the remit is up to each individual to detail, the general focus is upon promoting poetry in the local area and working with schools. I expanded this for myself to include promoting poetry as a tool for everyday life for everyone, and have several projects in the pipeline both for my tenure and afterwards. I also use the role as a vehicle to support various charities and organisations (mental health, forces, homelessness, etc.) – more important than ever at the moment.

them. Watching him come to terms with extreme and testing situations, knowing there is little you can do apart from being there, is difficult. It has definitely made us close as a family, especially when he is posted away from home. However, I also believe the military life has helped him grow as a person and uncovered skills and characteristics that he may not have realised otherwise. As a mother, I have always encouraged all of my children to follow their hearts and Max is certainly doing so - that makes me happy.

Engineering and poetry probably seem worlds apart to most people. Have you found any ways to bridge the apparent gap between them? In many ways, both are creative arts. The same way engineers visualise how things work and fit together, whether that be machines or buildings, I visualise how words can do the same. There are many beautiful examples of engineering in the country, as much as there are incredible poetic works. Bridging gaps between life and poetry is a subject I am very passionate about - poetry is not just for dusty library corners!

Max is a REME Soldier, VM and PTI, currently serving at Lyneham. What impact has his decision to join the Army, and the Corps, had on your family?

We’re all sick of hearing about it but I have to mention COVID. How have you found living through a year of pandemic, both as a military parent and with winning the Worcestershire Poet Laureateship in the midst of it?

Very much a double-edged sword (pardon the pun!). Naturally we’re all incredibly proud of him - it takes a very special and selfless person to serve. On the other hand, there are naturally times when we’re also very worried for him - his recent posting to Iraq being one of

Like everyone, I have had moments of utter desolation and despair, but I have also uncovered several moments of glorious hope, and beauty in human nature, and it is those that have been my lifeline. Knowing Max is in the military, I know he will be able to access the

36 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


best care and help available if needed, despite being put in challenging situations. I also know the military are in the position of being able to make a difference if called upon, and are less likely to face the financial impacts of furlough or job loss. This makes me less worried for him as a parent. The Laureateship has given me the opportunity to use my position to reach out to people and help them through words of comfort and hope, to connect them to other poets who can do the same, and think of alternative ways of helping charities. It’s also provided me with the opportunity to shout about the wonderful side of human nature that does exist, and remind us of the important things in life. I feel very honoured and privileged to be able to do this.

At the end of 2020, you decided to create a 2021 Calendar and donate all the proceeds from sales to charities, including The REME Charity. What inspired the calendar? My inspiration comes from the thought-hamsters that run around inside my brain! Seriously, I woke up one day and thought ‘a calendar would be a good way to get poetry out to a wider audience outside of normal poetry circles’. This then led to - what else needs to be included (i.e. photos, two of which were taken by my youngest son Liam), and who could I raise money for? The REME Charity was a natural choice with Max serving. I was delighted to raise £157 for the charity, and would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in producing and buying it. There is every chance that I will be repeating this again next year, although with Max’s brother joining the Royal Marines, I guess it will be one for both and you’ll have to share! In November, as poppy sellers nationally were unable to raise funds through normal channels due to the pandemic, I held a live YouTube event for the Poppy Appeal featuring 11 poets with 11 poems on the theme of Remembrance (11/11!). This raised £70 for the appeal. Copies of the recording are still available for a donation to the Poppy Appeal, as are (a few) copies of the Calendar. If anyone is interested in either, please get in touch (astro_orb@yahoo.co.uk).

Hi Max. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? I have served in REME for nine years in May 2021. During this time I have deployed on numerous Exercises, Adventurous Training and an Operational Tour in Iraq. I am currently posted to 8 Trg Bn REME, where I undertake the role of a Section Commander to Phase 2 Trainees.

You’ve been in REME for several years now and you’re a PTI. What was it that encouraged you to choose this career path? I was originally inspired to join REME as a Vehicle Mechanic due to my fascination with taking things apart and sometimes not so successfully putting them back together. REME has now given me a trade for life. Another deciding factor was that my Grandad also served in REME (he was posted to Cyprus). I didn’t decide to become a PTI until my second posting, where my love for physical fitness grew, enabling me to give my knowledge and experience to others through physical training.

Most people’s exposure to poetry comes from English lessons at school or maybe TV. Has having a poet for a parent changed your relationship to poetry and how you view it? So, like most others, my main exposure to poetry in my early years was due mainly to education within school. I was aware my mother wrote poetry and had seen some of her works within our home. However, in the last few years, especially since my mother became Poet Laureate, I have seen all the great work she has put into poetry and the growth that has had within the community. So although I do not read poetry I can see the positive impact it has on others and strongly encourage anybody to pick up a poem or to draw from some of her works.

Serving in the Military means that we have to often be separated from our family. When you chose to join REME, what was the impact on those relationships? When I chose to join REME I was fully aware of the impact the separation could have on my family and friends. However everyone was 100% behind me and this only gave me the confidence I needed to spend long periods of time away from loved ones.

2020 was a really tough year for everyone, even though we can try to continue ‘as normal’, yet you still ran a Half Marathon while carrying an extra 71lbs. What inspired you to do that? The reason I ran the Half Marathon carrying 71lbs was to try and ‘do my bit’; everyone within the medical sectors were working tirelessly, whilst the majority of the UK were locked down. I had already arranged to do this challenge in the previous year and did not want to quit or cancel when the money would be used for a great cause.

Both you and your mother chose to raise money for The REME Charity in 2020, though you used very different skills to do so. Why did you choose to support The REME Charity? The main reason I choose to support The REME Charity is for the simple fact that if I need any help or support in the future, I believe they will be there for that. So anything I can do to support them I will, especially whilst I’m fit and healthy and able to play my part.

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 37


My Life in REME

Korea Landfall Dinners, Draining Jeeps and Winter Kit Today, the Korean War is often overshadowed by its more famous relative, the Vietnam War. However, for many REME Soldiers and Officers, Korea was a significant point in their service. In the first of a two-part series, Lt Col (Retd) Denis Redmond shares his experience of being posted to Korea, from sailing there through to surviving winter.

I

t began with a posting order to Southampton to board Troopship Empire Orwell the day before official boarding to assume duty as Troop Deck Officer. With no idea what that meant, I was met by a permanent staffer who took me below to view my new command accommodation; rows of double bunks in a claustrophobic steel lined space below the waterline. There were several Troop Deck Officers covering the entire troop accommodation. As I remember, my primary job was to inspect feet, which seemed incongruous to me; we were not marching to Korea. However, looking after a mixed batch of Regiments did not turn out to be too onerous a task. There was nowhere they could stray. I classed it as light duties and was delighted that on the first night the ship’s Officers threw a party to welcome us on board. It was there I met an RAMC Major and two QARANC Nursing Sisters stationed on the ship fulltime. We remained friends throughout the whole trip. Next day I saw my bunch safely into their space, read out travel Standing Orders and left them in the hands of their NCOs. My accommodation, a four-bunk cabin, was partially filled this day with an Army Air Corps Pilot, probably still Glider Pilot Regiment in those days, a Light Infantry Captain and an empty bunk. We got on well. The ship left port the day after with little fuss. I forget which shipping line manned the Orwell, but they were a grand lot. I remember the Chief Engineer. He looked for REME Officers to show them his beloved engines and so it was I spent a whole morning nodding and shouting my admiration down in the bowels among the familiar smell of hot oil and noise of running machinery. It was then I discovered the Orwell had been a Nazi Strength-Through-Joy ship taken as part of German reparations after World War 2 and fitted with new boilers. “Come down any time”, he’d said, but once down there was enough. After a few days we all settled into the ship’s routine. Mostly it was boring and I was glad of the daily visit to my Troop Deck. I could go on about the ship and the trip but that would take a whole book on its own. Enough to mention the highlights, one of

The Japanese hotel

38 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

HMT Empire Orwell which was landfall dinners. There were, of course, Officers’ wives on board, sailing to join their husbands in Aden, Singapore and Hong Kong. They made a pleasant change to the mostly male environment. But I digress. Landfall dinners. A device of the Ship’s Officers. Whenever land was sighted it called for a special dinner, a sort of Dinner Night. I swear they had a man on the bridge with a very powerful telescope whose singular job was to search for land. He came up with it with surprising regularity. Then we broke down off Aden, it was the air-conditioning. Parts had to be flown out from the UK and that held us up for three days; it was hot. From Aden, we progressed to plan, calling at Singapore and Hong Kong on-route, finally docking in Kure in Japan. I was collected from the docks and jeeped to Base Workshop Japan, an Australian unit, where I remained for a few days awaiting transport to Korea and the First Commonwealth Division. After about 30 days on a ship with little escape, land seemed almost alien. That, plus a strange new culture and two new nationalities, Japanese and Australian, might have been tricky to assimilate, but luckily another British REME Officer had been waiting at base for transport. He was starting a second tour for which he had volunteered and he knew his way around. Stuck there over a weekend, Drummond, for that was his name, took us to a traditional Japanese hotel in the hills overlooking Kure. Patterned paper sliding partitions, low, coffee-like tables along with Geishas in traditional dress and makeup made for a surprisingly delightful ambience that I soaked up. Nobuko San, one of the two Geisha, played the samisen, a sort of Japanese guitar and sang strangely discordant songs that seemed completetely right for their surroundings. I was sorry it had to end but end it did. Back at base, movement orders for Drummond and I were waiting: “Take the night ferry to Pusan and then by rail to the railhead.” The train journey was under American control and gave me my first experience of self-heating soup. Pull a tab at the bottom of the can and the soup, or whatever else, heats up. A wonderful innovation, I thought, for use in the field; no need for fires or smoke to give your position away. Maybe we had something of the same but I’d never seen it. At the railhead I was picked up by a jeep bearing REME colours driven by a Craftsman, whose name I have long forgotten, and taken


The LAD

Chotta Matte

there I found myself, attached to 12 Squadron for administrative purposes and with a brand new LAD to work in. 12 Squadron’s Officers’ accommodation consisted of caves excavated out of the hillside, hanging canvas entrance doors, two trestles supporting a stretcher for a bed, all heated by a petrol-fuelled stove. Mine was at one end of a row. I drove a couple of wooden pegs into the soil above my bed and made a shelf for my books. I had been issued with winter kit; inner and outer sleeping bags, masks to cover your face at nights to prevent getting frozen to the sleeping bag and several layers of clothing culminating in a thick Parka with a hanging section for your bum when you sat down. Oh! And boots cold and wet. We nicknamed the boots ‘cobbly wobbly’. Korean winters are very cold. We were not a large LAD. I inherited a jeep with a type 19 radio set in the back, a machinery trailer equipped with lathe, drilling machine and grinder, a Scammell named Chotta Matte, which I was told means ‘wait a minute’ in Korean, a three-ton recovery truck and various other 3 tonners including a 3-ton ammunition truck. We were armed, on a war footing and on war-time accounting. The LAD photo is old and scarred, and my AQMS is not there; he probably took the photo and one or two Craftsmen would have been on R and R in Japan. Otherwise that is a fair representation. Winter was hell. You could be in shirt sleeves at lunch and freezing by four. You dare not go anywhere without your winter kit. Engine oil became so thick engines wouldn’t start. I ran a shift system to run Chotta Matte through the night so in the morning it was available to tow start regimental vehicles. One delight was that on a frosty morning you could step outside before the sun burned off the frost and the air sparkled with brilliant particles. A major nuisance was the large static charge that accumulated on all vehicles in the winter, making refuelling a dangerous business. Vehicles were fitted with earthing chains to drag on the ground or had a spike added to the chain to earth the vehicle during refuelling. You could get a wallop off cab doors if you were not careful. We even heated hand tools to prevent frost burns. The River Imjin froze solid in winter, which led me to manufacture three Ice Yachts with sails provided by 12 Squadron (from where - goodness knows). We had a lot of fun with them. Engineers built me an office with space for me and my Clerk and it was heated by one of the notorious petrol stoves. These stoves were renowned for brewing over, which wasn’t so bad if you were there to deal with it. However, to my embarrassment, one lunch time, my office stove went wonky and set it on fire. The lads tried to extinguish it but when I got back from lunch my office was a smouldering ruin. It was no one’s fault, but I hated it was the LAD. The Engineers had a laugh and gave me a surplus office truck as replacement. The photo is of me on the steps of my new acquisition chatting with the Regimental Medical Officer.

to 12 Infantry Workshop, if I remember correctly. The Workshop was sited, mostly under canvas, on the west bank of a small river. I was introduced to the Officer Commanding, who informed me he didn’t have a job for me; there were simply too many REME Officers in the Division. I could help his 2IC. A prevalent fault out there occurred with the auxiliary gearbox of the Willys Jeep. The standard repair required draining all liquids from the vehicle and the use of many hands to tip it on its side. Access to the gearbox was thus easily obtained. I was amazed to find so many jeeps in this configuration along the bank of the river. It was an interesting few weeks, discovering similar shortcuts in equipment repair developed over years of warfare. It was not to last. My first engineering command came almost by accident. The Engineer Regiment LAD had been found by New Zealand REME. However, with the Panmunjom armistice a certainty, New Zealand began running down its Commonwealth contribution, which included 28 Engineer Regiment LAD. CREME (Lt Col) Good, as I recall, was quick to cobble together a British replacement LAD. Who did he have spare to take command? Yours truly. Commonwealth Divisional Engineers, 28 Engineer Regiment, comprised two British Squadrons and one Canadian. Most units had pulled back from the Kansas Line. Kansas was a well prepared contiguous line of defensive positions that ran from coast to coast and, apart from regular maintenance crews, was unmanned. Thus the Engineers deployed a Canadian Squadron north of the Imjin River and two British Squadrons, to the south on the eastern side of MSR Route 11, sandwiched between two rows of fair-sized hills. (Korea is a very hilly country.) It was Winter in Korea

The office truck

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 39


Extracts from the London Gazette 9 March 2021 REGULAR ARMY The following have been awarded the 2nd Clasp to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) LT COL, A. P. BRANKIN, REME, 24757104 MAJ, P. NOKE, REME, 24678764 MAJ, B. A. SHAW, REME, 24710135 The following have been awarded the 1st Clasp to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) WO1, G. BARKER, REME, 25034781 WO2, G. C. BUNN, REME, 25041243 SGT, M. V. CROSSMAN, REME, 25045543 SGT, S. DONALD, REME, 25039144 CAPT, G. J. GANNON, REME, 25046293 WO1, D. A. L. JONES, REME, 25047982 WO2, M. K. JONES, REME, 25008131 LT COL, A. H. McGREADY, REME, 544367 WO1, M. S. NICOL, REME, 24934312 CAPT, D. J. RITCHIE, REME, 25045544 LT COL, J. J. SAMPSON, REME, 544408 SSGT, M. SPRINGALL, REME, 25044788 The following have been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Military) SGT, S. ALDRIDGE, REME, 25121374 SSGT, J. A. BENT, REME, 563617 LCPL, A. BLAKEMORE, REME, 564065 CPL, D. BOOTH, REME, 564058 SGT, N. BRAXTON, REME, 564046 SGT, G. L. BRYANT, REME, 25065711 SSGT, V. T. BUNJIRA, REME, 565373

SSGT, D. W. FISHER, REME, 25214435 MAJ, T. D. GREEN, REME, 25212608 SSGT, S. J. GREEN, REME, 25212542 SGT, A. P. HARDING, REME, 25210793 MAJ, I. D. HODGKISS, REME, 25209412 SGT, S. R. HUGHES, REME, 563925 SGT, M. A. JEFFERY, REME, 25217104 CPL, A. S. LEWIS, REME, 25215264 CPL, P. LIMBU, REME, 563902 MAJ, C. M. MUMBY, REME, 25215410 SSGT, D. S. NEENAN, REME, 25137642 SGT, D. J. NELSON, REME, 25216753 SGT, L. S. PASLEY, REME, 25212861 CPL, A. S. SEHMI, REME, 25214490 CPL, P. R. SHARP, REME, 25211969 SGT, A. C. A. SKIPPER, REME, 25211736 CPL, D. F. STALLARD, REME, 25210629 SGT, S. STANLEY, REME, 25210474 SSGT, A. J. STAPLES, REME, 25218096 LCPL, A. G. STONE, REME, 25210167 SSGT, D. A. STROUD, REME, 25217614 SSGT, S. G. THOMPSON, REME, 25085205 SGT, A. P. TURVEY, REME, 21169973 SSGT, J. K. WHITFIELD, REME, 25168160

16 MARCH 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Captain R. J. BATEMAN 25087770 from Intermediate Regular Commission (Late Entry) 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 3 May 2016 (substituted for the notification in Gazette (Supplement) dated 16 February 2021) Intermediate Regular Commissions Captain N. R. F. MOOREY 30170157 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 14 April 2020

REME Engineering Development and Research Database

A

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’s 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 that 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.

40 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Please scan the QR code with your phone to take the survey


Captain F. PARKER 30180046 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020 Captain J. K. SHENFIELD 30201477 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 12 August 2020 Captain J. D. A. SIMPKINS 30222442 from Short Service Commission 5 November 2020 to be Captain with seniority 16 April 2019

23 MARCH 2021 REGULAR ARMY Intermediate Regular Commissions P. J. ALLEN 548840 to be Captain (on probation) 1 February 2021 with seniority 1 January 2017 (formerly Army Reserve) N. H. LEE 565310 to be Major (on probation) 1 February 2021 with seniority 31 July 2016 (formerly Army Reserve) ARMY RESERVE The following have been awarded the 4th Clasp to the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal SSGT, K. E. GIBSON, REME, 24633629 SGT, M. HUTTON, REME, 24739940 The following have been awarded the 2nd Clasp to the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal SSGT, R. JOHNSTON, REME, 25128406 SGT, S. J. RISKER, REME, 24827771 SGT, S. E. ROBINSON, REME, W0826488 The following have been awarded the 1st Clasp to the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal MAJ, D. I. SHAW, REME, 526602

30 MARCH 2021 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Lieutenant Colonel H. V. I. PARIS 527744 retires 27 January 2021

Officer Assignments Lieutenant Colonel HALL DE Case Offr 1 SO1 DG Sec Pol JONES MA CO 7 Avn Sp Bn REME SHELLARD AD SO1 ESTE DCTT HQ CRITCHARD G SO1 ES Cap Res D Cap MAITLAND JM DCOS DCTT HQ

01 01 01 04 08

May May May May May

21 21 21 21 21

Major DOUGLAS AM FIELDER CR

SO2 Infra Ops DB&I 01 May 21 SO2 G4 Maint HQ 3 Cdo Bde RM 10 May 21

Captain NEVIN-MAGUIRE CAB SARSFIELD RW SWINGLER EP ATHERTON SC BEAMAN CG DUNCAN SJ HAM CJ KERR RP MERCER M ROWE DJ WRAY CA HUNTER SM BOSWELL SJ HALL CP SIMPKINS JDA

Ops 1 CS Bn REME Ops Officer 5 FS BN REME OC 28 Engr Regt LAD Ops Engr 101 Bn REME QM T 7 Avn Sp Bn REME QM T 6 Armd CS Bn REME 2IC 1 Regt AAC Wksp REME Ops Engr 2 CS Bn REME 2IC 12 Regt RA Wksp REME Ops Engr 103 Bn REME UWO 6 Armd CS Bn REME OC 3 RIFLES LAD REME Trial Eng Offr JADTEU Ops Officer 3 Armd CS Bn REME OC 22 Engr Regt REME LAD

01 May 21 01 May 21 01 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 04 May 21 31 May 21 31 May 21 31 May 21

raja Careers and Employment Support Event *

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Sponsored By

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

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

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

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 41


REME Wakeboarding Association

Calling all Wakeboarders!!!

As of this year, the Corps has established the REME Wakeboarding Association (REME WA). Commencing 23 June 2021, REME WA will be hosting a Grass Roots Training Day for all abilities (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). More details to follow shortly. In the meantime, a Secretary, Treasurer and Social Media reps are required on the Committee of the Association. Anyone who would like to take up one of these roles, in order to drive the sport forward, is urged to get in touch with Capt Rayner ShelmerdineHare (Chairman of REME Wakeboarding Association).

Rayner.Shelmerdine-hare797@mod.gov.uk


Obituaries Former SSgt Brian Hobbs Scribe: SSgt Scott Hughes It is with a heavy heart that I must inform the Corps of the passing of Former SSgt Brian Hobbs, who passed away on 13 October 2020 at the age of 70 from a heart attack. Brian joined the Corps on 4 January 1966, completing basic training at the Army Apprentice College in Arborfield and qualified as a Vehicle Mechanic. His first posting was to Bunde in Germany in 1968 until 1970 serving with 2 Div Regt RCT. From 1970 to 1972, he served with 27 Comd Wksp REME in Warminster before taking up a post with 1 Kings Own Scottish Borderers from 1972 to 1975, serving with them in Edinburgh, Berlin and Northern Ireland. Brian then went to SEME Bordon to attend his Upgrader Course before posting to 1 Fd Wksp in Bielefeld in 1976, until 1979. Numerous postings continued between Germany and the UK until his retirement in March 1990 at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell in the rank of SSgt. Always with a dry wit and sense of humour he was loved and will be missed just as much by friends and family alike. Brian is survived by his wife Anne, sons Alan and Mark, daughters-in-law Hayley and Michelle and four grandchildren. Arte Et Marte.

Major (Retd) William John Dutton MBE Scribe: Maj Nicholas Gould It is with sadness that I inform the Corps of the passing of Bill Dutton aged 95 on 5 November 2020. Bill joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in May 1939 (B) aged 14 and he retired from REME in 1974. During the War, Bill worked on servicing Ack-Ack installations including Binley, Coventry (477 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery Royal Artillery) where he met Corporal Kate Croucher who became the love of his life. Bill went on to land on Gold Beach on D Day and spent the rest of the war in NW Europe. He returned to England in February 1945 to marry Kate. When talking about his experiences on D-Day and the time after, he commented on how strange it was for a young man just 20 to be responsible for some a lot older than him because he was a Regular and they were conscripts. After the war he continued to serve at various Workshops in Germany, before going to Egypt with his family. I don’t know anything about his service there but there are many photographs showing his active interest in sport. Bill served at 9 Infantry Workshop REME, Famagusta, Cyprus 1956 to 1959. It was during this tour that he received the LSGC and was Mentioned in Despatches. On returning to the UK, Bill worked in Chepstow and Retford before going back to Germany and 4 Armoured Workshop in Detmold. In 1967 the family moved to Bovington and in the following year,

Captain Dutton received his MBE, which had been in the 1967 Birthday Honours. Bill left ATDU Bovington in 1972 and went to 93 Vehicle Depot Workshop REME, Ashchurch, his final posting before retirement on 5 November 1974. Following retirement, he worked in Iran, still working for the UK Government until he was forced to leave in 1979. Bill settled down in Shrewsbury where he continued to work as an independent engineer. In fact, he was an engineer all his life, being an early adopter of mobile phones and computers. In his later life, Bill was virtually blind and received much support from Blind Veterans UK, especially their Llandudno Centre, for which his family are truly grateful. Bill died after a short illness with a small funeral service taking place on 17 November, after which his wreath was laid on Shrewsbury War Memorial. He will be greatly missed by his friends and family of three daughters, eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

Former Sgt Walter Stanley Grimsey Scribe: Mark Sargeant, Secretary of Mid-Anglia Branch REME Association I am very sorry to inform the Corps that World War 2 Infantry Veteran and former REME Sergeant ‘Wally’ Grimsey died after a long illness on 10 January 2021 at the age of 96. Wally was from a large family - the eighth of 13 children - and they lived at Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk. The family moved to Boxted, near Colchester when he was eight. He left school at 15 and worked on a fruit farm for three years before he was conscripted into the Royal Scots at the age of 18 in 1943. Wally saw significant action in WW2. Following the Normandy landings he joined his unit in Holland to continue the advance into Germany. In one engagement his squad was hit by artillery fire and Wally was the sole survivor. He was taken to the battlefield Medical Station and bravely volunteered as a Stretcher Bearer, thinking he was fit enough to continue the fight. Sadly, he was not and collapsed due to his wounds soon afterwards and was evacuated to hospital to recover. Once fit, he rejoined a Battalion of Royal Scots in Egypt and finished his Regular Army service in Cyprus prior to being demobbed in 1946. On returning home to Boxted and the fruit farm, he soon joined the MOD as a civilian mechanic with 36 Comd Wksp REME in Colchester, attending night school to increase his qualifications in his trade. This plan was successful and he was promoted to Senior Examiner Vehicle Roadworthiness in the Workshop. Subsequently, he was promoted once again to take charge of 48 Squadron RCT, responsible for maintaining all Colchester Garrison staff cars. Alongside his civilian career, Wally joined REME TA in 1949 and served for 24 years in Colchester with 535 Sqn RCT LAD, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He married Daphne in 1950 and they had two daughters, Sheila and Angela. Sadly, Daphne died in 1991. Wally was a keen gardener, played bowls, was an active Freemason and a long-standing member of the Royal British Legion. He was a

Before submitting an article you are requested to read the guidelines on the inside front cover 43


founder member of the Mid-Anglia Branch of the REME Association and Branch Standard Bearer. Every year he was able to, he visited the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Bergen-OpZoom in Holland to remember his fallen comrades. Wally is survived by his two daughters and grandchildren. He was always a cheerful man and remained so until the end. He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, his comrades from Royal Scots and REME TA, his work colleagues from the Colchester civilian Workshops and of course the wider Corps. Rest in Peace Wally Arte et Marte

Former Sergeant Reginald ‘Reg’ Bower Scribe: Graham A Matthews, Secretary Lincolnshire Branch It is my sad duty to inform the Corps of the passing of Reginald ‘Reg’ Bowers who died on 19 February 2021 at home in Hogsthorpe, aged 98 years. Reg was born on 10 May 1922 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and was one of six siblings born to Doris and Charlie Bower. Reg attended school in Worksop and after leaving started work on the railways. On the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the General Service Corps and then the newly formed Cor ps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After completing his basic training, he was selected for specialist training, from which he was posted to the Far East, where he remained for the war years. Reg never spoke about his service in the Far East but it is known that he served in several countries and at the end of the war was in Burma, having survived injuries and spent some time in field hospitals. He was then seconded to the Indian Army where he remained until 1947. He was given the choice of a transfer to the Australian Army or return to England and discharge - Reg came home. Reg retur ned to civilian employment in Leicester as a Welder and in 1950 met and married Althea. They then moved back to Worksop where their daughter Michelle was born. Reg worked for the CWS Glassworks as a foundryman until he retired in 1986. They then moved to Chapel St Leonards in Lincolnshire. Reg became a member of the Burma Star Association, serving as President for several years. He was also a member of the Royal British Legion, acting as a Welfare Visitor, and was an Associate Member of the Royal Navy Association. On formation of the Lincolnshire Branch of the REME Association in 2001, Reg became a founder member and remained a member up to his demise. In 2011, his wife Althea died and his own health deteriorated. In 2013 he suffered a bad fall that caused him to be less mobile and unable to participate in Association Branch activities. Reg’s condition became progressively worse, making him housebound, and in January 2021 he suffered a further severe fall, breaking his right arm and right leg. When discharged from the Pilgrim Hospital, he returned home, where his daughter Michelle cared for him until, after a long and hard fight, Reg died. Reg was a proud man, a family man and a gentleman. He will be missed but never forgotten. On Wednesday 24 March 2021 at the Alford Crematorium, family and close friends attended a Service of Remembrance and committal where, under COVID-19 restrictions, last respects were paid to Reg. The Corps, Branch President and the Lincolnshire Branch were represented by the Branch Secretary, parading the Branch Standard. The Burma Star Association, with Standard, and the Royal British Legion were also represented. 44 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

Former Sgt Jack Wigley Scribe: Keith Allcock It is with great regret that I have to report the death of former Sgt Jack Wigley on 12 January 2021 aged 83. Jack joined the Army Apprentices School, Arborfield in September 1953 (53B) as an Apprentice Tels Tech. He enjoyed his time at Arborfield and excelled at many sports, in particular boxing, gaining significant recognition, passing out as A/CSM in 1956, when he joined the Corps. He left Arborfield to what he claimed were really mundane posts in Oswestry, Rhyl and Liverpool and despite all his efforts couldn’t find a way out (he said they wanted to retain him for his boxing prowess) and throughout his career he successfully represented the Corps as a welterweight boxer, earning his Corp Colours. His reputation and prowess as a boxer preceded him, wherever he served, earning him the nickname the smiling assassin. Indeed, throughout his life he was never without a smile. Sparked by a letter from his old Apprentice friend, Dave Checker, Jack applied for a PARA course and subsequently passed P Coy. He joined 16 PARA Wksp REME, serving in Cyprus in 1958 and then Jordan. On return from Jordan, he served with the PARA Workshop in Aldershot for the remainder of his service. As an excellent all-round sportsman, Jack also excelled at football a n d i n t h e 1 9 6 3 / 6 4 s e a s o n h e wa s o n e o f t h e 1 6 PA R A Workshop/OFP team that had entered the Army Major Units Football Challenge Cup, a huge undertaking for a minor unit. On 1 Januar y 1964, the Workshop was mobilised on an emergency tour to Cyprus with 1 PARA Battlegroup, many arriving in Cyprus that same afternoon. Two months later the Workshop, changed berets and took on the role of UN Wksp. The OC, Maj (later Maj Gen) Pat Lee agreed to let the football team remain in the UK on the understanding they would join the Workshop in Cyprus if and when they were knocked out of the competition. We never did see them in Cyprus; amazingly the team went on to win the competition with Jack scoring one of the winning goals in the Cup Final. An outstanding result and still the only Minor Unit ever to do so. Jack was a much respected member of the Corps but was first and foremost a family man, deciding to leave the service in late 1964. On leaving, he kept in close contact with the Army, settling in Aldershot. He became an active member and subsequently Welfare Officer of the Aldershot Branch of the Parachute Regiment Association and was a regular attender at the AOBA reunion weekends. Jack Wigley was a larger-than-life character, tough as nails, as many boxing opponents discovered, but he also had a very soft generous centre and was always to the fore to help out when anyone had a problem, however large. Jack was cremated in Aldershot Crematorium on 26 February where the coffin arrived to an Airborne Honour Guard and Standard. We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Mary and their children and families. Jack will be greatly missed and we will be raising many a pint to him at future REME Airborne and AOBA reunions.

YOUR MAGAZINE NEEDS

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. craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

RHQ REME, MOD Lyneham


Death Notices GARDNER – Maj (Retd) Robert Murray Gardner passed away 31 October 2020 aged 81. Dates of service with REME TA 1961-1988. HUTCHINS – Former Pte David John Hutchins passed away 04 January 2021 aged 82. Dates of service 1957-1962. JAYS – Former SSgt Simon Terry Jays (Si or Big Si) passed away 5 March 2021 aged 44. Dates of service 1993-2018. MANN – Former Cpl John Mann passed away 29 March 2021 aged 63. Dates of service 1977-1992. McKEE – Capt (Retd) Ross McKee (Paddy) passed away 17 March 2021 aged 90. Dates of service 1946-1975. MURRAY – Former Cpl Eric Murray passed away 24 February 2021 aged 86. Dates of service 1959-1976. SMITH – Former WO2 Robert (Bob) Douglas Smith passed away 17 March 2021. Dates of service 1964-1986. WADE – Mrs Sheila Wade passed away 21 March 2021 aged 89. Dearly loved wife of Major (Retd) Lance Wade who passed away 12 February 1999 aged 68. WIGLEY – Former Sgt Jack Wigley passed away 12 January 2021 aged 83. Dates of service 1953-1964.

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  benevolence@reme-rhq.org.uk

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.

Select The REME Charity when shopping on Amazon Smile and the charity will receive 0.5% of your purchase amount

The REME Charity The Trustees of The REME Charity acknowledge with sincere thanks the donations received during the month of MARCH 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 In memory of Michael Costanzo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1,010.00 Jewellery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£230.00 Col (Retd) Max Joy OBE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£200.00 In memory of Kelvin Roberts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£145.00 In memory of Ian Giles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£25.00 In memory of Tom (Andrew) Paine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£25.00 Nigel Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£20.00 Paul Colling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 Michael Stanyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£15.00 Sam Melvin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£7.50 Nik Brock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.25 Sue Pearce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Charles Wright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£5.00 Sophie Lofthouse-Read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£2.50 Payroll Giving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£1.94 Total Donations (Mar) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£3,283.19 Total £’s paid in Grants (Mar) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£8,719.10 No. Grants (Mar) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Average Grant (Mar) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£670.70

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

The Corps Communications Team Are you emailing the right person? The Cra�sman Magazine Editor Cra�smanEditor@reme-rhq.org.uk The Digital Media Manager Dawn.Cainey100@learn.mod.uk Change of postal address Subscrip�ons@reme-rhq.org.uk Submissions (Digital and Print) remerhq-comms-groupmailbox@mod.gov.uk Other Communica�ons and Media requests remerhq-comms-groupmailbox@mod.gov.uk

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


The Screwjack Letters – No. 17 Exercise Raven and Slaying Snakes

T

he night passed quietly, and I returned my pistol and ammunition to the Armoury. A few days later we heard that a small number of Indonesians had parachuted into the jungle to the north, but a Gurkha unit had rounded them up. A big Commonwealth Brigade exercise: Ex RAVEN began in July 1964. Our unit, 34 Company Gurkha Army Service Corps (GASC), had to carry out a big lift of Australian Infantry one night in pouring rain. The Aussies climbed aboard and all our 3-ton Bedfords started up well, except one with a misfire. Corporal (later ASM) Cheal investigated but could not trace the problem. I climbed in and saw that the LT wire in the distributor ran high and had a small burn mark below where the rotor arm fed the misfiring plug. I tucked the wire down and the engine ran smoothly. Cpl C put in a new wire and to sardonic cheers from the Aussies in the back, the truck set off in pursuit of the others. Later ‘Q’ Mackenzie called on me to look at a rear axle halfshaft with worn splines. We had no spare shaft anyway and I pronounced it fit to continue, which it did luckily. I had seen worse on my old MG. In Kluang, the Company routine began every day early with the Officers playing a Gurkha team at basketball. I had no skill at this, but the 34 Company team beat an Australian team that year in the Malaya Championships Final. Early in my time there I had made the mistake of going for a run. It was my usual fitness routine in the UK. The climate was too hot for this and when I got back I had to lie in a cold bath to recover. I now had to get wheels. I bought a 1954 Triumph TR2 in Singapore and had a basketwork cradle made in Kluang to fit behind the seats for our first baby daughter, Jackie, when Gill arrived with her in late April. I preferred the TR2 to the Austin Healey 100 I had in the UK. We now had a married quarter in a street of wooden buildings known unofficially as the ‘rabbit hutches’ in a street called Jalan Dorset. We could then have waited to be allocated a bigger, more substantial building but decided we were quite happy there. Each of these quarters had two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, a car port, a garden and

a small quarter for a servant or ‘amah’. I hired an excellent Chinese amah called Tan. We also shared the use of a ‘kebun’ (gardener). The going rate was 120-140 Malay dollars a month for the amah and 25 a month for a shared kebun. There were eight dollars to the pound at the time. When Jackie insisted on sharing Tan’s food, we paid Tan an extra allowance. The Kebun only had to keep the lawn grass short to deter snakes. A snake did, however, take up residence under a large stone in the garden. I had an Army Officer’s sword, on which I had sharpened the outer blade to cut our wedding cake two years earlier, so I killed the snake with it as it raised its head and hissed at me. Other units in Kluang Garrison included 656 Squadron AAC and the Gurkha Engineers. Then the 1st/7th Gurkha Rifles and Gurkha Brigade HQ arrived and their British Officers took over our Mess building. We Garrison Mess members moved to some very pleasant wooden buildings closer to our unit. The 1st/7th and HQ Officers began to refer to 34 Company GASC as the “Gas Company”. In an overheard conversation with the Garrison Adjutant, our Officers and Ken Mobbs were described as “office boys and garage mechanics”. I don’t know about our “office boys”, but Henry Royce used to sign himself ‘H.Royce, mechanic’, so I was flattered to hear of this accolade. Screwjack, mechanic

REME 2021 CALENDAR We need YOUR photographs! £250 PRIZE FOR BEST SHOTS We need photographs of your unit on operations, in barracks, on exercise, adventurous training or participating in sport from the last 12 months. Send your high-resolution JPEG photographs (minimum 1MB) with accompanying captions to CraftsmanEditor@reme-rhq.org.uk

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 1 OCTOBER 2021 46 craftsmaneditor@reme-rhq.org.uk


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

M AY 2 0 2 1

AUGUST 2021

JUNE 2021

26

17

REME Institution Beating Retreat and Garrison Cocktail Party cancelled

J U LY 2 0 2 1 3

10

REME Institution Corps Ball postponed to summer 2022 REME Reserves Management Board, Portsmouth.

Corps WOs & Sgts Mess Summer Dinner Night

SEPTEMBER 2021 9

Corps Dinner Night

OCTOBER 2021 9

Reserves Management board To be rescheduled

9-10

Reserves Conference

21

Corps Autumn Guest Night

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


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

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

Profile for Official_REME

Craftsman Magazine - May 2021  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded