THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY JOURNAL
The Household Cavalry Journal Incorporating The Acorn and The Blue and Royal No. 14 2005/6 Editor: Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) JS Olivier, The Blues and Royals. Section Editors: Major SC Tomes, The Blues and Royals Major MPJG Rees-Davies, The Life Guards
Colonel in Chief Her Majesty The Queen Colonel of The Life Guards and Gold Stick : General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE Colonel of The Blues and Royals and Gold Stick:
HRH The Princess Royal KG, KT, GCVO, QSO
Commander Household Cavalry and Silver Stick:
Colonel PJ Tabor MVO, The Blues and Royals
Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Regiment:
Lieutenant Colonel EA Smyth-Osbourne, The Life Guards
Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment:
Lieutenant Colonel GV de la F Woyka, The Blues and Royals
The Life Guards Battle Honours Dettingen Peninsula Waterloo Tel el Kebir Egypt (1882) Relief of Kimberley Paardeberg South Africa (1899-1900) Mons Le Cateau Retreat from Mons Marne (1914) Aisne (1914) ArmentiĂ¨res (1914)
Messines (1914) Ypres (1914) Langemarck (1914) Gheluvelt Nonne Bosschen St Julien Frezenberg Ypres (1915) Somme (1916) Albert (1916) Scarpe (1917) (1918) Broodseinde Poelcappelle Passchendaele
Bapaume (1918) Arras (1917) Ypres (1917) Arras (1918) Hindenburg Line Epehy St Quentin Canal Beaurevoir Cambrai (1918) Selle Somme (1918) France and Flanders (1914-18) Mont Pincon
Souleuvre Noireau Crossing Amiens (1944) Brussels Neerpelt Nederrijn Nijmegen Lingen Bentheim North West Europe (1944-1945) Baghdad (1941) Iraq (1941) Palmyra
Syria (1941) El Alamein North Africa (1942-1943) Arezzo Advance to Florence Gothic Line Italy (1944) Gulf (1991) Wadi al Batin Iraq (2003)
The Blues and Royals Battle Honours Tangier (1662-1680) Dettingen Warburg Beaumont Willems Fuentes dâ€™Onor Peninsula Waterloo Balaklava Sevastopol Tel el Kebir Egypt (1882) Relief of Kimberley Paardeberg Relief of Ladysmith South Africa (1899-1902)
Mons Le Cateau Retreat from Mons Marne (1914) Aisne (1914) Messines (1914) Armentieres (1914) Ypres (1914) Langemarck (1914) Gheluvelt Nonne Bosschen St Julien Ypres (1915) Frezenberg Loos Arras (1917)
Scarpe (1917) Ypres (1917) Broodseinde Poelcappelle Passchendaele Somme (1918) St Quentin Avre Amiens Hindenburg Line Beaurevoir Cambrai (1918) Sambre Pursuit to Mons France and Flanders (1914-1918)
Mont Pincon Souleuvre, Noireau Crossing Amiens (1944) Brussels Neerpelt Nederrijn Lingen Veghel Nijmegen Rhine Bentheim North West Europe (1944-1945) Baghdad (1941) Iraq (1941) Palmyra
Syria (1941) Msus Gazala Knightsbridge Defence of Alamein Line El Alamein El Agheila Advance on Tripoli North Africa (1941-1943) Sicily (1943) Arezzo Advance to Florence Gothic Line Italy (1943-1944) Falkland Islands (1982) Iraq (2003)
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Contents Preface by The Commander Household Cavalry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Household Cavalry Regiment Foreword by the Commanding Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Diary of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 A Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 B Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 C Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 D Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Headquarters Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Quartermaster’s Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Quartermaster Technical Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Motor Transport Troop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Light Aid Detachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 The Band of The Life Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Catering Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Foreword by the Commanding Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Diary of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 The Life Guards Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 The Blues and Royals Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Headquarters Squadron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Quartermaster’s Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Medical Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Forge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Pages 53 - 87 Ocean Guardsman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Notes from the Desert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Cambrian Patrol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 A Balkan Excursion, or Home for Christmas? . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Exercise IRON HORSE 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Stable Refurbishment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 The Royal Visit of The King and Queen of Norway . . . . . . . 73 Exercise COMMON GROUND 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Cockney Maple 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Household Cavalry Sports Round-Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
News from the Associations The Life Guards Association Annual Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Minutes of the 71st AGM of The Life Guards Association . .88 The Life Guards Association and Charitable Trust . . . . . . . . 89 The Life Guards Association Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 The Life Guards Association Regional Representatives . . . . 92 The Blues and Royals Association Annual Report . . . . . . . . . 93 The Blues and Royals Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Minutes of the AGM of The Blues and Royals Association . 94 The Blues and Royals Area Representatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 The Household Cavalry Museum Development Project . . . . . 96 Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Obituaries - The Life Guards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Obituaries - The Blues and Royals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Notices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 1 HCR and 2 HCR Reunion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Household Cavalry Associations North East Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 North Staffordshire Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Aden Veterans’ Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Dorset Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Household Cavalry (East Anglian) Dining Club . . . . . . . . . 114 1st Household Cavalry Regiment Celebration Lunch . . . . . 114 Formation of The Blues and Royals Band Association . . . . 115 Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Back Cover: Trumpeters and Drum Horses at Beating Retreat.
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Pages 88 - 124
Nominal Rolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Front Cover: Household Cavalry Regiment.
Pages 30 - 52
AGC (SPS) Detachment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Musical Ride 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 The Band of The Blues and Royals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Household Cavalry Training Wing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Winter Training Troop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Equitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Household Cavalry Recruiters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Household Cavalry News Laying up of Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Freedom of Windsor and Bosnia Medal Parades . . . . . . . . . . 53 Exercise SUMAN WARRIOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Tales from a Damaged Country . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 The Trans 333 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Forward Air Controlling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Exercise LONG LOOK 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Swiss Raid Commando 2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Northern Ireland Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Trekking and Aid Work in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Exercise COCKNEY BLUECOAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Pages 5 - 29
Preface By Colonel P J Tabor MVO, The Blues and Royals Commander Household Cavalry am delighted to be writing as Commander Household Cavalry, an appointment I assumed in May 2005 from Colonel H P D Massey, the longest-serving incumbent of this post. We are all indebted to him for the way in which he has guided the Household Cavalry through some difficult and turbulent times. I am particularly grateful for his wise counsel during our handover. I wish him good fortune in his new career with the Ironmongers’ Company.
The Household Cavalry Journal should reflect the views and experiences not only of the serving members of both Regiments but also, as importantly, of retired members of the Associations without whose unswerving support it would not be published at all. First, therefore, I would like to record my sincere thanks to all the Journal’s loyal supporters. Second, we in the serving community would do well to remember that of the 6,000 copies of the Journal, only about a sixth are for serving members – the rest go to the Associations. So, I take very seriously the views of the whole family. No regimental magazine can hope to remain unchanged forever. The present layout has served us well for over a decade, but we will look carefully at how to improve the presentation, reach out to more of our readers and involve all Household Cavalrymen, past and present in our ‘Annual Report to the shareholders’. I welcome comments on style, layout and content. If you have something to contribute – a story, memoirs, photographs or letters – please share them with us. I cannot promise to include everything received, but whatever you provide will be valued. Serving Household Cavalrymen have as much to learn from their forebears as I hope those who have retired learn about what serving members are up to from the pages of the Journal. Let us hear about Malaya, Aden, Cyprus, Germany, Windsor and Knightsbridge and any other theatre in which you might have served. I also promise that, wherever possible, we will avoid lists of acronyms and use of jargon which are an Army disease – and probably always were. Now to news of the Household Cavalry family. First, recruiting: we are not as
well recruited as we should be. While the Mounted Regiment is in a reasonably healthy state, the Household Cavalry Regiment is about 60 below strength. Things are looking up and the Recruiting Team, under the able leadership of Captain M R Kitching LG, has done wonders in the last six months. Although we are filling all our places at the Army Training Regiment (Pirbright) and the Army Foundation College (Harrogate), we must keep up the momentum. I aim to fill both Regiments by the end of 2007 - earlier if possible. What we have to offer young men is incomparably different from other regiments and corps. I would ask for the active support of all retired and serving members of the Household Cavalry in recruiting high quality soldiers to sustain the Regiments into the future. You know what we need; now we must go out and get it.
The Household Cavalry Regiment in Windsor has had another mobile year and acquitted itself outstandingly well. From furnishing the Opposing Force at the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada in the middle of last year to keeping 19 Brigade firmly on its toes on a major exercise on Salisbury Plain in the autumn, the Regiment has maintained its position as the Army’s most capable formation reconnaissance regiment. D Squadron is undergoing training before heading to Afghanistan where they will operate in Helmand Province about which much has been reported in the media. Further out, most of the rest of the Regiment will be deployed to Iraq from June 2007 as part of Operation TELIC. I know that our thoughts will be with all those of the Regiment in whatever theatre they find themselves. The long awaited rebuild of the single living accommodation in
Household Cavalry Regiment
Combermere Barracks is well underway and should be complete towards the end of the year. The sharper among our readers will have noticed that the Regimental ‘handles’ attached to the squadrons at Windsor have disappeared. It became increasingly unreasonable to call a squadron ‘B Squadron, The Life Guards’ if the ratio of Life Guard Non-Commissioned Officers and Troopers to Blues and Royals in the same squadron was roughly equal. The converse was true. D Squadron, The Blues and Royals on Operation TELIC 1, was commanded by a Life Guards Officer and had twenty-five Life Guards in its ranks. Consequently both Regiments have recently been granted the right to the Theatre Honour Iraq 2003, which will be emblazoned on their Standards, and the Battle Honour Al Basrah.
Household Cavalry’s reputation. In the high quality of their music and in their magnificent appearance on parade, the Household Cavalry is particularly blessed in its Bands, and long may it continue.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment has been as busy as usual. The ceremonial season starts considerably earlier nowadays as there is almost always a state visit in early March which affects the time horses spend out at grass and necessitates a much more rapid preparation period in the lead up to it and to the Major General’s Inspection. There is an increasingly high turnover of soldiers at Hyde Park Barracks with the consequent lack of experience around horses that brings. Nonetheless, the Regiment consistently maintains the highest standards in its relentlessly high-profile role. The standard achieved on last year’s Queen’s Birthday Parade was commented on very favourably by Her Majesty. The VE/VJ celebrations saw a Captain’s Escort to take The Queen to Horse Guards. A Royal Visit for The King and Queen of Norway and a State Visit for the President of China rounded off a frantic year. The Regiment also stood by to deploy in support of the emergency services on 7th July after the first wave of London bombings.
It would be invidious to single out individuals as so many are achieving so much. But I intend to mention three: first, I would like to congratulate Captain R J Carney RHG/D for being appointed MBE in the recent New Year’s Honours List – a rare acknowledgement of what is being done every day by so many; and second, we are very lucky to have two serving senior officers: Major General W R Rollo is Assistant Chief of the General Staff in the Ministry of Defence, and Major General B W B White-Spunner is Chief of Staff in Headquarters Land Command in Wilton. These are highly influential appointments, and we should count ourselves particularly fortunate and proud that they are both there.
I would like to pay particular tribute to our two Bands. As the number of military bands decreases, we should be delighted that neither The Band of The Life Guards nor The Band of The Blues and Royals was affected in the latest round of cuts and amalgamations. We are fortunate that we can still count our Bands as our own, whereas many regiments have connections only to a corps band. It is crucially important that we continue to treat them as vital parts of the Regimental families. The effect of eight State Trumpeters and a timpanist at the Banquets in the Guildhall is extraordinary and enhances the
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A frequently over-looked but key constituency is those serving extra-Regimentally. These ambassadors for the Household Cavalry bring enormous good to our two Regiments by demonstrating to the Army, training establishments, the TA, Cadets and University Officer Training Corps the exceptionally high standard of all Household Cavalrymen not only at home but out and about. Household Cavalrymen are doing tremendously good things from Hereford to Pirbright and from Paderborn to Belfast and many other places besides.
The Museum project has achieved a notable mile stone. At last, we have raised, had pledged or secured loans sufficient to convince the Heritage Lottery Fund that we have ‘matched’ their grant of just under £2 million. A large slice of this money is due to the extraordinary success of the Household Cavalry Carol Concert which took place on 15th December in the Guards Chapel and raised about £140,000. Building work will start in June at the new site at Horse Guards. The outcome of this tremendously exciting project will be a museum for the 21st Century, right in the middle of London, displaying to the world the finest aspects of our professionalism and history. Not only will our Museum be one of the ‘must visit’ sites in London but it will bring significant benefit; profits will go to the Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund for disbursement to the Associations and to serving soldiers in both Regiments.
Late 2005 saw the extremely successful eight part television series, The Queen’s Cavalry which went out on BBC 1 at prime time on Thursdays. To everyone’s delight, it attracted weekly audiences of over six million. This series, in which the two Regiments were intimately involved, has been of inestimable value in terms of educating the public and in alerting young people to the magnificent careers we offer. Across the Army, it is seen as one of the most positive programmes of recent years. The Household Cavalry website will be reviewed to see how it might be improved. I think it needs to be more immediate, easier to navigate and more appealing. In the future, I see all the items that we will offer in the Museum being sold on the internet. Further out, all the Household Cavalry archives, photographs and regimental journals from the existing Museum should be available digitally. I welcome ideas about how to progress. What of the future? The Household Cavalry is in good health. The pressures of modern soldiering are very different from those in the past, and the young soldiers of today have a very rapid tempo of activity either ceremonially in London or deploying on operations from Windsor. It is these officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers who are working fantastically hard and upholding all that is good about the Household Cavalry. Recruiting is improving, and we are looking forward to full manning. Our Museum project is at last gathering momentum. 2007 will bring further challenges, but I have no doubt that your Regiments will be equal to them.
Household Cavalry Regiment Foreword by Lieutenant Colonel E A Smyth-Osbourne, The Life Guards Commanding Officer, The Household Cavalry Regiment 005 has been characterized by internal change and the provision of OPFOR (Enemy forces) on both sides of the Pond. In operational terms we have been left fallow, but usefully, and the relative stability has paid dividends. There have been opportunities too: 2 Troop C Squadron deployed to South Armagh in support of 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers and acquitted themselves with real distinction, and a handful of individuals have deployed to Iraq and the Balkans.
The advent of Future Army Structures (more commonly known as FAS) heralded the reincarnation of a Command and Support Squadron and has removed coherent squadron identities at the Windsor Regiment (with 3 symmetrical sabre squadrons and one bespoke squadron), a change that had largely already occurred through pragmatism over the last few years. That said, the formal establishment of additional manpower in an increasingly tight financial climate has been critical to allow us to retain operational viability and sustain the Mounted Regiment. And the reincarnation of niche capabilities – surveillance troops, forward air controllers and nuclear, biological and chemical expertise has made the formation reconnaissance fraternity increasingly employable as we bed into the deployable brigades. So, as ever, change represents the proverbial curate’s egg but with more good than bad for us. Deployment to Canada was, as always, fun and rewarding. Suffield remains the best permanent Army training area and we benefit from a stable political regime, 35 years of investment and access to state of the art instrumentation all of which translate into 21st Century objective training. Although the provision of OPFOR aka the enemy is pejoratively described as training support, there is a caché and freedom to the role that makes it hugely enjoyable, particularly when you do it well and keep the battle groups on the hop! And the time off the Prairie is well orchestrated too. Adventure abounds, and every soldier had the opportunity to explore the
Rockies from the somewhat spartan base at Trail’s End Camp – ski touring, walking, climbing, white water rafting, parachuting, horse trailing and mountain biking - as well as taking some well-earned Rest & Recuperation. Returning to Salisbury Plain as the OPFOR once more, this time for 3 Division to help prepare the NATO Reaction Force for contingent operations, we lacked many of the fringe benefits of Canada, but from a purely professional perspective, the Regiment flourished, armed no doubt with recent experience and a determination not to
be outdone. And the exercise proved a salutary opportunity as we prepared to join the Division and 1 Mechanised Brigade. So we end the year on a high with opportunity in our sights. As I write, D Squadron is preparing to deploy (in its customary pathfinding role) to Southern Afghanistan and the battle group has started training for operations in 2007. But this is an opportunity for reflection, and we can look back with pride on a year well spent in the knowledge that there is much spice and vari-
Household Cavalry Regiment
Diary of Events he Regiment returned to work after Christmas and post tour leave, looking forward to the BATUS OPFOR (enemy in Suffield, Canada) commitment, which was to dominate the middle part of the year. Before BATUS training commenced, the Regiment held two Junior NCO cadre courses back to back. There was a new CVR(T) mounted phase, introducing potential crew commanders to the skills of armoured reconnaissance. The second cadre course had the honour of being filmed by Lion TV, who were making the television programme The Queenâ€™s Cavalry, which was aired later in the year. An inter-squadron boxing tournament was held in February.
February also saw the start of the training package for BATUS OPFOR duties. Drivers had to convert from the newer diesel engines in Windsor back to the petrol engines of the Salamander and Sturgeon CVR(T) variants that are used for OPFOR in Canada. The activation party departed for Canada at the end of February. The main body deployed in late March for Suffield, leaving a small part of B Squadron to cover the rear party and the Airborne Task Force liability for 16 Air Assault Brigade. The first 6 weeks in BATUS were spent learning OPFOR tactics and manoeuvres, which are quite different from those normally undertaken by formation reconnaissance. There were
Maj Fullerton with 1 Mech Bde on Ex NORDIC SHIELD.
two Medicine Man Exercises: one fought against the Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group and the second against 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Our time in Canada was not all spent on the prairie and there were 537 places on adventure
The Team at Jadex Junction Two
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training courses taken over the season. At the end of the second exercise, Lieutenant Colonel E A Smyth-Osbourne LG assumed command from Lieutenant Colonel C B B Clee RHG/D. We returned to Windsor at the end of July, ready for three weeks of summer leave. A troop from C Squadron deployed to Northern Ireland for six months to support 1st Bat-
The RCM, Operations Officer, Regimental Administration Officer and Adjutant enjoying the prairie
The Adjutant needing to dry off after a parade.
talion the Royal Welch Fusiliers. B Squadron started the conversion to a command and support squadron, one of the changes wrought under Future Army Structures. Instead of being equipped with gun, guided missile and support troops, the squadron has a surveillance troop of six Spartans, a smaller squadron headquarters, a forward air controllers cell (TACP), a specialist liaison team (SLT) to work at brigade headquarters and an NBC troop, which will be manned by the Yeomanry. It also took over Command Troop from HQ Squadron.
NORDIC SHIELD, as part of the 1st Mechanised Brigade Land Component Force. In December, the Guided Weapons Troops deployed to Otterburn to fire their annual allocation of missiles. Whilst all this was going on, D Squadron exercised with 16 Air Assault Brigade on Ex EAGLEâ€™S FLIGHT, in preparation for possible deployment to Afghanistan in 2006.
Deployment to Castlemartin Ranges in West Wales occurred in early September. The three week package allowed all the
squadrons to get through annual section tests, as well as put the majority of individuals through their individual training directives (ITDs). There then followed a third JNCO Cadre Course run by D Squadron. The rest of the Regiment prepared to do battle once again as the enemy, this time against 19 Light Brigade on Ex LOYAL LEDGER. For HCR, the exercise took place mostly on Salisbury Plain, both in the mounted and dismounted roles, with companies from the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (DDLI) under command. At the same time, a team took part in the Cambrian Patrol competition. In late November, a command team headed up by the Second in Command departed to Norway on Ex
The end of the year saw HCR leave the command of 1st (United Kingdom) Reconnaissance Brigade and come under command of 1st Mechanised Brigade in Tidworth.
The Glorious 634 Motor Rifle Battalion, OPFOR, BATUS 2005
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A Squadron e started the year in a most undignified hurry with a spate of trade and career courses, which we had missed out on the previous year. Thus, the younger soldiers spent the first couple of months concentrating on Gunnery, Driving and Signals. The remainder got down to some serious fitness training in order to remove the excesses of the Christmas holidays and Post Operational Tour Leave. The Boxing Squad was also formed under the skilled leadership of CoH Griffiths and CoH Forsdick and included Lieutenant W A McCarter RHG/D who was the only officer to take part. The team did remarkably well and were the clear winners in the Inter-Squadron Competition; LCpl Edwards, LCpl Griffiths, LCpl Hanson, LCpl Stevenson and Tpr Mills all won their fights in the final. Unfortunately Lieutenant McCarter did not get past the preliminaries! Still, it was a great victory for A Squadron.
After the first couple of months, the Squadron started to gear up for the BATUS Opposing Force (OPFOR) commitment in Canada with an initial exercise in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Warminster. This was a novel experience for all because we were put in Warrior Simulators with the computer depicting us as Russian T80 tanks! Using this facility we started to practise our OPFOR tactics and drills. These did not really pose a serious problem, but fighting the simulators certainly did. You only had to remove your head from the sight albeit briefly to become totally disorientated! To make matters worse, the after action review
invariably highlighted your vehicle disappearing in the opposite direction to the remainder of the Squadron! A little embarrassing for the Squadron Leader! Thankfully, LCoH Jones proved to be an excellent navigator and led the Squadron accurately to all the objectives. It was during our time in CATT that we welcomed to the Squadron, Captain Benoit Estour, from the French Army, who assumed the position of Squadron 2IC for BATUS. Captain N G Bacon LG was sent ahead to become a member of the BATUS Safety Staff. The Squadronâ€™s task in BATUS was to become Tank Company 2 made up of 10 Salamanders (modelled on Soviet MBTs) and 31 soldiers. The rest of the Squadron reinforced the other Companies or remained in the UK under the inspired leadership of SCpl Overton and CoH Fearnley. The Squadron deployed to BATUS after Easter leave, although not without the usual on/off aeroplane complications courtesy of the RAF! The Activation Party under CoH Hitchings had done a superb job and the Squadron was able to complete the first exercise with only minor problems, although LCoH Fitzgerald almost rolled his Salamander on the way back into Camp when he sheared a rear idler at 40 kph! The exercise was dominated by the weather, which was very cold and snowy! This did not prevent the Squadron Leader and LCpl Light from becoming the first Top Guns, which no one has been allowed to forget! The exercise itself was a good run out allowing all the crews to get to grips with fighting with the simulated gunnery equipment and maintaining the Salamanders, which are based on Scorpion chassis. During the gap before the first battle against the Royal Fusiliers, various
Household Cavalry Regiment
CoH Goddard happy in SHQ.
trips took place with 1 Troop going to Edmonton and 2 Troop to Calgary. SHQ went adventure training and were pretty cold throughout, although LCpl Light seemed to take a bizarre pleasure in capsizing in the coldest possible water. We then took to the field to face the Royal Fusiliers fighting some gallant battles against their two Scots Dragoon Guards squadrons. Tank Company 2 prevailed over all opposition and was rewarded in the final mission by becoming civpop. Lieutenant M J Harley LG led a band of wailing and screaming civilians who managed to disrupt all coordinated military action much to the disgust of the Fusiliers. They were however much more upset by LCpl Thornton who engaged half a dozen times from behind them before they finally twigged what was going on. Some other highlights included LCpl Shaw and his Land Rover Crew storming an infantry position in a classic Sweeney-type manoeuvre, doors open and guns blazing. Lieutenant McCarterâ€™s troop became experts at stalking Challengers at night, giving
Maj Goodwin-Hudson and Lt Cork need to be told where they are by
the thermally equipped battle group a shock and earning the epithet “night crawlers”! In between the two exercises, the Squadron disappeared to the four winds travelling around North America and going adventure training. The Squadron officers went to Las Vegas where Lieutenant T B Eastwood’s gambling habits were kept in check and Lieutenant McCarter’s cruising skills were much admired! The SNCOs travelled in somewhat more style in a large Winnebago and were very pleased to be mistaken for a touring Rock Band!! The remainder managed to get as far afield as Miami, Mexico and Toronto. Both the troops also went adventure training at Trail’s End Camp and all thoroughly enjoyed it, experiencing such delights as white water rafting, trekking, kayaking, glacier walking and skiing.
Maj Fullerton and Maj Goodwin Hudson.
Captain E J Bond, Lieutenant A Galloway and SCpl Overton and welcoming Major M P Goodwin-Hudson, Captain N G Bacon, 2nd Lieutenant M J Harley, Cornet the Marquis of Bowmont, 2nd Lieutenant J M Cork and SCpl Brown. On return from leave, the Squadron was straight into the Gunnery Wing in preparation for Castlemartin. Castlemartin was a great success. The Squadron achieved an 86% pass rate at the first attempt in the Annual Crew Test, over 50% at level 6, and 100% first time passes at the Annual Section Tests. In addition, an excellent live firing exercise was completed. Equally impressive was SCpl Brown’s burger bar, the “VIP Burger” proving to be a great hit with the new Commanding Officer.
The second exercise took much the same format as the first and, not surprisingly, the Scots Dragoon Guards did a little better than the Fusiliers. We, too, had improved so they had their work cut out. The highlights of this exercise were again found in the village when LCpl Abbot and Tpr Wilkinson dressed up as a pantomime horse and managed to prevent a company of infantry from crossing the river! The battle itself was very successful and saw us delaying a Squadron Company Group for 4 hours with 10 men and 1 Tank. In the end, the attackers prevailed but with only 9 men left alive! LCpl Light was delighted to claim the scalps of the Commanding Officer and RSM of the HIGHLANDERS who he shot in the back! In the tanks, both platoons did well with Lieutenant McCarter and LCoH Fitzgerald destroying a Challenger Squadron on their own.
Exercise LOYAL LEDGER on Salisbury Plain was the final exercise of the year. Again, the Squadron was tasked as a vehicle-borne OPFOR in Scimitars to assist 19 Light Brigade’s training for Iraq. The previous period in BATUS proved its worth and the Squadron had a fine exercise. The Squadron 2IC, Captain Bacon, took on the role of the Forward Observation Officer and was highly successful. Indeed, never before has offensive support been used to destroy so many of the enemy with quite such precision and élan. SCM Gaddes showed an insatiable appetite for engaging the enemy, and was only persuaded to part with his CVR(T) as long as he could conduct dismounted street to street fighting in the intense battles for Copehill Down Village. The Squadron was equally enthusiastic in the unconventional role. LCoH Chinn and others, spent a night terrorising the Royal Green Jackets recce patrols, dressed as Iraqi insurgents chasing them across the Plain in a pair of Nissan “sports cars”.
On return from BATUS, the work continued apace. The week before leave was occupied with vehicle take-overs and reordering the orbat. This included saying a sad farewell to Major J D A Gaselee,
The finale was the defence of Copehill Down against a brigade night attack. The Commanding Officer, with the help of Cornet Bowmont’s troop, successfully deceived the enemy into deploying at
least two of its companies to march through the night to assault Imber, only to find the village long since deserted. As the brigade prepared their assault, the remainder of the Squadron slipped out of Copehill Down, punching its way through the brigade forward elements before breaking clean, and disappearing to hide as ordered by the Commanding Officer “under the light” within a short strike of brigade HQ. The Squadron then re-emerged to attack the brigade just as its lead elements were crossing the Line of Departure (Start Line). The first to be destroyed were sixteen Warriors, idly parked on the edge of a wood line. The effect was to confuse and disrupt rather than delay and we spent the rest of the night in and out of contact, circling, bouncing and wearing down the brigade as it tried to echelon its forces into Copehill Down village. It was great fun and, personally, I was little put out when the final whistle blew and we had to end the exercise. It had been a successful final exercise, and we returned triumphant to Combermere, just in time for Lieutenant McCarter to change into boots and breeches and start his riding course. Before going on Christmas leave, the Squadron went up to London and hired the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill for a private viewing. The Squadron Leader wanted to watch The Eagle Has Landed, a good training film, but Al Pacino’s film Carlito’s Way won the day and proved very popular with the more sophisticated members of the Squadron. There then followed a late night in the bars of the Portobello Road, and an early start the next morning in order to end the year with a Regimental bergan run in Windsor Great Park. The Squadron looks forward to an interesting year in 2006 as the Regiment joins 1st Mechanised Brigade and converts to the BOWMAN communications system.
Household Cavalry Regiment
B Squadron Squadron started the year as a fully formed sabre squadron just back from operations in Iraq on Op TELIC IV and has ended it as a newly formed command and support squadron. This has been a significant process and has seen the squadron being re-rolled as part of the changes instigated as a result of the Future Army Structures (FAS) review. Whilst the core of the squadron remains much the same and our life in barracks mimics that of the other squadrons, our size and likely tasks on operations have changed considerably.
Command and support squadrons now sit in all five of the regular reconnaissance regiments. They have been created to provide capabilities seen as vital within the formation reconnaissance battle groups. Formation reconnaissance regiments have now all been assigned to the various manoeuvre brigades. We will provide the deployable element to support the brigade Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) cell. The ISTAR cell seeks to bring together all the various information gathering assets available to the brigade commander. The doctrine is in its infancy, but the initial feeling is one of excitement that we are filling a need. The Squadron is now made up of a number of diverse parts. Most of the manpower is in two main troops: the first is Command Troop which still provides the backbone of battle group headquarters when deployed; the second is a new troop, Surveillance Troop. This has been formed to provide more accurate ‘cueing’ of weapon systems such as helicopters, artillery and jets and also to provide more ‘overwatch’ for the sabre squadrons and is equipped with MSTAR radars. So far, we have two complete radar systems and some individuals have been trained to use them. HCR is also strengthening its capability to do more less technical surveillance; we are training the troop to be specialists in static covert surveillance. Ultimately, we should have a highly competent and versatile troop capable of operating in every part of the spectrum of conflict. The Squadron is also home to a number of smaller elements. We have a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) which enables the Commanding Officer to plan offensive air support more effectively from within his own resources. Manned by Lieutenant B C De Goede LG and
Household Cavalry Regiment
The B Sqn TELIC team, in the new year, back at Windsor.
CoH Fry, they are both detached to 16 Air Assault Brigade and undergoing training for deployment to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK. A second element is the Specialist Liaison Team (SLT), a single vehicle with a senior captain who provides the link between battle group HQ and brigade. This is located with the brigade headquarters and provides the brigade commander with direct liaison to the battle group. It also assists significantly in running the brigade ISTAR cell, which is growing in importance and having to handle more and more information as operations become increasingly complex. But what of the year itself? The change around has come at the end of a highly varied and sometimes somewhat bitty year. As with all good deployments, the main effort soon switches on one’s return, and we were told that we were going to be the core of the rear party whilst the rest of the Regiment deployed to Canada as the OPFOR in BATUS. Early on, the SQMC, SCpl Fortune RHG/D, went on promotion to be SCM of The Blues and Royals Mounted Squadron and handed over to SCpl
Galvin LG on return from the Gunnery School. CoH Elliot left, also on promotion, to be the Tech SCpl, and CoH Blackburn left to become one of the Army TACPs. Our first task on return was to run a JNCO cadre. The Sqn 2IC, Captain T J Armitage LG, soon had this in order and two extremely productive cadres were set in place. The weather on Dartmoor conspired against us on the first cadre, which resulted in having, unfortunately, to call out rescue helicopter to remove an injured soldier. The weather was so bad that the helicopter was unable to land, and the casualty had to be carried out. It was certainly a salutary lesson to all of the values and skills taught on the cadre and a timely reminder that technology will not always come to the rescue. It proved that basic soldiering grit and determination are resources we ignore cultivating at our peril. There was also time for some adventure training, and we managed to send fifteen officers and soldiers skiing in March - a separate article appears elsewhere in this magazine. This was organised by Cap-
LCpl King finding a novel use for the rearview mirror arm.
tain Armitage and was extremely successful. Comparatively straightforward to arrange, it proved that, with a bit of dedication and hard work, opportunities still exist in the modern army for adventurous fun. We also had an extremely successful battlefield tour to Normandy, organised by Captain T J Archer-Burton RHG/D and following the route of 2 HCR through Normandy. We were lucky to have a professional historian with us who placed 2 HCR’s achievements in the context of the whole invasion, and also Major General B W B White-Spunner, late RHG/D, who managed to take a few days off to give the Household Cavalry viewpoint. We were extremely privileged to be joined by Johnny Seyfried who was a troop leader with 2 HCR in the War and gave us some valuable insights into the people and places involved. The trip was
LCoH Goater and CoH Bentley on the range.
thoroughly enjoyed by all, and it was a good opportunity to remind ourselves that most of the core principles of reconnaissance have not changed much over the years. The focus on Canada for the rest of the Regiment meant that much of the annual Regular Army Assistance Table (RAAT) tasks fell to us. These included a seriously windy and freezing exercise up in Otterburn with the Royal Horse Artillery where one of the wettest nights on record must have taken place. Having been in Iraq for the last year, we certainly had lost many of our basic cold weather skills, and one troop decided to sleep under a tank sheet for the first (non tactical) night. This proved a grave mistake when the entire shelter collapsed at about 0200 drenching all underneath in a freezing torrent. The
next morning gave us some extremely cold troopers most of whom had helped us in our Guinness Book of Records attempt for the maximum number of people that could be crammed into a small white army mini bus! One of the highlights of the year was Ex EAGLE’S STRIKE. This was a full squadron deployment, and we formed the opposing force for the new Attack Helicopter (AH) Apache Regiment of the Army Air Corps. We managed a full week’s squadron level training prior to the main exercise taking place. This was extremely productive, and we managed to get a squadron of Lynx and Gazelle to work exclusively with us for two days. It provided great training for all levels; SHQ co-ordinating a three dimensional battle; and crew commanders working together with individual aircraft talking
Household Cavalry Regiment
LCpl Thomas shows the correct way to adopt the prone position.
each other on to targets as a recce screen advanced. Sadly, this training happens only once in a blue moon and is something that was not only professionally rewarding but also hugely exciting. We also managed to get all those troopers who had not been in a helicopter before up for at least an hour. Another large part of the Squadron’s summer was taken up with looking after the Lion TV crew which were, it sometimes seemed, almost permanently in Windsor over the summer period to film the BBC’s The Queen’s Cavalry documentary which you will all hopefully have seen. The crew were good fun and joined us on many of our exercises and other activities such as following individual soldiers on B3 driving courses. The eventual outcome was a great success and in no small part due to the good nature and patience of all those involved. It was interesting to try and work out what made good TV, and both sides had a certain amount of learning to do. On one exercise, we took the crew to a perfectly made Observation Post and, to our surprise, found the film crew most unimpressed. On asking why this perfect OP was deemed no good, we were told that it was because they couldn’t see anything and could we make it more obvious!
But the reality of rear party was ever there, and the tedious round of duties and small-scale exercises became the main part of our lives. The SCM, WO2 Tovell LG, did a magnificent job planning and running the HCR tent at the Derby, and it is all credit to him the event passed off so successfully. He left the Squadron on promotion after summer leave on a well deserved promotion and now sits as the RCM of Newcastle University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC). We were delighted to welcome WO2 Gardner RHG/D as his replacement after handing over as RSWO to SCpl MacKay. The whole situation became somewhat confused as Command Troop moved into the Squadron at the same time that the changes were taking place. In fact, the need for the new RSWO to be away on several BOWMAN courses meant that SCM Gardner now found that, not only did he have Command Troop back again, but he also had to stand in as RSWO! Rear party duties meant that we had a large number of people moving in and out of the Squadron, often at comparatively short notice. The start of the year saw the first change as we lost the enhancements we had had for Op TELIC. Lieutenant N K TwumasiAnkrah RHG/D and his troop went back
A typical sight, or lack of it, at Lulworth Ranges.
Household Cavalry Regiment
to C Squadron. Another change included saying farewell to CoH Smith LG who left us for civilian life where we wish him all success. We also bade farewell to CoH Irwin who went on promotion to teach at the Operational Training & Advisory Group (OPTAG). The change around also saw the move of much of the Fitter Section including SSgt Willshire, who has now moved over to the airborne brotherhood of D Squadron. Finally our SQMC, SCpl Galvin LG, moved at the very end of the year on promotion to the Armour School in Fort Knox as an armoured instructor. The way forward for B, now Command and Support, Squadron is undeniably different from the sabre squadrons. Hopefully, we will become a receptacle for the senior and more highly trained trooper who can add to his reconnaissance experience in Command Troop or within the specialist Surveillance Troop. The training has already started and, just prior to Christmas, Surveillance Troop under CoH Bentley spent a week with the Royal Marines special patrols troop learning about the utility and employability of Observation Posts and the use of radar. We start a training year now with 1st Mechanised Brigade and expect to deploy on operations with the rest of the Regiment in 2007.
C Squadron 005 has been a busy year with the challenges of dealing with whole fleet management and a busy diary. January was taken up with the JNCO cadre. Thereafter, the focus shifted to build-up training for our time as OPFOR in Canada. Training included the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Warminster as well as a number of Tactical Exercises without Troops (TEWTs) in Knook Camp and on Salisbury Plain. Before deploying on 14th April, the Squadron took part in the Freedom of Windsor Parade.
The journey to Canada proved rather eventful when a tyre “blew-out” on take-off resulting in a forced landing and a further delay. After a brief five day build-up training, the Squadron deployed into the field as Tank Coy 1, whence it experienced temperature fluctuations of between –10º to +20ºC. Ex MEDICINE MAN (MM) 1 was very successful for Tank Coy 1 as we gave the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Battle Group (BG), which included a squadron of the Scots Dragoon Guards, a run for their money. A number of daring exploits were rewarded: CoH Cornock for being the only tank left at the battle of Filton; CoH Stainsby for his exemplary tank killing and good use of ground and, last but not least, LCoH Eulert for being top gun on MM1. All were awarded The Order of the Jenner. LCoH Ireland’s expert tank killing and good use of ground were also rewarded with the Ralston ribbon as he perished (simulated) in the process. Ex MM 2 proved somewhat hotter and, after a great deal of rain, a plague of mos-
quitoes added an extra challenge for the Squadron. After a highly successful MM1, Tank Company 1’s freedom of manoeuvre was severely constrained. Nevertheless, the Squadron put in a great effort and did very well. Captain N P G Van Cutsem LG left the Squadron during R&R for HCMR and was replaced by Captain E S Lane-Fox RHG/D. The Squadron was hit by a hurricane as it was in a leaguer. Everybody escaped unscathed, although LCpl Cox received an impromptu “blow-dry” as he was caught out whilst having a shower. For exemplary and daring acts, a number of awards were issued. They included; the Suffield Star for Captain Lane-Fox as the top tank destroyer at Filton Village and for Lieutenant D L O Crosthwaite-Eyre RHG/D for his tank
killing on foot with a light anti-tank weapon. LCoH Ireland was also awarded a bar to his Ralston Ribbon for his part in taking prisoners. Throughout the deployment, the Squadron benefited from three adventure training packages/R&R slots, when everybody dispersed on to a variety of courses including fast air, mountain leader training and ice climbing in the Rockies. Others managed to escape for some well-earned R&R to Calgary and Edmonton. Of note was LCpl Bond’s near escape after trying to learn how to fly during his fast-air course! The endeavours of Tank Coy 1 were commented upon in the Household Cavalry Television series. Lieutenant Crosth-
Preparing for the attack.
Household Cavalry Regiment
LOYAL LEDGER; and GW annual firing. Due to a number of factors, we were split between A and D Squadrons for annual firing. Nonetheless, all three troops produced very good results, with LCpl Horton, LCpl, then Tpr, Owens, Tpr Robinson and Tpr Stones being rewarded for their excellent results. Shortly after, Lieutenant N K TwumasiAnkrah RHG/D departed for his Junior Officers’ Leadership and Planning (JOLP) and Junior Officers’ Tactics (JOTAC) courses prior to taking on his new appointment at the Army Training Regiment (ATR) Pirbright. CoH Telling moved across to the Recruiting Team, CoH Beech returned from Northern Ireland and CoH Irwin, recently posted in from A Squadron, disappeared off to the Operational Training & Advisory Group (OPTAG). Lt Crosthwaite-Eyre with CoH Stainsby ready for their dangerous mission!
waite-Eyre became famous overnight for “David taking on Goliath” as he succeeded with his troop in breaking through the enemy and securing a vital bridgehead. The same also proved that a degree in French and Russian has its uses, as he convinced the Secretary of State for Defence that he was a Russian Spetsnaz officer on exchange! The tour was marred by tragedy when LCpl Mitchinson passed away whilst in Canada on 3rd May 2005, and LSgt Dean died while back in the UK on R&R on 14th June 2005. It was an enormous blow to morale, and both will be sorely missed by their friends and colleagues in the Squadron. Our deepest sympathies go out to their families. The return from Canada saw a change over of command as Major R R Philipson-Stow RHG/D departed on posting to CATT in Warminster and was replaced by Major P A Bedford RHG/D fresh from the French Staff College. Getting to grips with having the same number of vehicles, due to whole fleet management, as he had had as a troop leader, proved somewhat of a challenge at first. Almost simultaneously, Captain P J McKechnie RHG/D took over as second in command. After a well deserved summer leave for all those back from Canada, the Squadron bade farewell to WO2 Pickford as he headed off for some Middle Eastern sun and possibly to increase his property portfolio and welcomed WO2 Rogers back from Headquarters 1st Reconnaissance Brigade. The Squadron had five major tasks between summer leave and the winter break: annual firing in Castlemartin; the deployment of 2 Troop to Northern Ireland; Ex SUMAN WARRIOR; Ex
Household Cavalry Regiment
During this period, 2 Troop prepared and deployed to Northern Ireland as a multiple within C Company, 1st Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Crossmaglen. To date, their tour has been very good, and they have carried out the greatest number of arrests within the battle group. They were the first to deploy the notorious “SKEEBALL” and stop a drunk driver on his way back over the border. Halloween proved a memorable occasion as they witnessed the most amazing fireworks display to date. All the camp’s security cameras were disabled by well aimed fireworks, the size and like of which had not been seen before, and they were subjected to fifteen petrol bomb attacks on the same day; a worthwhile reminder that things aren’t quite as quiet in Northern Ireland as the press would have you believe. 2 Troop are due back at the beginning of January just in time for annual firing in Castlemartin, prior to some well deserved leave.
A big mug for a big lad.
The Squadron Leader, Lieutenant Crosthwaite-Eyre and CoH Stainsby deployed for two weeks on Ex SUMAN WARRIOR in Kuantan on the East coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The exercise is covered in greater detail in a separate article. It proved interesting, as it gave the participants an opportunity to see HQ 1st Mechanised Brigade go through planning as well to see the five battle group headquarters from the participating nations, which included the Grenadier Guards. Lieutenant Crosthwaite-Eyre decided to get a better understanding of the Grenadiers and what makes them tick by going deep undercover and masquerading as one of them! He then took a slight detour to take advantage of Tioman Island’s famous dive sites. Our main focus of attention remained Ex LOYAL LEDGER, even though the
Calm beforre the hurricane.
Squadron was playing enemy yet again. As the exercise drew closer and the roles firmed up, we took on the dismounted OPFOR role. This gave all and sundry the opportunity to sharpen dismounted skills after so long in the vehicles over in Canada. Only this time, the additional requirement to play both insurgents and civpop allowed them to draw on previous operational experience in the Balkans and the Middle East. Deploying some rather over-active imaginations, they put the various units through a rigorous and thought-provoking exercise. The initial build-up training allowed the Squadron to get back up to speed with its dismounted skills. This proved a bit of a shock to the system for some of the newer arrivals as the heavens opened on the first night! As the training shifted to the initial training serials and the Devon and Dorset Light Infantry took on the majority of the regular infantry tasks, the Squadron concentrated on the roles of civpop and insurgents. Certain individuals took to the insurgent role rather too well. Ex EAGLE saw companies from 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales’s Own (PWO) rotated through a NEO (evacuating non-combatants) scenario based in Imber village with Imber Court representing the UK High Commission. There were some memorable moments, which included, to name but a few; SCM Rogers getting over-zealous with a battering ram; Tpr Tui scaling the compound wall and starting one of the Land Rovers inside the compound while beeping the horn incessantly; 3 Troop abducting a lone PWO soldier; CoH Beech’s simulated amputation using a sausage with ketchup as a prop;
LCoH Bodycoat stealing the keys from one of the WMIKs (cut down Land Rovers) which caused pandemonium and chaos; and Tpr Ellis displaying some excellent sharp shooting when he destroyed three WMIKs single-handedly from a well chosen sniping position. The battle for Cheverill Hill Barn saw 32 lightly-armed insurgents from C Squadron defend to the last man as they were attacked by the PWO Battle Group reinforced with a squadron of the Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL). The deception plan worked convincingly as the enemy’s recce failed to confirm the size and locations of insurgent positions. Lieutenant Crosthwaite-Eyre managed to get himself captured but redeemed himself when he led his captors back into his hide much to their regret. LCpl McGuire’s well positioned Observation Post proved a bit of a shock to the PWO as it was in the middle of their Line of Departure (start line)! It should be noted that the SCM did not taking a bullet for the Squadron Leader and was the last man standing. The final exercise saw the Squadron’s insurgency skills honed to a “T”, with civpop acting as informers and the insurgents split into 4-man hunterkiller teams armed with Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAW). Lieutenant R A E Leigh-Wood RHG/D’s troop was the first successfully to kidnap two engineer recce vehicles with their respective crews after off-loading all their LAW ammunition against the QRL Guided Weapon (GW) Troop which wasn’t fitted with engagement simulation systems! As we fell back into Copehill Down village for the final defensive battle, Lieu-
tenant T E F Burne RHG/D’s 1 Troop kidnapped two QRL Scimitars complete with their crews. Lieutenant Crosthwaite-Eyre, not wishing to be outdone, kidnapped a Warrior Observation Post Vehicle (OPV) thus denying the exercising troops one of their key pieces of equipment. All in all, kidnapping proved invaluable, as it caused confusion and, more importantly, allowed us to listen in to the BLUFOR (the other side’s) radio net and get a clear picture of what was going on - a salutary lesson for all! The Squadron is currently building up to Christmas leave, with Guided Weapon firing camp as the one remaining major event along with the continuing take-over of new vehicles. All those who attended the JNCO Cadre organised by D Squadron did very well, with Tprs Simkins, Owens, Privett and Elliot all being promoted on the pass-off parade. This was an excellent result and an example to all future aspiring lance corporals. A busy and challenging year lies ahead, to which C Squadron will undoubtedly rise yet again. We welcome 2nd Lieutenant C E B Dale LG, currently away on the Troop Leaders’ course and CoH Newton, who arrives in the New Year from ATR Pirbright. We also bid farewell to Captain P J McKechnie who moves at the end of the year to be B Squadron 2IC before taking over as Regimental Signals Officer in March, and to CoH Galbraith who is posted to the Army Training Regiment (ATR) Pirbright as an instructor. He will be replaced by Lieutenant L O D McCallum RHG/D upon his return from Northern Ireland.
Maj Phillipson-Stow and his war heroes.
Household Cavalry Regiment
D Squadron particularly busy year for the Squadron has seen it building on its working relationship with 16 Air Assault Brigade as well as deploying to BATUS in Canada to form the main part of the OPFOR (enemy) Recce Company.
In January, we deployed on Exercise EAGLEâ€™S FLIGHT with 16 Air Assault Brigade. It gave us the opportunity to practise the multitude of air skills needed when working with the brigade, including parachuting, support helicopter work, aerial delivery and Tactical Air Land Operations (TALO). Perhaps most importantly of all, it gave us the opportunity to consolidate on the work that we had done previously with the Attack Helicopters, and actually use the Close in Fire Support (CIFS) procedure in a tactical environment for the first time. It was encouraging, and comforting, to see that all our vehicles could achieve excellent communications with the aircraft, and guide them on to targets with relative ease using VHF rather than Ultra HF communications. Shortly after the exercise, we sent a number of troops on the new Land Warfare Recce Course. Despite being both physically and mentally demanding, the general consensus amongst the students was that it had been particularly useful and we should continue to support it.
It was not long before the preparation for BATUS started in earnest. The main event was the week of training in a virtual environment at the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Warminster. The fact that he was in a simulator did not prevent the Squadron Leader (not a great passenger in any form of transport) from being violently sick as soon as the screens in his Warrior came alive, and thus becoming the Regimentâ€™s first real casualty in a simulated environment. We came away having
learnt a number of useful lessons and, most importantly of all, knowing exactly which vehicle was meant to be where when we started rolling across the plains of Alberta in the following months. Easter Leave was still fresh in our minds as we headed for Canada. However, we suffered the now customary drama with leaving this country using RAF aircraft. During takeoff from RAF Brize Norton, a blowout in a tyre caused damage to the wing which, in turn, meant that we had
LCpl Logan, with his fire team, conducting river crossing drills.
Household Cavalry Regiment
to dump all our fuel over the Bristol Channel before returning back to the airfield for one of the bumpiest landings in memory. After an overnight stay, we finally left the UK wondering why on earth we could not jump on a flight with British Airways for half the cost and none of the hassle. The time spent in BATUS was, without doubt, the highlight of the year for the Squadron. Forming the backbone of the OPFOR (enemy) Recce Company, we had the most demanding job within the OPFOR, and all members of the Squadron rose to the challenge. Both commanders and crews got stuck into the exercising troops with gusto, and achieved notable successes. The MILAN teams in particular caused carnage, despite being faced by overwhelming odds, and credit must be given to all the individual crew commanders for the way they moved their vehicles around in the face of overwhelming odds. As one would expect, it was not all work out there, and HQ Squadron Leader and his team did a great job in ensuring that we had an excellent adventure training package in the time when we were off the prairie. There is no doubt that everyone gained benefit from going on the various adventure training packages, and it was beneficial that we came back with a number of people with new adventure training qualifications. On our return from BATUS, we departed for some well-earned leave before preparing for Gunnery Camp. The Squadron achieved good scores down at Castlemartin, firing as a composite squadron with C Squadron. LCpl Tansey won the prize for being the best
gunner by the narrowest of margins from LCpl Shapland, while Tpr Nairn won the prize for being the most improved gunner. We finished the training with the Squadron Leader’s exercise, which was set in an Afghanistan context. Many for the first time fired the GPMG on the move and a lot was gained from the exercise. Still, we never worked out why the Range Staff put up a target showing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in the middle of our Afghan village! Soon after our return from Gunnery Camp, the Squadron Leader was fortunate enough to be taken on a familiarisation flight in the WAH-64D Apache helicopter. Designed to show various 16 Air Assault Brigade Commanding Officers and Officers Commanding the difficulties faced by Apache pilots, it was perhaps more appropriately described as the ultimate red letter day by the Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment. Despite the obvious enjoyment factor of the trip, the point was made that we should not underestimate how difficult it is for pilots to pick up what, to us on the ground, may appear to be an obvious target. With most of the Regiment deployed on Ex LOYAL LEDGER, we remained in camp to support the JNCOs’ Cadre Course. An excellent package was put together by Captain A H James LG and WO2 Goodall. It took the students from the Guards Adventure Training Wing in Fremington up to Stamford Training Area and then down to Salisbury Plain. En route, they went through an adventure training package, dismounted skills and live firing and finally a vehicle
mounted phase. All our students did well. In October, Lieutenant T J Glover lead the Swiss Raid Commando, a three day patrols exercise in north east Switzerland, involving a number of command tasks and stands. The team of four performed well and finished in the top half of the 140 teams that entered. The following month, he headed up the Regiment’s Cambrian Patrol team, with the help of LCpl Shapland and Tprs Minter, Jary and Gray from D Squadron. After 48 hours and in some of the worst weather Wales can produce, the patrol was awarded a very creditable bronze medal. Word had spread about a possible deployment to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 4, and the Squadron took part in Ex HERRICK FLIGHT, an air skills exercise, as part of the preparation. Tactical Air Landing Operation (TALO) skills and aerial delivery were practised, and some members of the Squadron managed a night parachute jump. A live firing exercise was conducted on Bulford ranges following a vehicle insertion by Chinook. The exercise also proved invaluable for practising some of our more unusual skills and so we ended the week with a squadron raid. And so, another year comes to a close. The Squadron has finished on a high by winning the Regimental Cross Country, with Lieutenant T J Glover coming first overall. We have achieved a lot, both at home and abroad. With the potential of an operation on the horizon, we are well prepared to take on whatever 2006 brings.
A muddy Fremmington PT session.
Household Cavalry Regiment
Headquarters Squadron As with last year and for as many years as I can remember, let me start by saying that it has been a very busy year. That being said, it has been a very different year with the Squadron spread to the four winds and most of them having very little time at home. The main event has been our trip BATUS in Canada where we spent nearly four months acting as enemy for two battle groups under training on the prairie. We then had a really good training package at Castlemartin in Pembrokeshire and, while the Regiment was completing its annual firing, the Squadron completed its own training programme. The final event running up to Christmas leave was again acting as enemy in the very different terrain of Salisbury Plain. BATUS provided a real opportunity to work and play hard, and the Squadron took every opportunity to get away to do different things. Most deployed early in March and April to prepare the ground for the Regimentâ€™s arrival and found that the fleet of vehicles to be taken over required a huge amount of work to get ready for the exercises. Early days, late nights and a lot of hard work quickly got us ahead of the game and, near the end of this period, we even managed to get most members of the Squadron away to catch some end of season skiing. Life on the prairie was harsh, ranging from bitterly cold with lots of snow for the build-up training to oppressively hot for the first exercise and, finally, the wettest month for 10 years for the last exercise bringing with it swarms of man-eating mosquitoes. Throughout, the Squadron received an immense amount of praise for its hard work both from the Regiment and from the BATUS staff. Adventure training in the Rockies was very popular with almost all attending at least one course and most completing more than one. All events were really well run both by military and civilian instructors with a large choice of activities including, walking, climbing, white water rafting, canoeing, riding, sailing, and skiing to name but a few. All of these pushed everyone to their absolute limit and left those involved with a deep sense of achievement and satisfaction. We must not forget those left behind when we were in Canada and under the guidance of WO2 (SCM) Trinick. This small under-manned team managed to support exercises which were still running as well as undertaking the large number of duties that came their way.
Household Cavalry Regiment
After a well deserved leave period, it was not long before we were on the move again. This time, under the new Commanding Officer, was to Regimental annual firing camp in Castlemartin in Wales. Having no vehicles to fire, we undertook our own training programme to sharpen up some of our basic skills, such as first aid and NBC, as well as completing a fairly low-level dismounted skills and firing package. This culminated in a March and Shoot competition with a day and night shoot, a day and night march, a night out sleeping rough and an inspection at the end. All teams achieved some very high standards but the overall winner was the Squadron HQ team with Tprs Halligan, Butler, Ridge and Spackman keeping the newly arrived AGC Detachment Commander, 2nd Lieutenant Hyatt, on the straight and narrow. The final main event of the year was back on Salisbury Plain where we acted as enemy for 19 Light Brigade, which was about to become the UK brigade on the NATO Response Force. This was their certification exercise, and the direction was that they were to be pushed hard to ensure they were ready. For the Squadron it was a different exercise than most, as logistics were not being played for us, so we got more involved in role play as insurgents, civpop (pretend civilians) and casualties. The civpop serials were excellent mostly due to the effort put in by the charismatic characters from the Squadron such as CoH Swinburne, CoH Davidson and LCpl Lindsay to name but a few. They all adopted some unusual Arab names most of which cannot be
CoH Goddard, SCpl Elliott and Capt Fisher
LCpl Wolfenden, LSgts Grace and Tucker,
published on these pages. Suffice to say, the Brigade got some excellent training value from these serials and had a bit of a laugh on the way. As we head off to Christmas leave with the Squadron Leader sat in Norway with
SCpls Hitchins and Lochrane lead the heavies downstream.
Combermere Barracks - the knock down…
1st Mechanised Brigade and wondering if he will be home for the compulsory viewing of Only Fools and Horses, we should bring you up to date with some of the senior moves in the squadron. First, and because of changes brought on us by the new army structure, we said goodbye to Command Troop which is now part of B Squadron. For the older amongst us, we have seen this before so we may see them back again some time in the future. The Quartermaster
swapped over in July with Captain R J Carney MBE RHG/D going to HQ 4th Division in Aldershot and Captain A M Harris RHG/D moving in from Career Management Officer (CMO). We welcomed Captain D S Carter LG on commissioning and Captain M R Kitching LG from Harrogate to take over as CMO and Recruiting Officer respectively. We have had three Squadron Corporals Major this year: WO2 Kellet moved to be RQMC(T); he was in turn replaced
… and the rebuild
by WO2 Trinick who then himself moved to become RQMC; which leaves WO2 Goodwin as SCM (I think) who was replaced as MTWO by SCpl Beaumont. We have also said farewell to a number of people to civilian life including WO2 Stuart Gibbons and we are about to lose WO2 Del Stephenson. We wish them every fortune in their new lives and hope they will visit every now and then.
Quartermaster’s Department ost articles in this journal will start with “It’s been a very busy and challenging year”. The pace of life within the Regiment is certainly not slowing down, as there is always some major exercise or deployment on the horizon. As you read this article, you will remember that the Quartermaster’s department is full of larger than life, yet unsung heroes. These guys receive no awards or decorations, but if it were not for their hard work and their willingness to burn the midnight oil, the sabre squadrons would not be able to “Find, Fix and Close” with the enemy.
The rebuild of the single soldiers’ accommodation (Project SLAM) is well under way. Three 4-storey buildings and one 2-storey building will be built on what used to be the main square. It all started in April 2005 with the demolition of RHQ, Home HQ and the squadron offices complex. The foundations of reinforced concrete pilings were put in from June with the first piece of steel work being erected in August. The Project has an official completion date of December 2006, but it is hoped that it will be finished by late autumn. The
rebuild will provide 280 single rooms, each with its own shower, toilet and wash basin and six 7-man rooms for the trainees in the Household Cavalry Training Wing. Castlemartin saw the end to most of the internal handovers, and so time was available to fit in some adventurous training. Activities included running, cycling, running, surfing, running, mountain biking and more running. Also squeezed into this were a Combat Fitness Test (CFT) and BPFA (Battle Fitness Test). The QM and SCpl “Stan” Smith completed their own mini “Tour de Pembrokeshire” after Stan bought a new Claude Bulter all singing and dancing racing bike to the dismay of the Quartermaster who had his 1930s boneshaker. Ex LOYAL LEDGER brought all the new boys of the department together. Not only were we supporting HCR, but also all the other units playing enemy on the exercise. WO2 (RQMC) Chris Trinick was given a baptism by fire as there was no Quartermaster for the exercise and he was not going on his Quar-
termasters’ course until the following month. The Christmas festivities went well. One hundred pensioners arrived and had a slap-up five course meal, but sadly, Alice Groves fell over and broke her hip as she was trying to get into the transport. We wish her a speedy recovery. The Soldiers’ Christmas lunch had its normal passing the Brussel sprout or mince pies between tables, but no great food fight occurred. This brought an end to another year in Combermere. The department said to farewell to Captain R J Carney (QM) to HQ 4th Division, WO2 (RQMC) Rees to the RAC Gunnery School at Lulworth on promotion to WO1, SCpl Beaumont to Motor Transport WO, CoH Hughes to Families CoH and LCoH Gerrard to HCMR on promotion. The department welcomed Captain A M Harris as QM, WO2 Chris Trinick as RQMC, SCpl “Stan” Smith as SHEF Advisor, CoH Oliver as Accommodation CoH and LCoH Stay as Clothing Storeman.
Household Cavalry Regiment
Quartermaster Technical Department he unsung heroes of the QM(T) department have completed another year of behind-the-scenes support to the Regiment. Numerous issues both too complex and too important, some uneducated individuals would say boring, have impacted on the Regiment all via Tech. Needless to say, the constant demands of Equipment Care Inspections (ECI) and Logistic Support Inspections (LSI) help keep the department focused. CoH “Granddad” Walker was the first to fall by the way side with a move to HCMR to brush up on his management skills and the stable yard no doubt. CoH Couling moved across from the QM’s to take his place and was soon pulling out what little hair he had left whilst attempting to make sense of the vehicle hand-overs. LCoH Johnson made a brief guest appearance then promptly moved to Bovington for the easier option of a Signals Instructors’ course. On his return, he will be stepping in as a replacement for LCoH Dove who is bound for Command and Support Squadron.
Canada and OPFOR took most of our attention with SCpl Elliot deploying early to run the Unit Spares Account and concurrently sort out 105 Support Squadron. In this, he was ably assisted by LCoH Dove, LCpl Harris and Tpr Skipper. The QM(T) followed on shortly after to ensure fair play and was lucky enough to be in place in time to receive an Equipment Care Inspection in Canada as well!. To make up numbers and provide a QM element, LCpl Buckingham was brought in. He had to be retrained to get him out of the habit of saying “we’re closed due to stock take”, but everything worked out in the end. Despite working as both storeman and tech rep in the field and providing a valuable service, LCpl Harris has moved back to a sabre squadron in what some would say is the vain hope of furthering
his career. Although the focus was on Canada, the TQ and CoH Couling back in Windsor were kept busy keeping the department ticking over and posting numerous parcels to BATUS containing equipment not available the other side of the water. Annual firing at Castlemartin was our next outing, and support was provided whilst playing a full part in the training package arranged by the Squadron Leader. Of note, LCoH Plant organised an excellent first aid stand and the individual training directives (ITD) were completed within a realistic scenario. Needless to say, the QM(T) was praised highly following his performance, and the future looks bright for LCoH Plant. During this time, the larger than life Tpr Broxholme moved his not inconsiderable presence to Tech, and following in his wake were Tprs O`Carrol and Cole. All have now been assimilated into the department, and their tea making ability has been fully tested. Ex LOYAL LEDGER was next and, after the initial kit issue, the QM(T) had to complete some important paperwork and returned to Windsor leaving Tech under the close control of the TQ, WO2 Kellet. As the exercise progressed, there was less of a demand for spares than expected and the TQ with SCpl Elliott, LCoH Dove and Tpr Broxholme provided support whilst LCoH Plant and Tprs Morgan and Skipper set off across Salisbury Plain to act as civilians or insurgents as the mood took them. As the New Year looms, we are preparing for the organised chaos that will
SCpl Elliott, Capt Fisher and WO2
be the conversion to the new communication system, BOWMAN but, prior to that, we will be supporting regimental training at Castlemartin and on Salisbury plain and preparing for an ECI and LSI. It may not be sexy, but there’s never a dull moment in the QM(T) department.
The QM(T) shows off his map reading skills.
Motor Transport Troop 005 has been another busy year for MT with pre-BATUS training followed by deployment to Suffield and BATUS as part of A1/A2 Echelons in support of the OPFOR. On return after a well deserved leave, it was straight to Castlemartin for three weeks. Ex LOYAL LEDGER came shortly after when the Regiment again played enemy. LCoH Lindsay kept the BLUFOR battle group on its toes running riot as one of the insurgents.
Household Cavalry Regiment
MT has seen a big change of characters over the year. SCpl Beaumont took over the reins as MTWO from WO2 Goodwin who moved on to become Headquarters Squadron SCM in early October. Others who have moved on during the year are LCoH Yeomans and Tpr Kynock to experience civilian life, CoH Fry on an operational tour and LCoH Pettipher to Headquarters Squadron’s SQMC’s department. We wish them all the best in the future.
The personnel drafted in are LCoH Marsh from A Squadron to replace CoH Fry, LCoH Stables from BATUS in place of LCoH Pettipher and Tpr Stones from C Squadron. We’d like to congratulate LCoH Lindsay and LCpl Farmer on their much deserved promotions.
HCR in the field
D Sqn SQCM, SCpl Burton supervises on the IBSR Range at STANTA
A typical 5-star bed whilst on exercise.
LCoH Thomas listens to the detail of the next practice.
LCoH Weyman counts his rounds.
CoH Irwin and LCpl Thomas looking lesss than impressed.
WO2 Rogers, C Sqn SCM, finds an erring trooper!
D Sqn SCM, WO2 Pass, in a jovial mood at Gunnery Camp.
WO2 Pass and LCoH Salina prepare a Pinzgauer for the next assault on the Battle Group.
LCoH Smith 19 enjoying life on the ranges.
Tpr Thoman having completed the pairs fire and manoeuvre range.
Household Cavalry Regiment
Tpr Minter prepares to conduct live firing.
Tpr Stubbs getting used to life at HCR
Capt Carney and CoH Flynn share a few memories of the old days.
LCoH Gam after destroying a further two Challengers.
Recce Coy Commander, Maj Dick, tries to remove some of the prairie from his body.
CoH Flynn contemplates yet another day in the turret.
Major Philipson-Stow prepares to go into battle.
Lt Glover shows off his new beret shortly after passing P Company.
Household Cavalry Regiment
CoH Farrimond tries to dry out in a rare spot of sun on Salisbury Plain.
CoH Irwin gets ready to fill â€™em up.
The 2IC, Maj Miller, the Adjutant, Capt Speers and the RCM, WO1 Oâ€™Connor.
Maj Tomes talks parade tactics.
The REME show their interest in the gunnery at Lulworth Ranges.
Maj Taylor DSO heads the Op TELIC medal parade.
D Sqn 2IC, Capt James, working with Apache on Salisbury Plain.
CoH Bentley instructs the newest arrivals in basic fieldcraft.
CoH Bentley keeps an eye down-range.
WO2 (SCM) Gaddes casts a watchful eye over proceedings.
Spartan on the range.
Household Cavalry Regiment
The 2IC Maj Miller realises riding gets more painful with age.
Capt Armitage finds it all a bit too much.
The RMO, Maj Lewin, prepares to treat casualties.
The BATUS OPFOR polo team in Virginia USA.
Lt McCallum liases with one of his fans during a polo match at Virginia State University.
The Recce Coy Commander’s mascot ‘Bones’.
Recce Company 2IC, Capt Wren, firing at a distant Challenger 2.
Household Cavalry Regiment
The Adjutant, Capt Speers has a Marlboro moment.
Light Aid Detachment his year, as usual, has seen a high turn-over of LAD personnel: WO1(ASM) Saward departed on commissioning and SSgt Weller was posted on promotion to be an AQMS. The new ASM, WO1(ASM) Cush, arrived in February to find an LAD returning from commitments and preparing to deploy to Canada.
The death of LSgt Al Dean, while at home in Windsor on R&R, left everyone in the LAD deeply shocked. He had worked tirelessly in BATUS mentoring junior members of the LAD and, in the short time he had been with us, had made many friends. He passed away whilst at home. Our deepest sympathy and best wishes go to his wife Nina.
In March, an element of the LAD under WO2(AQMS) Speakman and SSgt McGlynn deployed with the advance party to BATUS to activate the Regiment’s ‘new’ fleet of ageing petrol-engined CVR(T). A lot of hard work went into ensuring that this new fleet was in a fit state by the time the main body arrived. Despite some conflict with 5th Battalion REME, which was responsible for conducting the winter repair programme, the fleet emerged from winter storage in a good state. The long hours coupled with the need to activate the local economy and enjoy some adventure training resulted in a full and fulfilling activation period for the maintenance group.
Following the Canadian adventures, the LAD returned to Windsor and prepared for a three week deployment to gunnery camp in Castlemartin. The time allotted for preparatory work proved inadequate but, after a few late nights, the few vehicles in camp were once again ready for firing. A significant number of new LAD faces learnt a lot during the hectic firing period; with only 14 Scimitars on which to fire 30 crews, the vehicles were always going to be worked hard. Once again, the armourers proved that they are in fact nocturnal animals working tirelessly to keep the guns firing!
The pre-deployment shake-out exercise turned out to be an emotional period for the maintenance group; the combination of freezing temperatures and numerous engine and gearbox changes resulted in very little sleep for the duration of the exercise. Considering all this, morale remained high despite Sgt “Stumpy” Davey taking the art of winging to new levels! On Ex MEDICINE MAN 1, SSgt Steve McGlynn was heroically seen leading his Fighting Fitters straight through the main battle group leaguer and out the other side entirely unchallenged. Sadly, this was not through tactical genius but because he can’t map read and the arrow on his £19.99 GPS wouldn’t stop moving. At some point during Ex MEDICINE MAN 2, the EME was allegedly seen emerging from a sleeping bag for the first time!
October saw twentytwo LAD personnel deploy to Bavaria on a period of LAD adventure training (the first in living memory) where many tradesLCpl Southon and LSgt Luckermartin. men were put under A composite LAD team then deployed on pressure and confirmed that they were in Ex LOYAL LEDGER where they were fact desperately scared of heights ! LCpl involved in a multitude of tasks ranging Wilde’s P Company aspirations came to from civpop to occasionally actually fixan abrupt halt after he froze five feet up a ing things! The ASM – “Mustafa” Cush rock face! LSgt Grace and LSgt Tucker, - made a very convincing Arab insurgent aka Hansel and Gretel, embraced everyand did his best to ruin 101 Logistic thing Bavarian and provided the enterBrigade’s exercise! tainment for the exercise! The facilities at the REME lodge proved excellent, and As Christmas approaches we look forward some high quality training was conductto the Guided Weapon firing camp in ed. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themOtterburn and once again preparing for selves and returned to Windsor all the more time at Castlemartin. better for it.
Household Cavalry Regiment
The Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess 005 Mess life started with a New Year’s Party. This was well attended, but, due to the near misses the previous year, fireworks were not attempted. All those who attended seemed to have a great time. You could not see the dance floor at midnight after WO1 (RCM) Kevin Poynter from HCMR had let off his giant party poppers.
One hundred and forty Mess members sat down to a Regimental Dinner to hear the Commanding Officer’s ‘State of the Nation’ speech. It was considerably shorter than in previous year and left many Mess members out of pocket after the sweepstake. Nevertheless, £140 was put towards the Mess charity fund. After the Commanding Officer had left, many Mess members remained until the early hours. Many had forgotten where the weekend had gone by Monday morning. March turned out to be an extremely busy month. After returning from the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer in Warminster and, later, having completed our preparations to become enemy forces (OPFOR) at BATUS in Canada, the emphasis swung to drill in preparation for the Freedom of Windsor Parade. Although numbers were tight due to the activation party being deployed, the parade went really well, and there was an overwhelming public presence on the streets. Mess members then went on a well-earned Easter break. After Easter leave, the Warrant Officers attended a Dinner Night in the Officers’ Mess which has turned into an annual event, one enjoyed by all. A 22 year dining out was held prior to deploying to Canada. The Mess bade farewell to the following Mess Members: WO1 (ASM) Saward on commissioning; and SCpls Musgrave and Carrington, CoH Hagen and LCoH Yeomans to civilian life. We wish them all the very best in the future and look forward to catching up on the relevant Association events. Major Lindsay, WO2 Stevenson, WO2 (SCM) Pickford and WO2 SCM Tovell are all to be congratulated on running the London Marathon and, by their own personal efforts, raising a lot of money for the Army Benevolent Fund. The Regiment deployed to Canada on the 16th April leaving a rear party behind. The Mess remained open dur-
Household Cavalry Regiment
ing the tour and hosted the following events: Saturday, 7th May: The Blues and Royals Association Dinner Friday, 3rd June: Oaks Day Saturday, 4th June: Derby Day Saturday, 11th June: The Life Guards Association Dinner While in BATUS, we were able to dine out WO1 (RCM) Freeman. A lunch was held in the BATUS Sergeants’ Mess which coincided with the end of the OPFOR vehicle roll-back period. A well deserved drink was enjoyed by the battle group, and a few stories were exchanged about Mr Freeman’s younger years. On our return, the Mess bade farewell to WO2 (FSA) Joe Comerford and WO2 (RCWO) Donna Green. It goes without saying that we wish them the very best for the future and thank them for all the work they have put in on behalf of the Mess and the Regiment. Unfortunately, due to the very busy period the week before summer block leave, we were unable to hold a farewell lunch for them. WO2 (SCM) Sean Pickford moved to sunnier climates in Shaiba Logistics Base in Iraq where he took up the position of Garrison RCM prior to returning here to take over my post. WO2 (SCM) Tovell has also picked up his WO1 and moved to Manchester University Officers’ Training Corps (UOTC). On behalf of the Mess, a special thank you must go to him for the outstanding work done to make this year’s Derby Day such a success. Before going on summer block leave, the Mess dinned out the Commanding Officer, Lt Col C B B Clee. We did this in the form of a Regimental Dinner attended by Mess members and their wives with the Band of The Blues and Royals providing a Jazz quartet. The Commanding Officer was delivered to the Mess in a pursuit vehicle supplied by Thames Valley Police, once he’d completed a tour of the surrounding area for twenty minutes or so. His knuckles were white on arrival. After the meal, we let our hair down with a disco. I think the Commanding Officer enjoyed it, as it was impossible to get him off the dance floor. This was different from previous similar occasions but seemed to go down well. On our return from block leave we held a Summer Party both in the gymnasium and the Mess; with two discos and the Mad Hatters providing entertainment.
This was a chance for the girls to don their ball gowns and for the men to don Mess dress or, the more fortunate ones, black tie. October saw a number of private functions sponsored. However things were pretty quiet as far as Mess life was concerned. A deployment to Salisbury Plain on Ex LOYAL LEDGER once again as OPFOR meant the Mess was pretty dormant. On returning on 4th November, things started to gather pace. A memorial service was held in camp on 11th November. LSgt Dean's and LCpl Mitchinson’s families attended and were hosted by the senior Mess members and close friends after the service. Remembrance Sunday saw the Regiment marching to church as normal. This was somewhat constrained by the lack of a parade square, but how was that going to stop us? Sunday lunch was then taken in the Mess afterwards by members, their families and Association members. Friday, 18th November was memorable. Unfortunately, we bade farewell to some real Trojans from our Mess fold. Two hundred people attended the function, and guests came from far afield. The entertainment was provided by The Life Guards Band and the Drums of Double Tap. It was held in the gymnasium with a disco at the end of the evening and, as you would expect, went on into the early hours. Those to whom we bade farewell at the end of their twenty-two years service were WO2s Stevenson, Grey and Gibbons, CoH Gray and LCoH Mathieson. Also attending the dinner was Captain McKechnie, who is now acting as C Squadron 2IC as an LE Officer. We also say farewell to WO2 (RQMC) Rees on posting to Lulworth on promotion as WO1 Author. On behalf of all Mess members and old comrades, I wish these individuals the very best in their new careers. I will especially miss Derek Stevenson who has throughout my career been a true and loyal companion and friend not just to me but to many members of the Regiment. I am not quite sure if people had enough time to recover from that event before attending the Christmas party at Legoland on 25th November. ‘Christmas and All That Jazz’ was the theme. The Commanding Officer, his wife and a number of other guests attended. Once again, the dodgems were one of the most
WO2 Pass in plain clothes.
popular features of the evening with many Mess members striving to run their seniors off the road - a more direct approach than the old fashioned method of “finger pointing” I’m sure you’d agree. For the second time, we enjoyed a fantastic event and were spoilt by the surroundings and the staff. On 28th November, the Mess hosted the annual dinner for The Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead along with the Windsor and Eton Rotary Club. This was attended by The Duke of Edinburgh. In December, once again in true fashion, all activities had to be crammed into the one week prior to leave due to Guided Weapons firing camp at Otterburn Ranges. The first formal event was the SNCOs and wives attending drinks in the Officers’ Mess. This happened
SCpl Brown with WO2 Stevenson.
directly after the Regimental Carol Service, just to get people in the mood and, more importantly, reduce the amount of nights out and baby sitter requirements. This is turning into an event that all look forward to and enjoy very much. The living-in Members then had their function on the Wednesday prior to Brick Hanging. This was organised by CoH Flynn CGC and went down really well. For the first time, I think, myself and the PMC, WO2 (SCM) Rogers, were invited to sit down with them. I think that this was a ploy to offset the wine cost. It WORKED. The Brick Hanging Ceremony then took place on the Thursday. Once again, it was as a very well-attended event, particularly well supported by Association members. Leave, Thank God for that! May I also point out that we are once again hosting
the Derby for 2006? Letters will be out in the New Year, and could I ask that Mess and Association members alike support the event as well as you all did this year. The Senior Mess Members are: WO1 (RCM) O’Connor LG, WO1 (ASM) Cush REME, WO1 (BM) Hallatt LG, WO2 (RQMC) Trinick RHG/D, WO2 (RQMC(T)) Kellet LG, WO2 (SCM’s) Gaddes RHG/D, Gardner RHG/D, Rogers LG, Pass RHG/D, Goodwin LG, WO2 (AQMS) Speakman REME, WO2 (RAOWO) Green AGC, WO2 (RCWO) Priest RLC, WO2 Benge LG, WO2 Goodall RHG/D, WO2 (BCM) Allen LG.
Band of the Life Guards he year started relatively quietly with the Band providing musical accompaniment to the Windsor Support Guards at Windsor Castle, a chance for the Band to entertain the tourists. Albeit not too many of them during January and February.
At the end of February, several members of the Band teamed up with members of the Band of The Blues and Royals for an Alpine skiing trip, the second such trip since 2002. A few members of the Band are now becoming highly proficient skiers among whom the Band Master, WO1 Craig Hallatt, LCoH Tim West and Musn Jules Sandford were awarded the Advanced Alpine Skiers’ Certificate. For the beginners, it was an introduction to the pleasures and pain of being on the piste, for the rest of the group, it was a chance to develop their skills and, for the fuller figured ones, the chance to practise stopping at high speed after defying the pull of gravity.
Back at Combermere, March began with an Investiture at Buckingham Palace and a day at Sandown Racecourse playing at the Grand Military Gold Cup meeting. The month continued with both Household Cavalry Bands providing the pomp and ceremony for the Freedom of Windsor parade, a very proud day for the Bands and Regiment alike. The Major General’s Inspection was as much a spectacle as ever for the general public. SCpl Kevin Pearson had proudly announced at breakfast that this was to be his last mounted engagement and that he had not fallen off in state kit throughout his twenty-two years. He left a lasting impression by making an involuntary dismount as the band ‘took post’ in front of the Major General, hitting ‘the deck’ with a thud thanks to Aden’s dislike of saddles and girths. Fortunately, no harm was done to either. The Band was then full throttle into the
mounted season with the Beating Retreat and the early morning ‘sparrow fart’ Trooping rehearsal. However, leaving Combermere at 0010hrs and mounting up at 0230hrs, the morning strangely lacked the sound of any bird song. It was after The Queen’s Birthday Parade this year, that the Band bade a fond farewell to Major David Cresswell after four years as Director of Music. He has gone on to pastures new with the Band of The Welsh Guards. Therefore, thrown in at the deep-end with his first engagement being the Garter Service, the Band welcomed Captain Bob Pennington, who took up the reins with great delight. The summer season culminated with a trip to Buckingham Palace playing for The Not Forgotten Association’s Garden Party. A little drama was injected into the day when at 1800hrs, as the Band was about to pack away and head back to Windsor for the start of summer leave,
Household Cavalry Regiment
the palace gates were locked, the Not Forgotten Association stayed in position and the Band played on. This was thanks to a rather absent minded tourist leaving a rucksack up against the Palace gates, causing a bomb scare. Fortunately, the tourist hot-footed it back to the Palace to retrieve the rucksack and the crisis was over, at least after a few well chosen words of advice from the police. On returning from summer leave, the Band was once again entertaining the tourists up at Windsor Castle several times a week. September saw the Trumpet Major, Gilbert Wheeler and LCoH Tim West taking part in a battlefield tour of the USA. Fortunately, Gil was able to keep his hand in as a member of the Corps of Army Music Golf Team by trying the facilities at several golf courses. Gil went on to win the Corps of Army Music Golf Championships in September (Again!). With the onset of autumn the Band took part in several school trips. These are designed to encourage music within schools and to increase awareness and inform those older pupils of the careers available within Army music. The Band had the enormous pleasure of being able to provide a little spectacle and entertainment at Addington School, a specialist music school for children from the ages of four to eighteen years with learning difficulties. Many of the Band were moved as children of varying disabilities enjoyed crashing cymbals and blowing through instruments as our musicians toured the various classrooms. We concluded the visit with a marching display and fanfare to open the school’s new music wing. In October, CoH Tony Kirk was nominated to go on the Chemical, Biological,
Radiological and Nuclear Instructors’ Course. He is now a fully qualified CBRN instructor. November brought the first mounted engagement for Captain Pennington, the Lord Mayor’s Show. Fortunately, no disasters occurred albeit a bit of ‘sitting deep’ was required as the RAF undertook their low-level fly past. The festive season started early for the Band, opening the Windsor Christmas lights on 19th November. It was also very nice to see Lieutenant Colonel Scott and his wife on 3rd December who very kindly provided the Woodwind Quintet with changing facilities and a fabulous lunch at their home in West Sussex. The quintet was playing for the wedding of Major General Langley’s son Harry. December also saw Trumpet Major Gil Wheeler, CoH Tony Kirk and LCpl Richard Sanders, taking part in representing the Household Cavalry Regiment at the GOC’s Sports Day: the Trumpet Major taking part in the squash tournament, CoH Kirk in the Badminton and LCpl Sanders as part of the Regimental Football Team.
Christmas was well and truly on its way with the Band playing at many carol concerts and services, as well as covering for The Band of The Blues and Royals at the Guards Chapel Carol Service held on Sunday 11th December. The Blues and Royals Band were unfortunately stranded in the cold of Sarajevo awaiting a flight back to Britain. The Band has seen several of its members leave this year. SCpl John Ravenor left after 25 years of service. Unfortunately, John promptly had a heart attack but, after treatment at Harefield Hospital, he is now fighting his way back to full fitness and is embracing his new career as an instrument restorer and pipe maker. We have also said farewell to SCpl Kevin Pearson after completing his twenty-two year career and to Musn Emma EamesJones, who is taking up her place in the Central Band of The RAF. We wish them the very best of luck for the future. Congratulations are also due to Musn Jon Rockey who married his lovely wife Louise in the summer and to WO2 (BCM) Richard Allen and his wife Emma, who gave birth to their beautiful daughter Eliza in August.
Catering Department quarter of the way into the year and the LSI firmly behind us, you would think that most of the hard work was done. But no, each coming month would present its own demanding challenges and rewards.
March saw us fitting in untaken leave, missed because of deployments and postings the previous year. Those without remaining leave saw themselves off to Knook Camp near Warminster to support training at the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer, leaving LSgt Moore and the Sodexho civilian chefs holding the fort in
Household Cavalry Regiment
Windsor. No sooner had we returned to work than it was time for the lucky ones to depart on summer holidays to BATUS. The team of five chefs, led by Sgt Dave Owen, flew off leaving the remaining six chefs to pick up the reins in Windsor and go straight into a weekend function for around 800. After extensive planning and hard work, and the timely arrival of Pte Williams from the RGBW, the Freedom of Windsor Fork Buffet and the Lions’ Charity Roast Carvery went off without a hitch. Easter leave gave us a chance to recharge batteries.
The main body’s deployment reduced the numbers to be fed in Windsor, but meant a higher turn around in duties for the RCWO and SCNCO. We said farewell to Pte Staples as he left for 2 RTR. Later, LSgt Tremayne deployed to BATUS so LSgt Barnes could attend an instructors’ course at St Omer Barracks. This further reduced chef manning in Windsor, but with support from Sodexho, we continued to provide three square meals a day and support to functions in the Messes. In Canada, Sgt Owen and LCpl Bethune took part in the Turf to Surf competition in Vancouver, and their
team came a very respectable 13th out of 175. In Canada, trying out for the British Olympic team in the doubles trampoline, and despite many hours of practice, LSgt Tremayne and LCpl Bethune unfortunately collided resulting in the latter visiting hospital with a fractured neck! May saw hopes of watching the Army/Navy rugby at Twickenham dashed because of planning, preparing and serving The Blues and Royals Association’s Dinner. No sooner had that dinner been put to bed than the barracks filled with the sound of hooves as both the Musical Ride from HCMR and the King’s Troop RHA arrived for the Windsor Horse Show. Supported by the King’s Troop Master Chef and agency chefs, a busy week had gone before we knew it. As compensation for missing the rugby at the beginning of the month, the Department’s Seniors were invited to the London District SO2, Major Brown’s, leaving do. Another boring Officer/SNCO get-together? No, this was an attempt to complete the Circle underground line, stopping at each station for a drink in a pub. It sounds easy, but with twenty-seven stops and only about twelve minutes in each pub, I would think again. Congratulations are also due to Sgt Dave Owen who was selected for promotion. Hopes of attending Derby Day fell by the wayside as the Department took on the catering for the Oaks and Derby Day. With a much reduced team and support from Sodexho from Combermere Barracks, over 1600 covers were produced over two days with the production of a VIP style cold buffet. LCoH Daz James also did a roaring trade in burgers and hot dogs, by scaring half the customers into buying them, as he and Pte Masilela provided fast food in the enclosure for all those without meal tickets. We then rolled straight into The Life Guards Association’s Dinner for 350, but luckily nothing else was going on that weekend. The RCWO invited London District staff for a luncheon to meet HCR personalities and to give LSgt Barnes a chance to show off his culinary skills, flare and imagination. After help from all within the Department, the meal was an outstanding success and the District staff went away thinking Barney was the dog’s nads. July, in contrast, was quite quiet. The BATUS chefs returned from three months’ adventure training in Canada. But before this, we said farewell to the RCWO, WO2 Donna Green, who was posted on promotion to WO1 to Op OCULUS in Bosnia after two and a half years in post. We wish her and her family good luck for the future and safe return
Auditioning for Master Chef.
from Bosnia. LCpl Hodgson and Pte Masilela produced a BBQ for the Band at Stag Meadow earning themselves a great reputation with the Band Corporal Major. LSgt Moore, LCpl Hodgson, and Ptes Valegatu and Williams cooked for the Dining Out of Lt Col Clee in the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess. Between these was 3 (UK) Division’s annual Improvised Cookery Competition, in which we entered a team consisting of LSgt Moore, Ptes Valegatu and Williams and Mr Lee Perret from Sodexho. Their preparation paid off and they came a very respectable fifth out of nineteen. Pte Williams was also in the running for Junior Chef of the day, and each member gained valuable experience from it. All team members should be commended for their efforts. Before we could jet off on our expensive summer holidays, we had to finish planning the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess Summer Party and the deployment to Castlemartin at the end of August. With that done, we said farewell to LCpls Craig Hodgson, Marco Koroiyadi and Pte Val Valegatu, who all left after serving a full three-year sentence with HCR earning themselves well deserved postings. Also, Pte Staples was RTU’ed from 2 RTR and wished to transfer to HCR! Then, summer leave and three weeks of nothing. With leave over in the blink of an eye, we welcomed the new RCWO, WO2 Scott Priest, from Grantham, LCpl Cookie Wilson from Ripon and Pte Baz Hart from Colchester. The first week was an eye opener for the RCWO: finalising planning for the Summer Party; trying to
sort numbers and nominal roles for Castlemartin; contracts meetings; the Commanding Officer’s interview; and getting to know his department to mention a few, and I’m sure he aged five years in the week. In mid September, we settled into a regular routine for the first time in many months. Functions were requested, planned and then cancelled, which meant the last two weeks of the month were very quiet, and RLC mandatory training could be completed. October saw the start of planning and preparation for EX LOYAL LEDGER. The second week saw the department going to the dogs - with the rest of the Squadron - for a social event to say farewell to WO2 Trinick who moved to be RQMC, much to the relief of our less fit members. After LOYAL LEDGER at the beginning of November, we were back in Windsor in time for the functions around Remembrance Sunday. November would also see the timely arrival of LSgt Hussey all the way from the Grenadier Guards, and LSgt Stebing from 7 Para RHA in Colchester, both on promotion. At the end of the month, LSgt Tremayne made the big move across Windsor to the Grenadier Guards after three years with HCR. Where has 2005 gone? No doubt, we will be asking the same question this time next year.
Household Cavalry Regiment
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Foreword By Lieutenant Colonel G V de la F Woyka, The Blues and Royals Commanding Officer, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment I well recall addressing the Regiment on day one of my command. One of my themes was that we must learn to live with uncertainty; that we must see it both as a challenge and an opportunity. At that time, we faced a move into temporary stables, a total shut down of the barrack water supply, poor manning levels set against continuing arduous operations in Iraq and a BATUS deployment for HCR in Windsor. Although the Regiment’s natural focus has been State Ceremonial, these challenges have made for a demanding and, at times, unorthodox year. Although the Regiment’s temporary stabling served it well, it did place constraints on the number of horses stabled at Knightsbridge at any one time. As a result, the annual inspection by the Major General Commanding the Household Division took a different form this year. With insufficient horses in London to mount the Regiment and double band, the decision was taken that the officers, warrant officers, training wing staff, coach troop and mounted bands only would form up on the review line for the Major General. The inspection over, in time honoured fashion, they set off to prove what experience and sartorial elegance can do in walk, trot and canter. This was achieved with both Messes managing to remain on speaking terms, but I suspect few orderlies would like to repeat the experience. The Regiment was strongly represented at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Riding Master, Captain Richard Waygood LG, distinguished himself in the Services Team Show Jumping competition on Her Majesty’s Peter Pan winning Best Individual Rider, a new prize for this year. Captains James de St John Pryce and Alex MacEwen RHG/D lead Tprs Newstead RHG/D and Kleinhans LG to a respectable fourth place in the tent pegging competition. The Princess Elizabeth Cup was won by Tpr Waisele LG. After an early general election in May, we appreciated the warm summer sunshine as opposed to November’s usual wintry blasts as we waited, silently, to escort Her Majesty back to Buckingham Palace after the State Opening of Parlia-
ment. WO2 (SCM) Parkinson LG carried The Life Guard Standard on The Queen’s Birthday Parade. The period was rounded off by the rare opportunity to escort Her Majesty to Horse Guards Parade for the moving and memorable VE/VJ celebration concert. In July, with the summer ceremonial season over, we deployed to Bodney Camp for annual training whilst, uniquely, continuing to mount The Queen’s Life Guard in London. This meant that, on return, we were able to hand over The Queen’s Life Guard to The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and stand down, less the barrack guard, for summer leave. This proved hugely successful, popular and retention positive with everyone, particularly parents. In September, with the stables refurbishment and block leave complete, life began to return to normal. The Regiment was able to catch up on individual and adventure training run by Major Mike Whatley LG and Captain James Thomson LG. Particularly popular was the coastal steering in Cornwall. This involved leaping off cliffs into the cold September Cornish waters, being buffeted by the swell, clambering over rocks, exploring underwater caves and swimming with seals. More conservatively, nine members of the Regiment enjoyed a fortnight’s sailing off the coasts of Spain and Portugal. On a slightly larger scale, LCpl Holiday RHG/D and Tprs Kemp and Hill LG and Pte Ashton AGC, joined our affiliated ship, HMS Westminster, in Tenerife for her return trip to Portsmouth. Captain Richard Moger RHG/D led this year’s team to Spruce Meadows in Alberta, Canada, to act as mounted escorts for the International Masters Show Jumping Tournament. The end of the summer saw a return to full yards in preparation for the Royal Visit of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway and the State Visit of the President of China. The Royal Visit was to have been the first escort from Millbank, and the Adjutant and Riding Master surprised everyone by striding purposefully up and down outside Tate Britain conversing in hushed tones while trying to come to terms with this new challenge. Sadly, it was not to be, and we
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
returned to the more familiar setting of Horse Guards. Next came the President of China. Whilst some horses took a distinctly Anglo-Saxon view of crowds and colourful dragons by refusing to settle, the escort, although tested, returned intact. The Blues and Royals Band flew to Sarajevo to play for the EUFOR Change of Command ceremony between the British and Italians only just making it back in time to lead the singing at the spectacular Household Cavalry Celebration of Christmas held in the Guards Chapel. At which point, I would like to return to my opening statement. We have been challenged by a busy ceremonial season and major building works within barracks. We have made the most of every opportunity, challenging convention and routine where appropriate, whilst balancing the demands of our environment and ceremonial duties. As a reward, we now have new stables, an improved working and living environment, and we achieved full manning in August. I am acutely aware that I have only scratched the surface, however, I believe the Regiment has done well, and we should be proud of our achievements and the good we have managed to effect. I hope you will find that these themes come out in the pages ahead
Diary of Events January Captains W H A G Snook RHG/D and D L Lipman LG were back in St Moritz for the Cresta again, helping the Army retain the Combined Services Cup for the fifth consecutive year. Meanwhile, with the horses still at grass, we turned our hand to helping HMS Westminster, our affiliated ship, with a marching detachment and coach troop for their rededication ceremony on the windswept Portsmouth docks. February The first of the month heralded the return of the herd from grass to prepare for an ever earlier ceremonial season, and they found a refurbished indoor riding school. With Falkland already chosen as the Commanding Officer’s new charger, remount selection was hotly contested before the barrack inspections and officers’ spring drills brought back a sense of normality. It was a great disappointment that the Household Cavalry Race was cancelled again this year due to frost. March South Carriage Drive was closed for the stables rebuild, ensuring a beleaguered provost staff received up to 100 complaints an hour! At least, riders had no need to risk life and limb by having to dodge speeding taxis in the morning half light while crossing into the park. The Italian State Visit, with Major A J L Fox-Pitt LG as Field Officer, passed off without a hitch but, behind the scenes, the Training Wing horses in Windsor were forced to make fearsomely early starts due to the limited stalls in the
‘Rattle’ stables on the South Carriage Drive and in Hyde Park. The football team made the Cavalry Cup quarter finals. With an early Easter, the Regiment stood down. April The Commanding Officer’s horse inspection concentrated the minds after leave, and the officers went to meet their counterparts in the Kings Troop RHA on a Draught Parade on Wormwood Scrubs. Still with limited stabling, the Major General’s Inspection looked very different from normal with just the officers, warrant officers, coach troop and mounted bands on parade. The Major General subsequently visited the single soldier accommodation and newly refurbished Valentine’s Bar. With the opening of Rattle Phase 2 on South Carriage Drive, the remainder of the herd returned to London and, on their arrival, came the form-up of the Musical Ride. The month finished off with a successful Aldershot Horse Show. May The Queen’s Cavalry Television programme started filming, and The Richmond Cup saw Tpr Waisele LG presented with the Princess Elizabeth Cup by The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. This also saw valiant performances by the Commanding Officer and the Riding Master in the Services’ Team Show jumping. The tent peggers returned to America on Ex MICHIGAN LANCE, and Tpr Viljoen came first in the individual tent pegging. The Riding Master competed at Badminton for a fourth year. The general election was
Tpr Holland at the Garter Service.
rapidly followed by the State Opening of Parliament. Despite the lack of a Major General’s Inspection to get the troops ready, the Regiment still performed to its usual high standard. The Life Guards gathered at Milton House in Norfolk for the penultimate laying up of the recent batch of Standards, and the month ended, after the String Band rehearsal for The Queen’s Birthday Parade, with a visit from General John P Abizaid, Commander US Central Command, who turned his hand to creating a hoof pick in the forge and then met the WOs and NCOs, before leaving to deliver the 2005 Kermit Roosevelt Lecture in the Ministry of Defence. June The newly refurbished stables opened ahead of schedule, much to everyone’s
The Commanding Officer leads the Officers on the Major General’s Inspection.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
WO1 (BM) Hallat sounds the trumpet for the March Pass Off.
amazement, and The Life Guards Squadron rode in after the Major General’s Rehearsal for The Queen’s Birthday Parade. With Beating Retreat, The Queen’s Birthday Parade and the Garter Service all successfully negotiated, the season closed with a talk to the officers and warrant officers by Sir Max Hastings on his book Armageddon. The RVO lead a successful team to the Household Division Regatta in Seaview and returned without incident. The families’ day on Kensington Palace Fields saw the successful culmination of the inter-troop and squadron show jumping competitions in preparation for regimental training. July The Kingsley Trophy, in which competitors have to row, run and ride a mile in under 15 minutes provided amusement to the crowds in Hyde Park. On the cusp of departing for a month of regimental training, a Captain’s Escort escorted The Queen down the Mall for the 60th Anniversary of the end of WWII. This year saw another successful camp in Bodney, Norfolk with the change of month making little difference as record numbers came to see the Regiment on Open Day.
Forming up on South Carriage Drive, for the State Visit for the President of Italy.
enjoyed another expedition to Spruce Meadows in Canada. At the same time, the squadrons went to Penhale Camp in Cornwall to sample the delights of Cornish weather and water. A few lucky ones spent a fortnight sailing off Spain and Portugal. The OAP bus pass holders set off on a golfing and battlefield tour of America. The Queen’s Life Guard escorted the Trafalgar Dispatch as part of the battle’s bicentenary celebrations. The Musical ride ended the season performing in the film Stormbreaker, a forthcoming children’s block buster. October With full yards in anticipation of a Norwegian Royal Visit with a mounted band, work commenced on getting horses fit for the long journey from Millbank to Buckingham Palace. Sadly, the Tate Gallery was not to provide the backdrop, and we moved to the familiar territory of Horse Guards. The offgoing Queen’s Life Guard spent a Sunday afternoon filming a futuristic film Children of Men among far-fetched concept cars on the Mall.
November The Chinese State Visit, as expected, drew crowds of protestors and wellwishers alike. The rehearsals introduced colourful Chinese dragons in the park, but nothing could fully prepare for the noise and colour of the day itself. Nonetheless, we did return intact. The Lord Mayor’s Show and the Remembrance Parade at the Cenotaph heralded the end of the season because the State Opening of Parliament had already taken place in early summer. With the horses out to grass, six soldiers left for Tenerife to embark on HMS Westminster and sail home to Portsmouth. December The Royal Wessex Yeomanry Race provided three officers with an early bath. The Regiment provided support to HMS Westminster’s Freedom of Westminster Parade. After the usual round of festivities in barracks, we settled down for Christmas, but not before a series of sensational performances by the Musical Ride at the International Horse of the Year Show at Olympia and the Household Cavalry Carol Concert in the Guard’s Chapel in support of the Museum Appeal.
August The King’s Troop RHA took on the summer guard duties for August, allowing the Regiment to take leave in one block for the first time since 1939. We said goodbye to Majors A J Fox-Pitt LG and M P Goodwin-Hudson RHG/D and to WO2 (SCM) Parkinson LG. We welcome Majors J G Rees-Davies LG and R H A Lewis RHG/D and WO2 (SCM) Heaton LG. September Returning from leave with only sufficient horses in for The Queen’s Life Guard, we concentrated on individual training directives and adventure training. The Richmond Cup winners
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
The Commanding Officer and family avert another disaster in Barracks on Christmas Day.
The Life Guards Squadron n the wake of the Boxing Day Tsunami, The Life Guards Squadron began what was to become an unforgettable year. It began with the return of the horses from grass and going into temporary stabling in Hyde Park and preparation for the Major General’s Inspection. Turning out horses for parades from the ‘Rattle’ was quite an achievement. The Quartermaster endeavoured to get extreme weather conditions food allowance to compensate for arduous grooming conditions. A number of Troopers applied for the arctic warfare course after the stables were completed, but when told about the course content, they decided naked wrestling was not for them! Under the direction of the Rattle Project Manager (Technical), Major A J L Fox-Pitt, the new stabling was finally finished, which allowed a return to normality and the disposal of the temporary infrastructure to an estate in Kent. At the beginning of January, CoH Beech retired from 3 Troop and was replaced by CoH Jukes from Windsor. In March, we said goodbye to CoH Goater and LCoH Hall and welcomed CoH Amos to 3 Troop.
The ceremonial season commenced with the Italian State Visit, which saw Horse Guards Parade transformed into a Pizza and Ice cream parlour to greet the visitors. At this time, the Squadron was to experience the “super-star” status of being followed around by a film crew from Lion Television, for the making of the documentary, The Queen’s Cavalry. This was embraced by the Squadron, and coverage of occasions such as the Richmond Cup, which was won by Tpr Waisele, riding Cambrai, (nominated by The Queen as the Regiment’s smartest horse), was enjoyed by the nation when the series was aired in the autumn. In May, CoH Stokoe left to be replaced by CoH Auld, a keen jockey, who reinforced the equine management of 1 Troop. The build-up to summer camp was tainted by the events in London on 7th July, which almost lead to the deployment of the Squadron into central London to aid the emergency services. After much anticipation, we were stood down, and preparation for the VJ State occasion continued. The events in London were soon a distant memory when the Squadron deployed complete with hoof oil to Regimental training. The first week brought much renewed enthusiasm, with the military skills phase and a short “Marathon des Sable” Combat Fitness Test (CFT) in desert conditions.
WO2 (SCM) Heaton with the Colonel of The Blues and Royals.
Unfortunately, the good weather did not help the Squadron Leader, Major FoxPitt, to win the seniors show jumping, which was won by a rank outsider. The Junior ranks show jumping was won by Tpr Eldershaw and the Junior ranks Handy Hunter by LCoH Bridges and LCpl Douglas, very good results for the Squadron. Unfortunately, the Seniors could only manage 2nd place in the Handy Hunter with Captain T W C Edwards and CoH Amos completing the course in an impressive time, but the officer’s pronounced facial features were said to have caused a little too much wind resistance. CoH Saunders was the main casualty of summer camp sustaining a kick to the knee by one of Lord
Manton’s horses. It was claimed that he poked fun at the inferior colouring of the offending horse compared to his beloved Elizabeth, for which the horse exacted retribution. CoH Amos also fell foul of his pet, Dettingen, which dumped him at the water jump during the Open Day. After summer leave, the Squadron completed a very successful adventure training package in Cornwall, consisting of surfing, coastal steering, rock climbing and sailing. The second half of the ceremonial season began with the Norway Royal Visit closely followed by the Chinese State Visit, which was a test for any rider, as paper dragons and fire crackers festooned the Mall, along with demon-
The new softer approach of CoH Jukes and Amos LG.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Capt Howell on the Chinese
strators and funny little men with brief cases who ran alongside the escort. In September, we said goodbye to Captain A H James, The Queen’s Life Guard barbecue officer, and welcomed Captain N P G van Cutsem, who with immaculate foot drill led the Life Guards Troop at the Cenotaph parade. Another casualty of the ceremonial season was Major Fox-Pitt, who left the Army to set up business as a wedding planner, an alternative to conventional farming methods. The Squadron will sorely miss his depth of equine knowledge and the many free
LCoH Jaworski - “Does my bum look big in this?”
gifts from Barbour, which he used in lieu of money to pay orderlies. We also wish Major Fox-Pitt a speedy recovery from his elbow operation and hope that he is not hindered on the polo field. He should be all right so long as he does not have to carry a sword. Major J G ReesDavies took over the appointment as “Red Leader,” vowing to maintain the good work and to continue the Secondin-Command’s riding lessons, known as the “buckle end club.” We also said goodbye to CoH Farrimond and welcomed CoH Fitzgerald to 2 Troop. Last, WO2 (SCM) Parkinson left for Lulworth
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
and was replaced by WO2 (SCM) Heaton from D Squadron in Windsor. The final evacuee of the year was Captain J P Thomson, known as the “Civilian Officer,” who finally gave up the impossible transition from civilian to military life. He has emigrated to Australia to adopt a more relaxed life style away from the pressures of Knightsbridge and Troop Leading. Overall, a very different year with new challenges, which have matured the Squadron significantly and improved every man’s political consciousness and understanding of the modern world.
The Blues and Royals Squadron s another year of mounted duty goes by for The Blues and Royals Squadron, it would appear that, despite the wealth of knowledge and experience in the Squadron, the workload just never quite seems to decrease. This year has been full of all the usual ceremonial commitments, interspersed with an unusually healthy spattering of sports and adventure, just to add to the flavour of what was already a hectic year. For those who have had the pleasure and honour of experiencing Knightsbridge first hand, you will appreciate this; now try imagining achieving all of this from the confines of temporary stabling in Hyde Park.
The ‘Rattle’ was always going to be something of an unknown quantity, but it served us better than we thought. It was, however, bitterly cold and very wet resulting in many horses digging the ground with their fores, one must assume in search of a warmer climate! Rare with contractors, the stables were completed pretty well on schedule, and we moved into the very smart new stables block after The Queen’s Birthday Parade.
mented by Lion TV’s The Queen’s Cavalry. Despite Tpr Faulkner’s effort to prove otherwise, super glue obviously doesn’t stick everything together! Congratulations to The Life Guards Squadron for taking first, Tpr Wenham on coming 2nd, Tpr Allen 42 3rd, Tpr Bush 4th and Tpr Camaibau 5th and for making it to the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Show also provided the ideal setting for the debut of the Squadron show jumping trio of CoH Griffiths and Tprs Monger and Ellis 11. They jumped well, until Tpr Monger decided to hop off – sadly, that is against the rules! The three amigos then travelled to Melton for the Royal Tournament. This turned out to be more like a pub crawl than a serious competition, but was enjoyed by all. Again, however, their contribution to the Squadron trophy cupboard was minimal. Despite time on the riding staff, and after Tpr Monger’s experience at Windsor a few weeks earlier, you would have hoped that CoH Griffiths would at least have tried to stay mounted. Alas, - he too opted for an involuntary dismount.
Spring saw the State Visit of the Italian President, and a cut down version of the Major General’s Parade. One might think that without four divisions, the element of ‘spectator amusement’ with involuntary dismounts would be lost, not so - thanks to SCpl Pearson’s elegant, ‘will he, won’t he?’ tumble.
All stops were pulled out for the Captain’s Escort for the VJ Day anniversary celebrations whilst later on that afternoon, we were due to deploy to Bodney for Regimental training. Clearly, the Squadron Leader’s horse, Sunningdale, was already in camp mode and decided that the Mall had suddenly become the senior handy hunter course. A few stern glances from inside the carriage soon put Sunningdale back in his box!
The next event was the Richmond Cup, the stresses of which were well docu-
Summer camp started with a week of blue skies and some serious sunshine.
The Colonel of The Blues and Royals visits
Typically, this was also the ‘green’ week and, as soon as we started to have time to enjoy the weather, it rained. Despite battling the elements, we achieved some memorable results. Major M P Goodwin-Hudson won the senior show jumping on Daisy. He then embarrassed himself by falling off after the last jump on the senior handy hunter course. Tpr Tuffs won the junior show jumping, Tpr Whitehead came second and Tpr Abbott third. Tpr Sedgewick then won ‘the most improved rider cup’.
The two Blues and Royals Divisions, led by Capt MacEwan followed by Capt Moger and Capt de St John-Pryce,
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
package with The Life Guards Squadron at Penhale Camp in Cornwall. Most soldiers who had not been sailing were able to attend this excellent week-long package. Other activities included surfing, coastal steering for the adrenalin junkies and rock climbing. It was a great success at an ideal, yet under-used location.
SCpl Sharpe leading his pair over the X Country in the Handy Hunter at
The second half of the year was equally busy. After a well-earned summer leave, the Squadron prepared for a Sovereign’s Escort for The King and Queen of Norway. The standard was found by the Squadron, with the Commanding Officer acting as Field Officer and Major R H A Lewis as Escort Commander. The Chinese State Visit followed shortly after, providing lots for both riders and horses to look at. Of particular note was the curious number of dragons floating down the Mall. The Lord Mayor’s show went by without incident and brought to an end the winter ceremonial season. During the year, we sent a large number of soldiers away adventure training. LCpl Caulkin and Tprs Sedgewick, Littleboy, Whitehead, Sherman, Appleton and Deavall went sailing during the summer mostly in the Mediterranean. Not unsurprisingly, the nights were spent in the bars of Malta and Sardinia and the days nursing hangovers. LCpl Eade and Tprs Tuffs and Doran 47 enjoyed six weeks at sea taking part in Ex OCEAN GUARDSMAN. Lieutenant Deverell and LCsoH Harrison and Royston ran a Squadron adventure training
Since Major Goodwin-Hudson’s time, the Squadron has developed a name for itself on the football field. This may be because it is the one occasion when soldiers can get their own back on the officers and seniors, or because the Squadron has some very talented players. We entered several tournaments over the year but, due to the nature of Knightsbridge, there is insufficient time to train, and it is hard to be competitive. That said, the team did themselves and the Squadron proud on a number of occasions seeing off several major opponents. Notably, the Summer Camp Football tournament was a Blues and Royals walk over, with 3 Troop’s A & B teams coming first and second respectively. Several members of the Squadron have represented the Army this year, including Tpr Whitehead at football and cricket and Tprs Hookham and Johnston in ice hockey. Tpr Ellis 11 played for the RAC football team until Flashman double barrelled him so that he ended up in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and was out of action for a month. Over the year, we have said a fair few goodbyes. We have also welcomed some new faces. The most notable departure was Major Goodwin-Hudson who, after only a year as Squadron Leader, was offered the chance to command a squadron in Windsor. This was a great loss; his comedy club ‘O’ groups will certainly be missed by all those who ever had the pleasure of attending one - A Squadron enjoy! His replacement, Major R H A Lewis, comes to Knightsbridge for the first time, having spent the last nine years side stepping it for Army Polo tours, sky diving and skiing. He
Flying High at the Wessex Yeomanry.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
LCpl Eade sails past New York on ‘Ocean
joins us fresh from the fields of Sierra Leone. Since arriving at Knightsbridge in September, he has managed to fit in an impressive amount: kit ride, two state visits, an army polo tour to Argentina and a fourth successive return to Verbier! Captain A K MacEwen succeeded Captain R A Gibbs as Squadron 2IC on the latter’s move to Windsor as OC Household Cavalry Training Wing. After a short gap, Lieutenant B J Vestey took over 3 Troop, whilst Lieutenant S P Deverell took over 2 Troop from Captain J E A de St John-Pryce who went to Iraq on the Media Ops staff. WO2 Thomas moved to HQ Squadron in February 2005 creating on opening for WO2 Fortune to take over as the Squadron Corporal Major. SCpl Sharpe returned from Windsor to replace SCpl Gaddes as SQMC. Congratulations to CoH Ireland on his promotion and move to 2 Troop to replace CoH Bell. CoH Griffiths arrived in the Welsh Troop to join CoH McNamara and replace CoH Hockings who has moved to a Cadet Training Team. CoH Park also returned from Windsor to fill a void in 1 Troop left by CoH Hooper.
Members of the Squadron receiving Heli Drills training on Regimental Training in Norfolk.
Headquarters Squadron he Squadron has enjoyed an extremely busy and productive year performing its traditional support to the Regiment with the professional cadre and tradesmen providing a first class service to all sub-units. This year, the Squadron planned, coordinated and delivered all elements of equine and military training. The Riding Master and his team of dedicated professionals provided instruction in all aspects of military and sporting equitation, producing soldiers trained to a high standard and ready to undertake the rigours of mounted ceremonial duty. The staff also encouraged officers and soldiers to take part and compete in various equine activities during the annual sporting calendar. The squadron also took a lead role in the provision of basic military training producing a training package to ensure that the Regiment completed its individual training directives (ITDs). This included the administration and instruction for five range periods, two during Annual Training and a further three on Pirbright ranges. Six days of in-barracks training covered the ITDs’ intellectual subjects, including the Law of Armed Conflict, Medical, Health and Safety and other riveting disciplines.
For the first time during the first week of Annual Training, the Regiment completed a tactical exercise, deploying from Bodney Camp to the FIBUA (Fighting In Built Up Areas) village on STANTA (Thetford Training Area). The exercise required the two sabre squadrons to practise operations and procedures for internal security, including patrolling, cordons, vehicle check points and contact drills. Headquarters Squadron provided the administration, enemy and civpop (exercise civilians). Excellent and robust performances were provided by the members of the Forge as the enemy. They only occasionally needed to be reminded that it was an exercise and not for real! After the exercise, the squadrons were put through a number of challenging stands including house clearing drills, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) drills (known to most as NBC), first aid and helicopter handling and operating drills. On completion, the Commanding Officer very generously led the Regiment over the STANTA confidence course. The squadrons were exhausted but happy to have risen to the challenge. Much favourable comment was made about the content and conduct of the exercise. It is hoped that such
activities will become a regular feature in the Annual Training programme. The Squadron enjoyed its visit to the Go-Kart track while at Bodney, and the Master Chef provided a superb barbeque. Teams were formed from the departments; each driver completing a set number of laps. Following the resulting carnage, the Saddlers’ shop emerged victorious and was presented with a suitable trophy. All will be pleased that the Squadron Leader has made a full recovery from his injuries and suffers only the occasional flashback. Many members of the Squadron made a considerable contribution to planning and preparation for Open Day. The weather gods were kind to us, as were the local people who turned up in their droves – 5000 people in total! They also gave generously to the Regiment’s chosen charities, and we raised £1600 in exit donations on the gate. Following Annual Training, we departed for a period of three weeks block leave with the horses taking their well-earned rest at the Defence Animal Centre at Melton Mowbray. The chance for the officers and soldiers to take the same leave was a great success. In the past, it has taken almost three months for the Regiment to take its summer leave period due to the continued commitment to The Queen’s Life Guard and the care of our horses in Hyde Park Barracks. This year, we maintained The Queen’s Life Guard during annual training, which enabled The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to cover for our Queen’s Life
Guard commitments throughout August. This has had the effect of producing a more sustainable and cohesive annual programme keeping the Regiment together in barracks over a greater part of the year than previously. Following block leave, a number of the Squadron completed adventure training at Penhale Camp near Newquay. They enjoyed rock climbing, sea kayaking, surfing and other challenging activities under the gentle supervision of LCpl Harrison. We also sent LCpl Frampton skiing with the Household Cavalry team to Verbier to improve his skills, an experience he enjoyed immensely. The Squadron assists in exercising the sabre squadrons’ horses and in undertaking State Ceremonial throughout the year. Squadron members have taken part in various events both mounted and dismounted. For the Squadron Leader this provided him with one of the most memorable events of his career when the Commanding Officer appointed him to command the Sovereign’s Escort for the State Visit of the President of China. He brushed up on his equine and ceremonial skills and enjoyed a first class parade which, thankfully, passed off (reasonably) uneventfully to everyone’s relief. We enjoyed the Christmas festivities especially the Winter Wonderland extravaganza provided for the families. The Band of The Life Guards performed the carols magnificently with enthusiastic accompaniment from families and other guests. A feast of food was provid-
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
HQ Sqn Combat Fitness Test at camp.
ed with copious amounts of warm glüwein to unthaw everybody before Santa’s arrival in a magnificent carriage accompanied by his elves and ceremonial escort; he produced superb presents for the children and left the barracks to a
FSCpl MacDonald, CoH Doga and Pte Ashton after the Combat Fitness Test.
loud cheer from the crowd. The last important event before we departed on leave was Brick Hanging in the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess, a tremendous success which is covered elsewhere in the Journal. We are now preparing for another
challenging year with an escort and the Major General’s Inspection also in March, and a full and uninterrupted programme until block leave in August.
Quartermaster’s Department n pausing to review the activities of the previous year and to prepare for those of the year ahead, I look back with a real sense of pride at all that the Department has achieved in what has seemed to be a relatively short period of time.
Rarely has a year been as busy. At the beginning of the year, the Regiment was shoehorned into the temporary stable complex situated on South Carriage Drive. With a full complement of horses and the ceremonial season fast approaching, both men and horses were in need of a level of support never before experienced. In order to sustain the Regiment in this unique environment, the Quartermaster’s Department had to adapt tried and tested procedures. At the forefront of this was CoH Hadden LG. He was, as only he could be, appointed as manager of the temporary stables, and was responsible for day-to-day administration of the complex. He took on this role with typical enthusiasm and set about ensuring that the stable lines were maintained to a safe standard. The only bone of contention was his inability to accept that some younger soldiers like to listen to modern and very loud music. He spent much time trying to persuade soldiers to listen to a more melodious style of music. On 27th May, a board of officers was convened, and the newly refurbished stables were taken over by the Regiment. By early June, and after much hard work by all concerned, both
squadrons returned to their respective horse lines. By and large, the refurbished stables are a vast improvement. There are still, however, areas needing to be enhanced, modified and improved. This task has fallen on the shoulders of the very capable LCoH Stevenson LG, who as the Works Liaison Officer, has collated all faults identified by Troop CsoH and passed them on to the contractor. To this point, the refurbishment has been an undeniable success and has greatly improved the working environment for both soldiers and horses. July, and one month later than previous years, saw the Regiment depart for Thetford. Prior to the bulk of its arrival, CoH Hadden and his advance party took over the accommodation and erected the main arena and hospitality tents. The arena was larger than previous years in order to provide enough space for the many varied attractions invited to attend the Regimental Open Day. With over a kilometre of rope to wrap in white mine tape and more than eighty posts to clean and white-wash, CoH Hadden did what any good senior Non-Commissioned Officer would do if faced by a similar problem. He passed the job on to his second in command, LCoH Plimmer RHG/D! The task was completed, and Open Day was a huge success. One of the many changes to Regimental life in recent years has been the introduction of Pay as You Dine (PAYD).
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
This is now in its fourth year and has proved to be a remarkable success due, in no small part, to the hard work of a succession of good quality Master Chefs. The most recent, SSgt Hopkin RLC, proved himself an outstanding arbitrator and negotiator when dealing with the PAYD contractor. Young soldiers coming to the system recognise that PAYD allows them choice and a greater sense of personal responsibility. That said, it seems that many soldiers who eat in the PAYD facility think that the food tasted better when it was perceived to be ‘free’. Of course, it has never been free, but at least a soldier now only pays for what he eats. As the Quartermaster’s Department prepares itself for the year ahead, it faces a number of personality changes. All those moving on will undoubtedly be missed. However, the departure of WO2 (RQMC) Elliott RHG/D is worthy of particular note. His enthusiasm, intelligence and great sense of humour will be missed not only by the Department but also by the wider Regiment. His contribution to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment over his time here at Hyde Park Barracks has been outstanding, and he will undoubtedly do well in the future. Those leaving will, of course, be replaced by soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers equally as good and, although we live in an uncertain world, it is certain that the Quartermaster’s Department will continue to provide first-class service and support to the rest of the Regiment.
Medical Centre he Medical Centre has steadily made progress this year marked by the enthusiastic arrival of LCpl “Pinky” Brown RHG/D to run the treatment room. Our pharmacy, under the tender care of Tpr Beddar LG is now so overwhelmed with audits, reports, and files that we have more paper on our shelves than medicines. LCoH Royston LG, in his role as practice manager, has directed the action with his usual attention to detail and enthusiasm for patient care.
Seriously, the medical centre has had an excellent year. We continue to play our part in the welfare of our soldiers, particularly the younger members of the Regiment and are on standby for the occasional exciting trauma case. Regimental training camp this year deserves special mention for trauma. The Life Guards Combat Fitness Test (CFT) on a swelter-
ing summer’s evening gave us all plenty of practice in treating heat casualties and inserting drips. With bodies on stretchers lined up on the grass outside the medical centre at Bodney Camp the scene was akin to a wartime medical aid post than a medical centre. Such was the demand for fluid, especially from one or two dried-out Fijians that we even ran out of intravenous fluids. This was only the start of our trauma package though as we went on to deal with road traffic accidents, a tumbling dirt bike riding officer, the many fallers at the first fence of the junior ranks cross country and the Officers to the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess games evening to name but a few. Despite our high rate of accidents, we managed to keep almost all out of hospital and bring everyone back to Knightsbridge with the Regiment. No time for kite flying this year, then!
Forge ast year was a significant one for military farriery because it was the first since the Royal Army Veterinary Corps’ bold move to stop recruiting its own farriers and to source all farriers for the Army School in Melton Mowbray from the mounted regiments. WO2 Newman RHG/D had moved up from the HCMR Forge to fill the post of senior farrier at the school in the second part of 2004, and during 2005 he was promoted to WO1 and formally appointed FSM. During the course of 2005, he was joined in Leicestershire by LCoH Knaggs LG, who passed his Class 2 in May and was subsequently selected to fill one of the junior instructor posts, and then later in the year by two farriers from the King’s Troop; WO2 Watson to fill the post of Senior Instuctor, and LBdr Ellison, on completion of his Class
LCpl Hamilton and the Farrier Major during the Army Competition at the Defence Animal Centre.
2, to fill one of the junior instructor posts. The opening up of all posts at the Army School of Farriery increases the chances for promotion for all mounted regiment farriers, because it introduces additional WO1, WO2 and SSgt posts, and it also offers greater career variety for farriers, who may have a special interest in teaching or may want a break from life in London. At the same time, the opening up of posts at the Army School places an additional responsibility on the mounted regiments, for they must now encourage, and be prepared to release, their best farriers to the School to ensure that Army Farriers continue to be taught to the highest of standards. This has certainly been the case to date, and all farriers returning to Knightsbridge from courses at the School have been very up-beat about the standard of
the instruction they have received there under the new regime. SCpl MacDonald LG, having only taken over the post of Farrier Major from WO2 Dixon LG in December 2004, was quickly into his stride in his new post, and the Forge worked smoothly and effectively throughout the year under his leadership. February brought with it the first major commitment of the year in the form of an assessment course for potential farriers. LCoH Ravenscroft LG and LSgt Dean RAVC ran an excellent course, which was attended by six enthusiastic potential farriers. For the aspiring farriers, it was certainly a challenging time, but all performed well, and all seemed to find their experience a positive and
The Masters’ and Apprentices’ team in Northern Ireland.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
and military farriers alike, the 2005 competition was once again a great success and highly competitive. It was won by a civilian pair, Mr S Beane and Mr D Bazin, the latter of whom was the reigning world champion. SCpl Macdonald and LCoH Hamilton LG performed very strongly, finishing top of the Household Cavalry teams.
SCpl MacDonald during the Nationals in
rewarding one despite the bruises and sore muscles. Sadly, with space for just three new farriers during the year, it was only LCpl Thomas RHG/D, LCoH Black-Wood RHG/D and LCoH Woods LG who were given the chance to progress toward their Class 3, and these three went up to the Army School of Farriery in the middle of the year to tackle the Class 3. All three acquitted themselves particularly well, with LCpl Thomas and LCoH Black-Wood joining the Forge soon after the course in August, and LCoH Woods joining at the end of the year. Also held in February, was the Regiment’s “Cavalry Pairs” shoeing competition. A very popular event with civilian
Throughout the year, members of the Forge were quick to represent the Regiment in other competitions. The two most notable were the National competition, held in March in Enniskillen, and the International, held at Stoneleigh. The Army was represented at the Nationals by both an Apprentice and a Masters team. LCoH Sherlock LG and LCpl Hayden RHG/D were both selected for the Apprentice team, and WO1 Newman, SCpl Macdonald and LCpl Hamilton (reserve) for the Masters team. All individuals performed to a high standard, with the teams achieving a creditable 3rd place overall in the combined Master and Apprentice team shoeing event, beating amongst others, the England and the Wales teams. At the International later on in the year, the same Masters team came 5th overall, taking such distinguished scalps as the Norwegian, Canadian and American teams. In July, LCoH Hamilton, again selected for the Army team, travelled to Beteili-
gung Sand, Schönbühl in Switzerland for a competition hosted by the Swiss Army. The competition was held over two days and, despite notable differences in the style of shoeing expected by the European judges, the Army team came 2nd out of 8 teams from across Europe, losing only to the hosts. During the year, the Forge was sad to have to say goodbye to both LCoH Roberts LG and LSgt Dean. Both have left the Army to embark on a career in farriery, with LCoH Roberts returning to his home territory in North Wales, and LSgt Dean planning to practise his craft slightly further a field. He was last reported to be shoeing horses in tempero atures of -20 C in Scandinavia.
AGC (SPS) Detachment he Detachment has had a successful year technically, passing the Measurement of Fighting Power (MFP) Inspection with flying colours. The interface between the Regiment and the Detachment, systems, processes and the passage of information continues to improve on a daily basis. The Pay Office is now fully established on the 5th floor; it is the biggest office and will shortly have the fewest staff with the imminent posting of LCpl Hewitt, Sgt Bonner having been ‘trawled’ and deploying to Iraq in April and WO2 Postings completing his service in September. The Director of the AGC and SO1, HQ 4th Division visited on separate occasions and were shown round Hyde Park Barracks and entertained by the whole Detachment in Tattersalls.
It has been a busy year for sport and adventure training. Captain M B Sadler led from the front in sailing for the Corps, in competing and surviving the Handy Hunter course and in touring with the golf team in America. LCpl Hewitt continued to play Corps football
throughout the year; LCpl Finn joined London district SPS Branch adventure training in America and won the allround sports personality at the London District sports day; LCpl Gray and Pte Ashton deployed to exotic Newquay with the Regiment; LCpl Veeren completed in the London Marathon (slowly in over 4 hours) and Pte Ashton sailed back from Majorca on HMS Westminster. WO2 (Pied Sniper) Postings proved that the AGC can shoot by killing over 100 rats in the ‘Rattle’ over a six week period and winning a raffle for the timed falling plate competition at Bisley. Academically, Captain Sadler completed his MBA, WO2 Reast passed exams towards her psychology degree, Sgt Green and LCpl Veeren continue to study for their Humanities and Law Degrees respectively and LCpl Gray is studying Sage Accounting. The Detachment said farewell to WO2 Reast, Sgt Bowie, Sgt Staple, LSgt Girling, LCpls Finn, Gray and Colin,
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
and welcomed WO2 Smith, Sgts Bonner and Dignan, LSgts Williams and Grundy, Pte Ashton and Jesse (son of LCpl Raratabu). Fertility in the Detachment is high; LSgt Williams should have given birth by the time this goes to print, LCpl Raratabu is due in April and three of the wives are due mid year. Our good wishes go to you all.
Regimental Training in Thetford
LCoH Jaworski - It was this big, honest.
Another fine mess you’ve got me into.
SCpl Sharpe looks for chocolate.
“If we sit here long enough, something‘s bound to happen.”
Give me back my horse.
Windsor Iron Horses.
It wasn’t me, honest.
Another good night out for the Troop Leaders.
Tpr Holand making his presence felt.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Ceremonial Season 2005
All the Queenâ€™s Horses..
Maj Goodwin-Hudson feeling the strain.
The Major General no doubt congratulating the Medical Officer on his fine riding
Maj Whatley catching up. Major Generalâ€™s Inspection.
The Life Guards moving as one.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Tpr Baksh on Somerset the horse with only one eye.
WOs2 Heaton and Fortune on the Chinese State Visit.
Capt Edwards - Everyone else is wrong, Iâ€™m right.
WO2(SCM) Thomas draws swords.
The Life Guards on the Norwegian Royal Visit.
The Blues and Royals Standard Party on the State Opening of Parliament.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
The Commanding Officer on Arctic.
The RCM showing off.
The RVO in action.
CoH MacNamara - any fool can get wet!
The Officers formed up on Rotten Row for a Kit Ride Pass Off.
Musn Appleby at Summer Camp.
LCpl Ronasa at Annual Training.
LCpl Puddifoot in his monkey man outfit for the Musical Ride.
You must have a Polo somewhere!
The Forge hard at work at Annual Training
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
The Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess n our return from a well earned Christmas break, the mess calendar kicked off in earnest with the Commanding Officer’s ‘State of the Nation’ dinner. A sweepstake was opened as to the eventual length of the speech which lasted a very impressive 56 minutes. As ever, the evening was a huge success, and the Mess looked splendid with all its finery on view for a Regimental dinner.
March as always was a quiet month due to the fast-approaching ceremonial season and all the preparations involved. We hosted the Major General Commanding London District after his inspection of the Regiment in Hyde Park. This year’s parade involved only the Officers and Warrant Officers riding as, due to the stables rebuild, a number of horses remained at grass. This meant some emergency riding drills for the Warrant Officers, as there would be no hiding place on the parade! We also saw the return to Knightsbridge of The Blues and Royals Warrant Officers past and present for their annual dinner. The event was greatly enjoyed, and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2006. We said farewell to a number of members on completion of twenty-two years service. They were WOs2 Weller and Dixon LG, SCpl Welsh RHG/D, CoH Halfhide RHG/D (finally) and Sgt Gibbons. A dinner was held in their honour with guests travelling from afar to enjoy a fantastic evening. In July, we surprised ourselves and changed the Regimental calendar for the better with our deployment to Regimental training in Norfolk. The events calendar was full and varied as always with the
Commander Household Cavalry, Col Massey, presents LS&GC Medals to CoH Amos, CoH Kendle and LCoH Royston.
with excellent service. The function saw Mess members in some quite outstanding fancy dress outfits sitting down for dinner in a marquee on the square. There followed a disco and Kid Creole and his Fantastic Coconuts providing the entertainment in the gymnasium, which had been made unrecognisable by the use of soft seating and lightGeneral JP Abizaid, Commander US Central Command, and the Regimental Corporal Major. ing. A large number of Mess members most notable event being the games night commented that it was the best function against the Officers’ Mess. After a clash of they had ever attended. heads between two members of opposite sides, the doctor’s whereabouts were We also held the annual football match sought only to see him flying over the top against the Officers’ Mess when the old of an “it’s a knockout” style waterslide at and bold again dug out their boots from mach 4. The Regimental Career Manageretirement to provide us with another ment Officer was then patched up with win. The final event of the year was no long-lasting effects to his looks. Brickhanging. Major Dougie McGregor hung the brick, which was eventually This year’s summer ball was organised taken down in the late hours of the folby SCpl Chambers LG and held at the lowing morning. Carlton Hotel. 240 people sat down for an excellent meal in black tie and ball The senior mess members are: gowns entertained by The Band of The Life Guards, followed by a return to the WO1 (RCM) KJ Poynter LG Mess and dancing into the small hours. WO1 (BM) JR Marshall RHG/D WO2 (RQMC) C Elliott RHG/D October and November were taken up WO2 (SCM) P Thomas RHG/D with an extremely busy period of State WO2 (SCM) L Heaton LG Ceremonial forcing Mess socials on to WO2 (SCM) K Fortune RHG/D the back burner until December. Things WO2 G Gardner LG then started in earnest with a Christmas WO2 RHG/D D Jenkins LG party, organised by the Regimental CorWO2 (BCM) R Howe RHG/D poral Major and the Mess manager, CoH WO2 (RAOWO) A Smith AGC Doga RHG/D, who, along with his team, WO2 S Postings LG. have provided us throughout the year
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Musical Ride 2005 By Captain R J Moger, The Blues and Royals s the officer commanding the Musical Ride, there are a number of times throughout the year when it becomes necessary to disseminate a list of Ride commitments for the forthcoming period to those who ‘own’ those will be in the Ride. Visits from the Ride officer are about as welcome as from the Grim Reaper himself, as the start of the Ride’s season heralds the loss of able men for large periods of the year that are never quiet for the squadrons. It is thus a case of handing over a list of dates, listening to the problems that invariably arise and then walking out and on to the next office to repeat the exercise. True to form, the 2005 season caused its fair share of angst and yet, in hindsight, it has been a fantastic success starting with the Patchetts Show in May and rounding (or perhaps riding) off to a standing ovation at Olympia in December.
There have been a few changes in personalities during the year including Captain A H James LG and SCpl Bell MC RHG/D, the Ride Officer and Ride Corporal of Horse respectively. However, the ever scrupulous Riding Master, Captain R G Waygood LG, ensured that quality was a consistent feature of the Ride performances. The routine has also been brought up to date, and it now increases the role of the ‘monkeymen’. Among other skills, they jump lances and stand on saddles for periods of the performance. This has gone down very well with audiences indicated by the applause at the sight of the Ride galloping out of the arena pursued by the ‘monkeymen’ carrying the flags of the four nations of the United Kingdom, to the strains of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. This finale music was not the choice of some of the Ride who rather curiously would have preferred to close the shows to ‘It’s raining men’...each to their own I guess.
at Guards Polo Club in July. The Chatsworth Show signalled the onset of August and another excellent series of performances by the Ride, although LCpl Pope LG’s effort to get out of the Ride by ‘slightly’ damaging his car was considered a poor attempt. August also provided a good opportunity for the Riding Staff and particularly for CoH Adams LG to run a B2 riding course, which many of the Ride successfully completed. To suggest that the Ride was saving the best to last would be infair given the overall success of the 2005 season; however the London International Horse of the Year Show at Olympia drew accolades on a scale seldom witnessed in the history of the Musical Ride. The newly choreographed Ride including the flagbearing, saddle-standing ‘monkeymen’, was broadcast in its entirety on live television by Eurosport and was featured in a highly complimentary article in Horse and Hound. With CoH Ashdown RHG/D working busily to ensure the smooth coordination of events behind the scenes, the men of the Ride performed to the very highest standard in the limelight of the main arena, completely eclipsing the preceding display of dressage by the stylishly chic Garde Republicaine from France. The new members of the Ride including Tprs Evans RHG/D, Veness RHG/D and Har-
ris LG slotted in effortlessly. CoH Adams made his first successful appearance as a ‘monkeyman’, and thankfully the split in his breeches did not lead to the appearance of any other attentiongrabbing part of his anatomy. The Commanding Officer decided to make an appearance, not only requisitioning the Ride Officer’s horse for one performance, but also up-staging him by following the ‘monkeymen’ through the corridor of lances held aloft by the sixteen outriders. The Ride welcomed many people as visitors to their stables, though the greatest interest was undoubtedly shown by The Duchess of Cornwall, who spent a considerable time meeting both men and horses. It was a pleasant way to end both a fantastic week and round off an outstanding season, and was a fitting tribute to all the hard work and commitment demonstrated by every member of the Ride throughout the year,
As for ‘raining men’, the only involuntary dismount of the year was by Tpr Jani LG at The Hertfordshire County Show in May, though the new Ride Officer, Captain R J Moger RHG/D, might also have been included in this small group if anyone had actually spotted him roll off his fallen horse behind the scenes at Olympia. No one did, so the event will remain unrecorded. After the pleasant season opener at the Patchetts Show, the Ride revelled in the early summer sun at Royal Windsor during May, while the Drum horse and trumpeters wallowed in the torrential downpours at the Cartier International
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
The Musical Ride at Chatsworth House, August 2005.
The Band of The Blues and Royals
aving recovered from the feast of St Stephen and all things associated with gathering winter fuel, the Band returned to Knightsbridge to see at first hand what the New Year had to offer up in 2005. It came as no surprise to see that it was pretty much business as usual with the Trumpeters very much in demand from venues as varied as the Hilton Hotel to the Banqueting House and the hardy perennial South Bank Show Awards. The Band, not to be left behind, kept itself busy by fulfilling its commitment to the Windsor Castle Support Guard roster.
being refurbished prior to being reopened in time for the 2006 Royal Racemeeting. It was a miserable week weather-wise and full of the teething problems that any enterprise on the scale of Royal Ascot can be faced with when moved lock, stock and barrel out of, and away from, its normal theatre. Later that month we visited Kneller Hall to participate in one of the fortnightly concerts along with the Bands of The Life Guards and The Royal Irish Regiment. This was in the presence of the Countess of Wessex, and our trumpeters heralded her arrival with a Royal Salute.
With no Band trip abroad before Christmas, it fell to a number of the Band’s skiers to make the journey to Livigno, Italy, to adventure train alongside a comparably sized detachment from The Band of The Life Guards. All the skiers very much enjoyed the trip away, and our thanks go to Sgt Bob Mitchell of the Coldstream Guards Band for allowing us to employ his skills as their instructor on the slopes.
After the Ceremonial hotspot month of June, we rapidly happened upon July, where the trumpeters featured strongly in the World War II Celebrations at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and then went on to mark the arrival of Her Majesty on Horse Guards Parade prior to the celebrations which followed.
The undoubted highlight in March was the Freedom of Windsor Parade where the Regiment marched with its two Bands from Combermere Barracks down to the Windsor and Eton Riverside Station via the Guildhall and the Mayor. Varying workshops with schools and colleges, along with the inevitable Windsor Guards and a smattering of orchestral engagements, put paid to a cold, wet and windy month, which pre-empted April and the beginning of the Ceremonial season.
To condense the remaining five months of the year into concentrated form means leaving out the bread and butter stuff which we get so much of and become so used to, but there were highs in this period as well as the arguably mundane. We were privileged to participate in the Royal Visit of The King and Queen of Norway and played as a Mounted Band prior to and during their arrival on Horse Guards. Unusually, we paraded with both Drum horses, and it was superb to see them in front of the Band in all their glory.
The Director of Music and CoH Marsh having a chat about visiting time at the zoo.
Just prior to this event, we went into the recording studio where we recorded our first Compact Disc of marches for many a long year. This will undoubtedly prove to be a popular recording, (marches always are), as will the further recording we made in November which was a recording of much of the Regimental music of The Blues and Royals. This recording covers music that spans three and a half centuries, from the Dragoons and Tangier march composed for fifes and drums in the 1660s to present day compositions such as LCpl North’s march “With Wings as Eagles”, which is dedicated to the men of D Squadron who fought in the second Gulf War. Their
April passed as quickly as it had arrived but not before realising the formation of The Blues and Royals Band Association on which I have written an article for this journal. This month saw all of the necessary inspections and pre-emptory parades prior to and ultimately concluding with the Major General’s. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those from the Band who participated in the Household Division Musician of the Year competition. This took place in early May and was attended by among others, the Major General and other senior officers as well as a panel of adjudicators. Our musicians performed extremely well and rightly earned high praise from the Senior Director of Music for their endeavours. The Band paraded at Royal York, a first for us, as Ascot racecourse is of course
The Bandmaster, WO1 Marshall, during his Khaki Phase in Riding School.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
release dates are likely to be early February and March 2006 respectively. Two events in the month of December underscore what is asked of us as Army musicians, yet underpin what being a Household Cavalry musician is all about. I was asked to take the Band to Sarajevo in Bosnia for a few days, to provide music for the handover of command of the European Union Force (EUFOR) from Britain to Italy. You might wish to read my article on this Balkan excursion later in this Journal, and its ensuing aftermath, as we tried to get back to the UK with a full band in tow. Luckily, we did, and this allows me to pivot nicely into the second event, which was, “A Celebration of The Household Cavalry at Christmas”. With the aid of our colleagues from The Band of The Life Guards, we were able to meet the full expectations of this commitment head on. Meticulous planning on the part of the organisers made the evening’s celebrations one of the highlights of this or any other year. The evening’s crowning glory was the very kind and heartfelt words expressed by Colonel, The Blues and Royals to the Band for having made it back in time to play at this noble and worthy engagement. We offer our congratulations to the outgoing Bandmaster, WO1 Watterson, on his promotion and appointment to Captain and Director of Music. Congratulations are also extended to LCoH Bishop and LCpl Stringfellow on their promotion. Well Done! A very warm welcome to our new Bandmaster, WO1 Marshall, fresh from kit ride. To his wife Meryl and their three children, we extend a very warm welcome and look forward to meeting them
Guess which one got the job of Santa Claus, not the one marked with the arrow!
at the earliest opportunity. We have had two JNCOs come to us on promotion since last year, and we welcome and congratulate LCpl May who has arrived from the Minden Band. We also welcome back and congratulate LCpl Dickinson who has arrived from Catterick with his wife Jane; he is a former member of The Band of The Life Guards and has previously served at Knightsbridge. We also welcome Musns Sherriff, Miller and Wrighton, all of whom have been posted to us direct from the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall. On the family front, we offer our congratulations to LCoH Groves and his wife Karen on the birth of their daughter Jessica May, LCoH Bishop and his wife Helen on the birth of their daughter Millie Antonia and LCpl North and his wife Helen on the birth of their daughter Grace Elizabeth. I wish also to offer our congratulations to LCoH Sewell-Jones on his recent
appointment as Trumpet Major and wish him every success. Also, I would like to extend both my thanks and the thanks of the Band to the outgoing Trumpet Major, SCpl Gough for all that he has achieved while Trumpet Major. He has taken the trumpet team to new heights and set the pace for all those who will follow in his path. SCpl Gough has moved to become Assistant Band Corporal Major and now resides in a grown up office where Classic FM is de rigueur and not Five Live. It would be remiss not to wish Colonel Massey, his wife Cate and their children all the very best in the future. Colonel Massey was right at the vanguard in protecting the future existence of this Band. It bears testament to his ability as both a politician and military commander that we continue to exist in this time of musical cutbacks and the further dilution of a band service that is arguably the envy of the world.
Members of both Bands, Adventurous Training in Livigno, Italy.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Household Cavalry Training Wing By Captain R A Gibbs RHG/D, OC HCTW ver the past year, the Household Cavalry Training Wing (HCTW) revolutionised military equine training through the introduction of “Dutyman 2004”. This modular training programme has been an outstanding success due to the hard work and dedication of my predecessor, Captain M A Avison LG and the HCTW staff. In essence, Khaki Phase 2 training has been split into a number of modules. The training starts with the five-day “Command, Leadership and Management Course” which is compulsory education for promotion to Lance Corporal. This is followed by the Drill phase lasting three weeks, which is combined with National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) key skills. Trainees then move on to driver training at the RAC Training Regiment. If the trainees pass their driving test within the allotted time, they can be sent on the Satisfied Soldier scheme. This involves sending soldiers back to their home towns’ recruitment centres to recruit for the Regiment. The trainees then move on to the three modules of the Khaki ride at HCTW in Windsor. Lectures for the trainees’ education are conducted throughout Phase 2 training and include Regimental history, NVQ skills, saddlery, driver theory and basic horse management and skills.
trainees are still, as before, presented with spurs. Module 2, intermediate riding, runs from Weeks 7 – 11, and consists of riding in brush-polished black kit and saddle. The newly introduced Battlefield Ride occurs in Week 10, and Week 11 is when riding ability, veterinary and stable management skills are tested. Module 3, advanced riding, runs from Weeks 12-14, and consists of riding in highly polished black kits with bobbed nose bands. This phase includes the PreKhaki Pass-off Parade in front of the Riding Master and OC HCTW, followed by the Khaki Pass-off Parade in front of the Commanding Officer, Squadron Leaders and Adjutant. Upon successful completion of the Khaki Phase 2 training, trainees embark on the Phase 3 Kit Ride, which is run by the Squadrons at Hyde Park Barracks.
The past year has been very busy for HCTW, with the staff training twelve rides through Phase 2 training, to provide the squadrons with ninety-one trainees, eight NCOs and five officers. It goes without saying that the effort required of the training staff and riding instructors to produce such consistently high standards pushes the boundaries of excellence.
Module 1, basic riding, is from Weeks 16, and consists of riding in brown kit with brush-polished saddle. In Week 4, Map Reading 2 is taught in the afternoon. Trainees start riding school with green silks on their crash hats, but these are replaced by their Squadron silks in Week 11. At the end of Week 6, the
HCTW regularly moves up to London for State Visits and help with horse turnouts for the bands and squadrons. WO2 (SCM) Gardner and CoH Crichton have been busy with staircase parties for the state banquets and State Visits of Korea and China, the Norwegian Royal Visit and the reception for the Diplomat-
HCTW WO, WO2 Gardner.
ic Corps. OC HCTW commanded splendid staircase parties at the Palace of Westminster for the State Visit of the President of China and the Royal Visit of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway. The successful documentary, The Queen’s Cavalry by the BBC has given the public a great insight into mounted ceremonial training at HCTW. Starring roles included riding instructor, LCoH Golder RHG/D educating the trainees that staying on the horse is the preferred option to a soft landing on the indoor riding school walls, and LCoH Jaworski LG giving an insight into administration, sympathy and compassion. The general public now seem to be well versed with Captain Howell LG’s strict inspections and keen equine eye for “smooth transi-
Marne Kit Ride.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
tions”. Tprs Hookham RHG/D, Forest RHG/D and Van Loon LG kept the soap opera comedy alive for most episodes, particularly when mounting and involuntarily dismounting from their horses.
Training passed out at Bodney Camp instructed by CoH Downing LD. This was more of an achievement than might be imagined because the cleaning rooms had no lights!
The Holkham beach ride during Regimental Training with its canter through the surf and seeing the horses have their annual bath, was filmed with interest by the TV crew. Luckily the cameras were not rolling when a lady in a car enquired if the horses were still out on the beach. Captain N P G Van Cutsem LG politely answered the mystery visitor as, to his embarrassment, he was wearing nothing more than a skimpy towel. Who would have guessed that The Duchess of Cornwall would be in the area for a beach walk? Maybe SCpl Payne LG screaming at everyone to stand still or the extensive police escort and Royal Bentley might have been too subtle an indication. The Drill ride for the first time at Regimental
The battlefield ride to Sedgemoor, which has been added to the modular programme with great success, saw Vagabond reminding everyone just who really was in charge! During the busy ceremonial period, tours were substituted to the Imperial War Museum and Apsley House owned by the Duke of Wellington. While the busy training is relentless, the break away to do driver training allows staff to clear their minds with career courses and adventurous training. WO2 (SCM) Gardner LG is now fully qualified after passing the much acclaimed All Arms Unit Safety Officers’ Course. CoH Downing RHG/D and LCpl Wharton RHG/D successfully completed their
clay pigeon target instructor and safety officers’ course, an asset for teaching trainees at Regimental Training. However the term “Hitting a barn door…” will undoubtedly still apply! CoH Kendle LG is to attend his SQMC’s course, and LCoH Wood LG and LCpl Hancox RHG/D are now Rock Leaders. LCpl Hancox can also now instruct the trainees through map reading, a vital asset for HCTW, and LCoH Williams LG has qualified as a Unit Fire NCO. HCTW has had a very successful year and continues to improve with all the hard work of the staff. ‘Dutyman 2004’ has undoubtedly improved Phase 2 training and the standard of the trainees as they pass out and join the squadrons. The Wing will always strive to improve training even more and continue to make it relevant to get the best out of the trainees.
Winter Training Troop inter Training Troop reformed at the Defence Animal Centre on 4th October 2005, with twenty horses and a new JNCO in LCpl Pope LG. He left in November to go back to the Musical Ride and was replaced by LCpl Killeen RHG/D.
Due to the enforcement of the Hunting Act, Winter Training Troop has undergone a series of changes this year, with more emphasis being placed on equitation and competition than in previous years. However, Winter Training Troop horses have regularly been out trailhunting with the Belvoir, Cottesmore and Quorn Hounds. Many Tprs have had their first day in Leicestershire this year, including Tpr Raj LG who made history by becoming the first Fijian ever to go out with the Cottesmore, as well as the first to fall off! There has been a mixture of old and young horses out hunting, with many of the young horses performing very well indeed, and the benefit will, hopefully, be seen at Annual Training.
team of ringers from the Honourable Artillery Company.
Officer on Bob who took the Heavyweight class by half a length.
The Wessex Yeomanry Race was again a huge success, with Major J G ReesDavies LG, Captain R S Evetts RHG/D, Captain Edwards and Lieutenant B J Vestey RHG/D all finishing in the top ten. There were only three involuntary dismounts by Captains R A Gibbs and R J Moger RHG/D and Lieutenant S P Deverell RHG/D who did so twice! Fortunately, no one suffered any lasting injury, and all concerned were able to enjoy the remainder of the weekend at a cottage near Bibury.
Winter Training Troop is now looking forward to the Melton Hunt Club Ride on 18th February and the Regimental Ride on 26th February, which will be held at Orton Park in the Cottesmore Country, by kind permission of Charlie Gordon Watson MFH.
The Ingarsby Ride took place on 9th January 2006, and the Troop was represented by the Winter Training Troop
The ‘Piccadilly Cowboys’ comprising Captain T W C Edwards LG, Captain A K MacEwan RHG/D, SCpl Welsh RHG/D and LCpl Pope LG were the runners up in the Coxwell Rogers Cup at the Cotswold Hunt Team Chase. Despite this event being at the start of November, a very satisfactory result was achieved with us beating all the King’s Troop teams, and only falling foul of a
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
A final thank-you must go to all the support staff at Knightsbridge who facilitated the continuing success of the Winter Training Troop. The Saddlers’ Shop, the Forage NCO, LCsoH Costain RHG/D and Clare LG, as well as the two SQMCs, have all helped in a very extended supply chain.
Eight nervous officers and a bottle of port!
Equitation By Captain R G Waygood, The Life Guards he team jumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show did not go our way, and we only secured 3rd place with the Equitation Warrant Officer, WO2 Jenkins, having an uncharacteristic pole down on his trusty steed, Ramillies. Ramillies has been a true servant for many years, competing for the last time at the grand old age of eighteen. It has been rather like watching the old bull and the young bull over the years; the only question was which was which? There was, however, consolation for me as for, the first time at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, there was an individual prize for the fastest clear round, which I was able to scoop up on HM The Queen’s horse, Peter Pan. To my delight, the first prize was a saddle donated by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers which, after what I can only put down to a moment of weakness, I donated as a prize at Summer Camp. It was subsequently won by Tpr Pope LG on Open Day.
The Royal Tournament Show Jumping continued the Mounted Regiment’s domination. I managed to win two classes and the coveted Show masters trophy, but CoH Arkley LG outdid me on Wykeham in the prestigious Queen’s Cup, taking a well-deserved first place and winning a saddle. CoH Nicholls took third spot in the same competition. I managed to secure a Services’ jumping final for the top 8 finalists from the Royal Tournament Show Jumping to compete in a Services’ class at The Royal International Horse Show at Olympia. The class proved to be a great success with 4 of the 8 qualifiers coming from the Mounted Regiment. The class was won by Major Cathy Vale, Royal Army Medical Corps,
with me second and LCpl Hume riding Dior a very creditable third. The class was such a success that there is talk of it being held as a main performance next year with 12 competitors taking part. Summer Camp brought the equine stars to the fore and gave the Gladiators a chance to do combat. The Handy Hunter presented many thrills and spills,
LCoH Betts riding Zingaro at the Larkhill Horse Trials.
running over a superb course built by CoH Adams LG. All went well with wins in the Officers’ and Senior Ranks’ by Captain R A Evetts RHG/D and CoH Bye LG while, in the Junior Ranks’,
LCoH Bridges and LCpl Douglas LG had a notable success. The real battles at Camp were contested between the Good (Major M P Goodwin-Hudson RHG/D), The Bad (LCpl Pope LG) and most defiantly the Ugly, that Lee Van Cleef look-alike Major A J L Fox-Pitt LG. Major Goodwin-Hudson had everything his own way in the build-up to Open Day, winning the Senior Ranks’ Show Jumping and the Eventers’ Grand Prix, but things were to change on Open Day itself. Tpr Pope from The Life Guards Squadron won the Regimental show jumping,
The Riding Staff, ‘The Blade Mafia’.
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Captain J P Core LG was the highest placed officer and CoH Griffiths was the highest placed senior rank. With the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Grand Prix, which mixed show jumping and cross country, competitors were asked to jump a course of show jumps and then jump a short course of Cross Country fences returning to the main arena to jump another five show jumps, all against the clock. It proved to be a real thriller; the crowd went wild when LCpl Pope won gaining himself a saddle - Major Goodwin-Hudson was not so much wild as livid when he did not win. I was joined in the commentary box by Ex-LCpl Burge who, like me, can’t stop talking, which kept the Mexican waves flowing and the crowd happy. The Regiment was lucky enough to host the British Tent Pegging Championships during Open Day, which ensured a top quality field. The honours went to our very own Captain M A Avison LG who won the individual championship, and the team competition went to the Mounted Regiment’s A team
of Captains Avison and De St JohnPryce RHG/D and Tpr Viljoen LG. Captain D R Boyd RHG/D retired from the Army in 2005 after serving for over 27 years. His last post was as OC Equine Division at the Defence Animal Centre. He now holds an appointment with the International League for the Protection of Horses. Captain Boyd’s first love was eventing, and he will always be fondly remembered by the old guard for eventing a notoriously strong horse called Lincoln City, which he rode at the Windsor Three Day Event on a number of occasions. The Riding Staff also said farewell to WO2 Weller LG in 2005 who had such an influence on the Riding Staff over the years and will be sorely missed. At Summer Camp each year, his course building expertise has been invaluable; give him a piece of bailer twine and a knife and the man can make anything. He now has his own successful Cross Country fence building business, and was seen last year course building at Burghley.
I have only served a modest 27 years but, since my time at the Mounted Regiment, I have not before seen such a dedicated and talented younger element of the Riding Staff; we are looking forward to a bright future. They have represented the Regiment throughout the past year achieving many successes but, most importantly, they have improved in all areas of horsemanship and equitation, showing a real understanding of the tasks in hand. As the infamous Lieutenant Colonel Alec Jackson MBE formerly LG and Riding Master for eighteen years said, “an instructor who competes regularly invariably makes the better instructor by putting quality and depth into his own teaching.” In 1954, Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile and, within the next two years, a further fifty people ran a mile in under four minutes. Why? They had an image in Roger Bannister. So come on the Riding Staff - who is going to be the next around Badminton? I am not getting any younger and certainly not any better.
Household Cavalry Recruiters Captain M R Kitching CoH Telling Household Cavalry Regiment Combermere Barracks WINDSOR Berkshire SL4 3DN Tel: 01753 755213 Fax: 01753 755073 Mob: 07748 288611 CoH D Ansell Ground Floor St. George’s Court Bloomsbury Way LONDON WC1A 2SH
CoH D Davies 181 Stratton Street BURTON-ON-TRENT Staffordshire DE14 1BN
CoH M Bestwick 2 Magdalen Street NORWICH Norfolk NR3 1HX
Tel: 01283 621172
CoH D Brown Sharpshooters House 1 Mitcham Road CROYDON CR0 3RU Tel: 020 8688 7226
Tel: 020 7305 4301 CoH S Pickard 3 Lord Street OLDHAM Lancashire OL1 3HB Tel: 0161 627 3233 CoH C Eulert 3 Saville Place Borough Road SUNDERLAND SR1 1PA Tel: 0191 565 0542
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Household Cavalry News Laying up of Standards Her Majesty The Queen graciously presented the Household Cavalry with New Standards and a new Guidon on 21st May 2003 on Horse Guards. Most of the old Standards were laid up in Chapels and Churches around the country in 2004. On 22nd May 2005, we saw the Laying up of one of The Life Guards Squadron (Union) Standards at Milton (Marholm Church), Peterborough by courtesy of Sir Philip NaylorLeyland Bt. The last Life Guards Squadron (Union) Standard will be laid up at Eton College on 23rd April 2006. Left to right: Lieutenant G E Naylor-Leyland, Colonel The Life Guards, Lieutenant Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland Bt.,Captain M Naylor-Leyland MC.
Freedom of Windsor and Bosnia Medal Parades By Captain C J L Speers, The Blues and Royals wo events in the 2004/05 calendar warranted dusting off the Army Drill Manual and brought a rise in volume on the Combermere Barracks parade square. The first was the D Squadron Operation TELIC (Iraq) medals parade in December 2004; the second was the Household Cavalry Regiment exercising its right to the Freedom of Windsor in March 2005.
Some eighteen months after D Squadron returned from Op TELIC 1, the Army Medals Office completed production of the medals, an event that warranted a parade in commemoration. The RCM, WO1 O’Conner, was instructed to keep it short and simple. The result was a parade in combat dress requiring only two rehearsals. The week before the parade saw ex-members of D Squadron
The Commanding Oficer leads the Regiment through Windsor.
LCoH Griffiths and Sqn on the Long Walk.
The Standard passes The Castle.
returning from far and wide and at 1400 on 18th December 2004, 112 members of D Squadron were drawn up awaiting the arrival of the presenting officers. Invitations had been sent out to families and friends, and 150 spectators were housed under the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess’s newly purchased gazebos. Both Major General S J L Roberts, General Officer Commanding London District and
The Major General presents LCoH Hartshorn with his medal.
The Band of The Life Guards
Household Cavalry News
Brigadier J Page, Commander 16th Air Assault Brigade, had agreed to present medals and were greeted on arrival by the Commanding Officer and Major R C Taylor LG. The Major General started at the front while the Brigade Commander began with the rear rank and, after fortyfive minutes, all medals had been pinned on the proud chests of the members of the Squadron. The Major General addressed the parade and the spectators mentioning many of the issues to do with the deployment to Iraq and the effect it had had on soldiers and their families. The parade came to a close as Major Taylor marched his Squadron past the presenting officers. It was to the credit of the tailors that not a single medal fell off as the Squadron left the square. A buffet reception followed in Charlie’s Bar attended by presenting officers, the recipients and their families. The afternoon proved a poignant reminder of what had taken place eighteen months previously but, more importantly, closed another chapter of the Regiment’s operational history. The Freedom of Windsor can be exercised by both Regiments of the Household Cavalry and was last done in 1997. In 2005, it was exercised to acknowledge the contribution of HCR soldiers to the community, and to acknowledge their civilised behaviour in addition to recognising the continuing service the Regiment undertakes on Operations.
Parading through the centre of Windsor required more preparation than a medals parade, and planning started early and much liaison was carried out with the Windsor and Maidenhead Police. It was projected that we would require some 165 policemen on the parade day and a reduced commitment of 105 policemen for the early morning rehearsal. This immediately threw up some significant logistic issues of where the police could base the forward tea urn and burger bar. The imminent deployment of the Regiment to Canada set the date of the parade at 13th March 2005, and so the RSM and the Adjutant started their preparations. Four rehearsals were planned culminating in a 0500 hours early morning rehearsal in No2 dress with rifles, and accompanied by both A vehicles and mounted dutymen. The residents of Windsor received something of a shock the Thursday before the parade as they were woken at 0515 by The Bands of The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals but, due to a campaign pre-warning all residents, only a handful of complaints were lodged. At 1000hrs on Saturday, 13th March, Lieutenant Colonel C B B Clee RHG/D set the parade off through the gates of Combermere Barracks. Four mounted dutymen lead the parade followed by the Command team, two Scimitars and a Spartan with the relevant standard pre-
ceding each of the A & B Squadrons’ and C & D Squadrons’ packets, and the Regimental bands were placed at the one third and two thirds points along the column. Four more mounted dutymen brought up the rear of the column and an ambulance followed at the very back. We called a five minute break on the Short Walk, before turning down the main road and going on to the Mayor’s office. The Mayor, accompanied by the Silver Stick, took the salute from his balcony, before the column proceeded past the castle and came to a halt in the station car park. The residents of Windsor turned out in force, and the route was lined from start to finish, with the end result being an impressive show of support by the public and a very smart and sharp turn-out by the Regiment. All personnel returned to Barracks by bus and then lunched with the Mayor and the families in the Combermere Barracks gymnasium; a celebration that carried on into the evening. Being granted the right to march through Windsor is an honour that resulted in an impressive day, only magnified by the support shown by the residents showing their pride in the strong connection between town and the Household Cavalry. Long may that connection and support remain.
Exercise SUMAN WARRIOR By Lieutenant D L O Crosthwaite-Eyre, The Blues and Royals xercise SUMAN WARRIOR is a Five Powers Defence Agreements (FPDA) annual exercise. The FPDA was agreed in 1971 which committed Singapore, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand to consult in the event of an attack on Singapore or Malaysia.
The aim of Ex SUMAN WARRIOR 05 was to enhance the inter-operability of the FPDA’s armies and allow them to gain a better understanding of each other's organisation and capabilities. The exercise also aimed to increase mutual understanding between the
Household Cavalry News
armed forces of the FPDA countries and to enable the exchange of professional expertise among the participants. Major P A Bedford RHG/D worked in HICON where he took on the role of SO2 ISTAR at brigade level, whilst I and CoH P Stainsby RHG/D worked in LOCON where they represented the Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR) as well as attached ISTAR capabilities during the CPXs. Major Bedford coordinated the ISTAR planning for the brigade, which left me and CoH Stainsby faced with the slightly daunting task of running the battle on the ground.
This year, the host nation was the UK, but, for various financial and logistical (meeting the Australians and New Zealanders half way) reasons, the exercise was held in Kuantan on the eastern coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The UK contingent, consisting of Headquarters 1st Mechanised Brigade staff, a large administrative and command element from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, three intrepid Household Cavalrymen from C Squadron as well as a number of augmentees for the exercise, departed early on the morning of 23rd September but were not to arrive on the East coast of Malaysia for another thirty-five hours.
The RAF outdid themselves yet again; we were required to arrive at Brize Norton seven hours prior to take off, followed by a seven hour flight to Dubai where we were held for two hours before another seven hour push on to Kuala Lumpur. Flying directly in to Kuantan would have been far too easy, so we were then put on coaches for another five hours! Arriving very late on the 24th at the base of Malaysia’s 4th Mechanised Brigade, we were greeted by 35-degree heat and 90 percent humidity. The RAF was of course, as is customary, yet again voted the nation’s favourite airline! (The return journey was just as successful, only this time with more delays and a couple of hours to cool our heels in “the yard” – a wire encircled dusty courtyard - at Bahrain Airport, unfortunate for those who were hoping to benefit from cheap duty free!). Sunday morning saw the five FPDA nations parade on the drill square for the opening ceremony, with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards demonstrating to the FPDA nations with much pride and finesse how to “get on the heel”. They were marched on by the Regiment’s Corp of Drums, which had been kitted out splendidly in Tropical No 2 Dress that had been made for the occasion. Formalities over, we moved to the gymnasium where the rest of the day was given over to setting the scene for the exercise, as each nation sent a representative to the front of the (very hot) gym to give an overview of their nation’s army. References to our recent Ashes victory, of course, took pride of place in the UK’s brief, much to the Australians’ horror and the Kiwis’ delight. On Monday, we were back in the gym for several more lectures from each of the nations, to give an insight into recent operational experiences and lessons learned. Australia spoke on the Solomon Islands, New Zealand on Afghanistan, Malaysia on Somalia, Singapore on conducting post tsunami aid relief and the UK on Iraq. All were excellent briefs, however, all exercise attendees were now starting to look very soggy and drawn (it reached over 40 degrees in the gym that day) and we were looking forward to getting out on our visit to the jungle on Tuesday. This was an excellent package on which the Malaysian Army had clearly spent a great deal of time and effort. It included, among many other things, an insight into the Malaysian Jungle Warfare and Tactics course which left me thinking I was extremely grateful we were there as friends and allies! However, not to be outdone by Malaysian expertise, the UK had invited two Gurkha sergeants from Brunei to let everyone know that we
CoH Stainsby trying to speed up communications with the Antipodeans.
were more than ready to hold our own in the jungle as well, and the Gurkhas did us proud. The day also gave us the chance to see the Malaysian instructors slaughter and cook various wildlife – including a live snake, a cat and a monkey. Your intrepid Household Cavalry representatives were, for some inexplicable reason, notable for their absence when it was time for the barbecue. Wednesday and Thursday saw us move in to the weightier phase of the exercise as we started looking at Non Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO). This started off with a Tactical Exercise without Troops (TEWT) and MapEx, and was followed by the planning process as we built up for the Command Post Exercise (CPX) on the Friday. The CPX was a long hot day, but extremely informative and interesting. Only a handful of people involved in the CPX had experience of NEO, so it was a huge learning experience for all those involved. And, of course, the armies of five different nations had the rare and unique chance to work alongside one another, to experience each other’s modus operandi and share information and doctrine. CoH Stainsby, C Squadron’s signals maestro, was less interested in those lofty ideals, however, and had great fun mocking the Australians’ voice procedure! Now we were truly in the swing of things, there was no respite as we headed straight into another TEWT, this time for Joint Offensive Operations, out on the ground as opposed to on a map. We moved around three different stands in and around the jungle outside Kuantan in groups of about ten, examining the ground and discussing tactics. A lot of the theoretical planning was taking place at battle group level, and the five member nations’ commanding officers were taking centre stage during the TEWT, but it was a fascinating chance to see how planning at this level takes place. After a brigade-level Rock drill (a form of
rehearsal or wargame) on the Sunday afternoon, the offensive operations CPX started and continued until 2200 hrs. A quick rest followed and we were back in our seats on Monday morning ready to continue. This was the hardest our Household Cavalry team had to work owing to the nature of our role as Formation Reconnaissance. We were placed – figuratively - right out in front of all five nations from where we were needed to feed timely information up to the exercising Battle Groups. We were also used to feed most of the serials into the exercise and so were kept extremely busy. The end of the CPX heralded the start of the closing party. The Grenadiers served an excellent barbecue and provided a seemingly endless supply of cold beer. Each nation had been asked in advance to prepare some post dinner entertainment. The Kiwis were first up to the stage whence they gave a very impressive and spine-jangling haka. They were followed by the Grenadiers who presented a skit on – you guessed it – Australia’s loss of the Ashes followed by a very amusing blind date. This was all given and taken in very good humour and no (heavy) objects were thrown! Singapore and Malaysia both opted for traditional theatre and dance respectively. The Australians finished up with a very funny Steve Irwin “Croc Hunter” sketch. Nothing encapsulated each member nation’s personality and differences as the juxtaposition of the British careering around the stage, mop-on-head and pillow-up-jumper impersonating Shane Warne and the eerie formality and beauty of the traditional Malaysian dancing. But these are the differences that make us unique as members of the FPDA and are the reason that Ex SUMAN WARRIOR was very worthwhile and a real success. Next year’s SUMAN WARRIOR will be hosted by Australia and, although it will be mainly focused on logistics, a minor HCR involvement would certainly add a bit of “je ne sais quoi”!
Household Cavalry News
Tales from a Damaged Country Snapshots from Eight Months in the Democratic Republic of Congo By Colonel P J Tabor, The Blues and Royals orking with the United Nations, of which I had no previous experience, was always going to be interesting and unusual. When I handed over the reins of the Command and Staff Trainer (South) in Warminster in June 2004, an operational tour was a certainty, as there were still ten months before I was due to take over my current post. As there were no jobs for colonels in Iraq, I arrived in Kinshasa as Chief of Staff (COS) (designate) of the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), called MONUC - the Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies à la République Démocratique du Congo, on 14th September 2004.
The DRC, formerly Zaire, is one the world’s poorest nations. 1700 kms from East to West and 1600 kms from North to South, it is also one of Africa’s largest countries. Since the Belgians left precipitately in 1960, decline has been rapid. Vast mineral wealth has been squandered, infrastructure has been largely overtaken by rainforest, there are few paved roads or railways, and it takes seventeen days by boat from Kinshasa to Kisangani from where there are still another 800 kms to the eastern border. It is, however, a stunningly beautiful country especially in the east where it borders Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The UN has had observers in the DRC since 1999 and combat troops since 2002. The legacy of five years of war is a continuing humanitarian disaster with huge numbers of displaced people. About 3.5 million people have died from the consequences of war, specifically from disease and malnutrition. MONUC is the UN’s largest mission tasked with providing stability up to and beyond the country’s first democratic elections planned for this year. MONUC has two other major tasks: bringing peace to the north-eastern province of Ituri and repatriating the ExFAR/Interahamwe, the genocidaires responsible for the mass killings of Rwandan Tutsis in 1994. The UN sanctioned a force of 17000 troops from over 50 nations to control specific areas in the east. Three brigades are deployed in North and South Kivu and Ituri and a fourth in and around the capital, Kinshasa. Other major tracts of the country, specifically Katanga, are lawless and virtually unmonitored. MONUC requested a further brigade for Katanga but without success, and so only about 40 observers patrol a province three times the size of France.
Household Cavalry News
The UK’s contribution to MONUC was a Colonel and four Lieutenant Colonels: me as Chief of Staff, and three SO1s: the MA to the Force Commander, Chief Plans and Chief Military Information, (Intelligence), and a fourth Lieutenant Colonel deployed in Bukavu, one of the more volatile eastern cities. Perversely, I enjoyed working with soldiers from so many nations. The mandatory skills for UN officers are that they must speak English and know how to drive. I was astounded at the number barely able to do either. However, so prestigious are these posts deemed by some governments that failure cannot be countenanced. When a senior Chinese officer failed his UN driving test twice and was heading for instant repatriation, the Chinese ambassador visited the Head of the Mission to protest. He stayed. China provides MONUC an engineer company and a hospital! Some officers are there merely to make more money than they will ever earn again. Some are there for a rest. But many make major contributions to this complex peace keeping operation. My personal staff officer was a Chinese major who wrote almost faultless English certainly better than most British officers. He did all my UN administration which is mind-bogglingly complicated and, if not done absolutely correctly, results in claims being rejected and money lost. The most effective staff officers were South African, many of whom had extensive operational experience in Burundi, Congo and previously in Angola. In the Divisional Headquarters we set up in the second half of my tour, I found it was invariably the South Africans who ran day to day operations and ran the intelligence cell, and worked as late as the Chief of Staff! Officers on the staff from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh were hardworking and thorough. I was surprised at how well Indian and Pakistani officers got on in MONUC, but the political difficulties between their two countries within the higher reaches of the UN were unending. Egyptian officers were most effective, very computer literate and spoke excellent English, Russians were also very professional, and I made good friends with a Lt Col Yuri Cherep, a highly amusing logistician with impressive but heavily accented English. UN logistics are civilian-run with military officers providing only limited staff input. Most of the civilian logisticians are ex-military, however, many from Australia and Eastern European countries.
At Rutshuru in the Eastern Congo with some soldiers from one of the former
They were actually very good but that did not prevent constant battles and arguments between the Force and the Directorate of Administration. There is nothing that can really prepare you for Kinshasa. It is a huge disaster of a city with about 13 million inhabitants, 85% officially unemployed. It is marked by appalling poverty, sprawling shanty towns and daily incomes seldom more than one US dollar. In the heady days of the Belgian Congo, Kinshasa was known as ‘Kin’ la belle’, now because it resembles one huge rubbish dump, it is referred to as ‘Kin la poubelle’. There is an intangible atmosphere of menace that surfaces at intervals. You never feel entirely at ease. The locals do not trust the UN whom they accuse of siding with the national enemy, Rwanda, after a nasty incident in and around Bukavu in June 2004. With so little to do, they merely hang around waiting for something to happen. Get involved in the most minor of shunts on the roads – easily done – and an instantaneous, threatening crowd gathers and, if in a white UN vehicle, one is automatically on the back foot. Every day we four Brits, who shared a house in the rather smarter Gombe area of Kinshasa, would travel by UN 4WDs (we each had our own) to the headquarters along either the main thoroughfare of the city, the ‘Trente Juin’, or by the smaller ‘Avenue de Justice’. On the latter, a large school sat on one of the cross roads. Traffic was a nightmare and without traffic lights pretty dangerous not least for the many small children walking to school at 0715. A couple of cripples with crutches would daily approach our cars forced to a stop by
the crush of vehicles and people, and we separately give them about 100 Congolese Francs (US 25c) each. One day, one of our number was involved in an accident, and the crowd materialised as if from nowhere. Things were looking bad until one of ‘our’ beggars pushed through the crowd and loudly claimed it was the fault of the Congolese driver – Chief Military Information was able to drive away in one piece – a little charity goes a long way! Traffic is extremely hairy; few vehicles having brakes, lights or suspension but many driven flat out until they break, a frequent occurrence due to lack of maintenance or the countless pot holes. The rest of the vehicles crawl along as fast as they can, which, in the case of the hugely overloaded and top-heavy lorries, can be a slow as 10 mph. The ubiquitous vans, doubling as minibuses and with round portholes for windows cut out of the bodywork, overflow with people and lean alarmingly. Mostly seriously secondhand VWs, they cram in as many as 20 passengers each paying about 12 pence and are the kings of the road. Belching out exhaust fumes, racing each other along the roads and forcing all other contenders into the storm drains, they stop without warning to pick up and put down passengers. There was only one working traffic light in the city. About half way through my time there, drivers started without warning to obey it, which was very alarming the first time it happened. Wherever one goes, there are vast throngs walking sometimes for miles, many carrying heavy loads on their heads. Despite the poverty, crowds of children appeared every day dressed identically for school and always in immaculately clean clothes. Perhaps the place that filled all UN employees with most dread was the road from Kinshasa to Ndjili Airport. We travelled it frequently always with doors locked and at least two in the car. The mass of people milled around over all four lanes. Traffic often came to a complete standstill and making progress needed nerves of steel. UN cars were jostled and
sometimes kicked by passers by, but nothing more aggressive was done. Alarmingly, the Congolese, sometimes very young children, would dash across in front of you, and one was constantly inches from disaster. Even so, when the traffic allowed, despite a UN speed limit of 40 kph, speed was of the essence. The rule was, if you hit and especially if you thought you might have killed someone, you were to drive as quickly as possible to the next police hut (usually a container with doors cut out of the side) and turn yourself in. One Belgian woman stopped after a fatal accident and was killed by the crowd. Three million people live along this one road in conditions of grinding poverty but even so, on Friday nights, many of them dress up for the night out, with the women especially finely clothed. This was most impressive and an indication of the pride Congolese have in their appearance. The MONUC air component is the third largest ‘air force’ in Africa, with about 65 aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing. Most of the passenger aircraft, a Boeing 727 and some Antonovs, are hired from South Africa and flown by its nationals. The helicopters (MI-25 HINDs, MI-17 HIPs and MI-26 HOOKs) came in two classes: military provided by India and Bangladesh and civilian from the Ukraine. Despite this eclectic mix of airframes, MONUC’s safety record was without blemish. That did not prevent some interesting experiences. My first trip from Kinshasa to Bujumbura, capital of neighbouring Burundi, was one such. Two and a half hours away by HS 125, a small seven-seat executive jet used mainly for long distance casualty evacuation, Bujumbura and Kinshasa were the only night capable airfields in the area. In between, there are nearly 1800 kms of jungle criss-crossed by innumerable rivers. We started back to Kinshasa just as it was getting dark. Levelling out at 45,000 ft, considerably higher than the HS-125 normally flies at, all we could see was lightning in every direction. A red alarm light going off suddenly on the instrument
With Major Wang, Chinese Army, my
panel coincided with the GPS telling us, somewhat disconcertingly, we were 900 kms from any airfield where we could land. The pilot tamed the alarm light by hitting it repeatedly with his hand - out it went and on we flew. Only when we saw the first of Kinshasa’s lights on the horizon did the pilot show how concerned he had been by giving us an ecstatic and relieved thumbs up! These have just been a snapshot of eight months in the ‘Heart of Darkness’. All in all, the whole tour was an extraordinary experience. I would certainly recommend time with the UN – it is fascinating to compare how all the armies do things and how much in common many of us have. The Brits held a disproportionate number of the most influential posts but we worked very hard and undoubtedly ‘punched above our weight’. Our army is highly regarded by many, and it was touching the number who wanted to attend British courses in the UK. I made many friends and came away with very different ideas about many allies and some we have never in the past considered allies. I have to admit that I also had some of my prejudices confirmed about the armed forces of several nations but those I will leave to another day.
A Painting of the UN HQ in Kinshasa under attack during riots in mid 2004.
Household Cavalry News
The Trans 333 By Captain E S Lane Fox, The Blues and Royals arly in 2003, the challenge of the Trans 333 desert Marathon was set upon as an achievable goal by a couple of Officers. The Trans 333 is a foot race over 333km in a different desert each year. To put it in perspective, the race is about 100km longer than the more famous ‘Marathon des Sables’; furthermore, it is non-stop and thus completed in about half the time. Although unlike the ‘Marathon des Sables’, the runners are not required to carry all their food and water. Thus, in short, we would be required to complete 207 miles in no more than 4 days. Tim Eastwood and I began training in Iraq, completing lap after lap of the Shaat Al Arab Hotel complex. By the end of the tour we were doing 15 miles most mornings before breakfast. Once back in the UK, we had a number of issues to resolve such as visas for Niger (we were to run in the southern Sahara), ECG printouts to prove that our hearts were up to the challenge and, most importantly, to test the food we were going to take with us.
We met the other runners in Paris, where we would board the flight to Niger. There were only 29 runners, 6 Brits, 1 Canadian, 2 Italians, with the remainder French. None of the runners appeared extraordinary with the exception of one of the Brits who was 69 – surely we couldn’t come last now. After 5 hours we landed on what looked like the set of the ‘Wild Geese’; the runway was surrounded by mud huts, and there was one brick building – the terminal. Once all the runners and support team were clear of ‘immigration’, we were taken to a local ‘restaurant’ for our welcome brief and document check, after which we were given an hour to repack the kit we wanted with us for the race, before setting off into the desert. The convoy of 4x4s drove long into the night, finally stopping by a large rocky outcrop. Camp was made, a fire lit and, soon afterwards, a stew produced. Fearing the consequences, neither Tim nor I ate much and opted for bed instead. A breakfast of sweet tea and bread awaited us at first light and then it was back into the vehicles for much of that day. Some time late in the afternoon we arrived at Bilima, the start. Again the camp was erected and food was produced. We then sat through a number of briefs in French, with only occasional translations. Then we had to produce our ‘drop bags’ for transportation to the check points (fresh socks, medical kit, food, clean clothes, batteries as well as sleeping
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bags for Check Points 5 and 10 – our rest stops). Once the bags were handed in and we had sorted out our personal kit, we tried to get some rest before the start of the race, 0400 the following morning. At 3am on 21st November, we got up for a breakfast of sweet tea and bread. We now realised that there was no turning back, or more accurately no lift back! The only way we were going to get out of the desert was on our feet. Tim and I had discussed the merits of sprinting for the first 1000m, so that we could have a photo of us leading the race but, when the time came, we just set off into the dark with the other 27 idiots. The race was broken up by a 4x4 every 22km; they would have water and the corresponding ‘drop bags’. The first 3 legs were actually away from home further out into the desert. Once it was light, we preoccupied ourselves with identifying how many sets of tracks were in front of us, and thus our position, 7th at this stage. More crucially, as we were on soft sand, the other issue was to find the firmer patches – of which there never seemed to be any. By 60 km the soft sand was beginning to take its toll on our legs, but we were in 5th place, so embarked on the fourth leg with an hour of sunlight remaining. As darkness fell, we struggled to see the cylumes which marked the course and thus had to resort to the GPS. As we continued throughout the night, with only a break for some coke, sweet tea and a tin of ravioli, a pain in my right knee began to intensify. By the time dawn was breaking, we had made it to the fifth check point, 110 km in and time for our first rest. What felt like a moment of sleep had in fact been about three hours; I woke with a shooting pain in my knee, and began to fear that I couldn’t continue. However, Tim helped me up and passed me the Ibuprofen; two tablets and some hobbling around made all the difference, and twenty minutes later we were packed and on the move again. Initially it was extremely painful, but as the drugs began to work, we continued as before. Check Point 6 was situated at the base of a volcanic mound. Thankfully, as we approached we saw the race doctor’s 4x4; he strapped my knee with tape which eased the pain almost immediately. After 20 minutes, we sighted other runners coming over the horizon, so we packed up and set off again, using the hill as a marker to push away from. En route, we passed another run-
ner, but had lost track of our position, so just concentrated on getting as far in front of him as possible. By Check Point 7 our feet were beginning to suffer. Fortunately, there were no other runners there, so we took the opportunity to sort out our feet and kit. Some blisters were so deep they required a syringe to drain, and the tape was not sticking due to the heat and sweat, so I began to super-glue the Compede strips to the balls of my feet. Once sorted, we set-off into the dark for Check Point 8, the first cut-off point at 60 hours. During the leg, our energy levels began to fall dramatically, in spite of the energy bars and packets of nuts; Tim began to fall asleep and I started to see things in the moonlight. We slowed considerably, talking nonsense to each other. On reaching Check Point 8 just before midnight, we had no choice but to rest. The next planned stop was 44km away but, in that state, we would not have made it; we used our emergency sleeping bag as a blanket and rested for about 3 hours before setting off again. This stop was disappointing, but we wanted to finish above all. The weakness of the previous night lingered through Check Points 9 and 10. The course became very flat and barren, and our progress began to slow as Tim’s knee began to cause him pain. However, the doctor happened to be passing and administered the same treatment he had given me; we continued. There was no need to rest as we had already done so at Check Point 8, so we set out on the third night of the race. Once underway, the energy bars we had been eating on every stage began to cause chronic wind. We were unable to control ourselves and
continued to giggle like a pair of school girls until the next check point. After two hours sleep, we prepared ourselves to set off again; one of the other British runners said that he thought we were in 9th place. This was encouraging; we were determined to maintain or even improve on our top ten placing. Soon after dawn, we passed through the only village on the route, and then an hour or so later reached the high ground where the convoy had stopped on the outward journey. We began to feel that we were making headway. Where as before we had just looked for the next check point, now the finish was almost in sight (well not quite - 70 km away).
Two women arrived at Check Point 12 just after us but only filled their water bottles before leaving. We were now in 11th place; to make matters worse, the women were almost old enough to be our mothers. They were at Check Point 13 when we arrived, but we needed time to re-dress our feet, and we watched as they packed and left. Our chance to catch them lay in a gamble of following the GPS rather than the track. We ended up in the bush, then out on to a field of cobble stones. It was painfully slow and there was no way we could make up the time. We arrived at the final check point at about 9pm; the women had left just before. The stage lasted for an eternity; there was no sprint finish or haze of self congratulation,
just a long painful slog towards a small cluster of lights in the distance. The final stage took us nearly six hours. The pain of the final stage was compounded by our inability to find the finish line. We were to finish at the entrance to the only hotel in Agadez but we couldn’t find it anywhere. After 30 minutes of searching and all humour gone from the situation, Tim thankfully found the hotel and we were finally able to finish. We completed the race in 94 hours and came 11th. Tim and I arrived back in the UK a day later, both in a bad way. We had lost between one and two stone each and had tendonitis in ankles, knees, hips and arms. What was worse, we had paid to do it.
Forward Air Controlling By Corporal of Horse J S Hoggarth, The Life Gurads. 005 has been something of a year of opportunity as far as Forward Air Controlling (FAC) goes, with exercises ranging from Scotland to Oman.
The first came as something of a surprise. I was on the Infantry Reconnaissance Commanders’ cadre at Warminster, when I received a letter from the then regimental operations officer, Captain D S Brooks LG, informing me that I was extremely lucky and that he doubted the validity of my parents’ marriage at the time of my birth. Intrigued, I read on to discover that CoH Stuart Matthews and I were to spend six weeks as guests of Strike Command in the Sultanate of Oman, working independently alongside the Royal Marines Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) from Poole, and 602 TACP from Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, whose 2IC is our very own CoH ‘Tony’ Blackburn RHG/D. This was a great opportunity for some realistic training in desert conditions, working not only with British jets Jaguars and Harriers - but also with our Omani hosts. Thankfully, their English was better than my Arabic, and we were successful in most of our missions, including the live dropping of laserguided ‘Paveway’ bombs, cluster bombs and rocket and strafing attacks. The two teams having split up, CoH Matthews and the Royal Marines headed north to attack an Omani convoy, whilst I and the four man team from 602 TACP stayed in the south, attacking headquarters locations, radar stations and fuel dumps. Whilst chasing the convoy, our opposite number suffered a tyre ‘blow-out’, resulting in their Toyota
Landcruiser rolling four times. Miraculously, there were no serious injuries and after check-ups and the issuing of a new vehicle, all were able to continue on their mission. I wasn’t quite so lucky after my return. I stupidly left my camera at home, and my dear wife put the film in for developing. Having spent the previous week telling her how hard we’d been working, despite the ‘all over’ tan, this particular film contained mostly pictures of me and the lads lying next to the pool at the Hilton Hotel, Salalah, or on the golf driving range surrounded by palm trees. This was almost the end of my future in the world of controlling jets, and just as I was beginning to enjoy it! Next came a trip to the north west of Scotland for a joint maritime exercise, where we found many old friends and made new acquaintances. Lieutenant B C de Goede LG and I managed some worthwhile training, calling in ‘dry’ air strikes on British, Dutch, German and French Naval vessels using the NATO refuelling base in Loch Ewe. During the summer, the majority of the Regiment deployed to BATUS, Canada to take over the role of ‘OPFOR’ for Exercises MEDICINE MAN 1 and 2. Between exercises, CsoH Matthews and Goddard and LCoH McWhirter deployed north to Cold Lake, a Canadian base and air range that hosts a multinational air exercise called Exercise MAPLE FLAG. This enabled the Regiment’s FACs the opportunity to practise their skills working with pilots from various NATO countries, and also to get
CoH Hoggarth gets ideas above his station.
involved in all aspects of close air support, interdiction and air defence. The training continued into Ex MEDICINE MAN 2, with the FACs controlling Tornado GR4s during air/ground integration battles which provided some realistic training. Special mention should go to CoH Goddard, who took on a great many close air support missions, working directly to the brigade commander, showing a high level of skill in a high pressure environment. Newly qualified Lieutenant de Goede and LCoH McWhirter also put in some sterling work under the watchful eyes of the Regiment’s supervisory FACs. In July and August, CoH Goddard and I received notice that we were to fly to Poland and attach ourselves to 6 Squadron RAF, which was on an exchange visit. Working from a fairly
Household Cavalry News
sketchy set of RAF Op Orders, we, nevertheless, set off with our full complement of laser target markers, radios and no end of other equipment that made up a six-man lift, heading for RAF Brize Norton. We arrived at Poznan in Poland three days later where we were given our own vehicle and a child’s drawing of a map and told to make our way north to a hunting lodge where we would meet a captain from the Polish Parachute Regiment, who would brief us in full. After what seemed an endless drive we found the place and managed to communicate our wishes to the proprietor, through a mixture of pidgin English and hand gestures, that we wanted Captain ‘Mic’ kicking out of bed. Thankfully, he wasn’t too big and, over the next ten days, we all got on extremely well. We worked with the Polish Para FAC team throughout our stay and were amazed to find that their only qualifications for forward air controlling were that Mic and his SSgt, Zwarik, (known to us as ‘Eric’) had been on a three month course to learn English. They were then issued all the equipment needed to be an independent TACP, and told to go away and ‘learn their trade’! As a result, we spent most of our time
CoH Hoggarth, Lt de Goede, CoH Goddard and Matthews at RAF Cottesmore.
assisting Mic and his team with the techniques and methods that we have developed over the years. We did, however, get some of our own controls in, and both of us had the opportunity to control Polish SU 22 ‘Fitters’ whilst they dropped Napalm on old Soviet-bloc armoured convoys made up of T34s, T55s and BMPs. The whole area was full of missile systems, fuel trucks and radar stations among what was, without
doubt, the best array of targetry I have ever seen. Our Polish hosts were some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Both CoH Goddard and I have kept in touch with Mic and Zwarik by e-mail and letter and hope to be able to work with them again – maybe next time with us hosting them.
Exercise Long Look 2005 By Lance Corporal of Horse Daley, The Blues and Royals I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps in Australia on Exercise LONG LOOK 2005. I was attached to the 3/4th Cavalry Regiment of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps which is based in Townsville, North Queensland on the east coast of Australia. I arrived in Australia on 1st June after a twenty-three hour flight from the UK with a brief stop over in Bangkok for the plane to refuel. After spending a night in Sydney at Holsworthy Barracks, I then flew to Townsville via Brisbane. At around 2030hrs on Friday 2nd June, I arrived at Townsville Airport where the duty driver met me and informed me that he had been given instructions by the SSM to take me down town to a bar to meet the NCOs of the squadron who were on a night out. This was a great way of meeting some of the squadron personalities that I would be working with and the SSM. I finally arrived at my accommodation in the early hours of Saturday morning, to find out that it was like a holiday apartment, one that you would normally find anywhere in Europe.
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The weekend soon came and went and, before I knew, it was 0730 on Monday morning and I was stood outside the SSM’s office where I was officially welcomed to the squadron and given the guided tour of the squadron compound. This is where I learned the squadron was an APC squadron and had a different role to what I was used to being from a recce regiment, but I was looking forward to the challenge ahead of me. After only being there a week, I deployed on a three-week exercise with 2 Troop on Ex TALISMAN SABRE, a joint international force exercise with the Americans. After returning from exercise and completing roll back on the M113s, the squadron was given five days off work. I took this opportunity to travel up to the sunny coast and experience some of the beaches and the nightlife the area had to offer. I also visited the world famous Steve Irwin Crocodile Zoo whilst at the sunny coast. On return to the squadron, I was then deployed on a three day adventure training recce with four other members of the squadron
which took me to Mission Beach, Mount Bartlefrere, Josephine Falls and the Tully River which is said to have the best white water rapids in Australia. The rest of my time in Australia was spent working on the M113s on the squadron compound and taking part in other military activities such as range days and Ex LOST SOLES, a teambuilding exercise. I made full use of my weekend by visiting spots in the surrounding area like Magnetic Island and Airle Beach. It turned out to be one of the wildest weekends I have ever had. I also made the time to go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and visit the Billabong sanctuary where I got to hold a crocodile. I can honestly say this has been one of the highlights of my army career and is an opportunity of a lifetime that I would recommend to anyone who is fortunate enough to get the chance to participate in the LONG LOOK programme.
Swiss Raid Commando 2005 By Lieutenant T J Glover, The Life Guards f all the countries in the world that would stage a Commando Style Competition, Switzerland is not one that immediately springs to mind. That was certainly the thought that plagued the minds of the four selected patrol members coupled with the uncertainty of what such a competition could involve. On 27th October 2005 the patrol of Lieutenant Glover, LCoH Ireland, LCpl Shapland and Tpr Minter set off to the North Western region of Switzerland. Our feelings of anxiety and unease were immediately quelled from the moment we arrived. The Swiss Army proved to be excellent hosts and, as expected, was exceptionally efficient and helpful. We learnt that we were one of 160 teams from over 13 different nations. For most of these teams (excluding the Swiss themselves), Swiss Raid Commando is split into 4 stages. The first two stages are purely administrative and instructional and include registration and the familiarisation day. The next stages belong to the Competition itself and involve the ‘Selection Phase’ and the ‘Action Phase.’
The first day is set aside for teams to register and collect the relevant Swiss Army issue kit. This included a classic steel helmet and the Swiss rifle; the Sub Machine Gun 90. There was no such luxury as an armoury and the general tendency seemed to be a case of leaving your rifle in a locker and hoping for the best! The Registration is a fairly painless and quick operation and once completed the day was yours to prepare kit. Day two is more eventful and is really an opportunity for non-Swiss teams to become accustomed to Swiss weaponry and equipment. We were transported to a large Range Area (about two hours away) by their rather rapid Troop Carry-
ing Vehicles. Whilst there, we rotated through a number of stands including Map Reading (taught in very broken English), Anti-Tank Weaponry and Zeroing of our personal weapon. What was quite staggering was the Swiss Army’s total disregard for safety. On the range you could load and make ready at will and then, on moving up to inspect your fall of shot, there was no familiar cry of ‘Unload, Safety show clear.’ Rather just place your rifle down and move forward. At the end of the day we all regrouped for a ‘notional’ session of weapon cleaning. I use the word ‘notional’ by virtue of the fact we were not issued cleaning kits. Regardless, it was still a useful and interesting day. On return to the base, we were quickly rounded up for the Opening Ceremony followed by orders for the Selection Phase. The Selection Phase began at a healthy 0300 when we were turned out of our rather cramped 20 man dormitory. The Phase, in its basic form, is a Navigation Exercise with a variety of Commando style Command Tasks or stands. There are a total of 35 stands covering over 30 miles. However, there is one crucial difference which makes this phase no normal Navigation exercise. You are equipped with your very own Swiss Army Issue Bike. Although it sounds a cushy option, this beast of a bike is nothing short of a relic with its heavy steel frame and just the one gear. On the uphill it was more of hindrance than a help. However, the bikes added a rather comical aspect to the competition; particularly as each one came with its own bell. The actual phase began at 0600 (signified by a Thunder Flash) leading to a mass exodus of 600 odd bikes flying down the road. Not too dissimilar to the Tour de France I imagine.
Lt Glover struggles across!
Each Stand or Command Task is worth a number of points which varied according to difficulty and distance from the start. The amount of planning and preparation was clearly evident as we encountered each stand. We found ourselves abseiling off a Granary, taking part in a Water Obstacle Course and conducting a House Clearance using Laser weaponry – to name but a few. You had 9 hours to accumulate as many points as possible and your total would affect your choice of mission for the ‘Action Phase.’ We did rather well and as a result we could choose a Search and Rescue mission – a high scoring activity. The Action Phase was initiated by Helicopter insertion to a pre-designated drop-off point. From there, we had to tab seventeen kilometres over very demanding terrain to a rendezvous point where we would be met by a ‘partisan’. Switzerland does not have the luxury of a military training estate, and we carried out the Action Phase in the
Household Cavalry News
heart of the country’s farmland. This meant we were faced with an unprecedented number of electric fences, which were both sturdy and very powerful, thus providing a considerable challenge. At one particular fence, poor old Tpr Minter managed to get his rifle entangled in it. In doing so, he sent sparks into the night whilst his hands were punished by the high voltage – all to very well muted screams whilst the remaining patrol members struggled to contain their laughter. We reached our RV at first light where the ‘partisan’ was represented by a stand with all the equipment and instructions we needed to complete our mission. It was our task
to rescue a hostage from a building in the nearby village. We were equipped with the Swiss variant of the 9mm pistol (with paintball rounds), body armour and then shown a diagram depicting the layout of the building. It was up to us to carry out the mission as quickly as possible and in which ever way we liked. On completion of the mission we then had to extract to a drop off point, again within a time limit, whilst enemy forces tracked us down. By the end of the Action Phase, we were physically drained. Swiss Raid Commando was a demanding competition and it tested one’s ability on many lev-
els. Whether it be the need to abseil at speed, to use initiative at command tasks of an unusual nature, to navigate through unknown terrain with a foreign mapping system or the simple employment of good tactics, you needed to be at your very best in order to succeed. Team HCR (as we were affectionately known by the Swiss) performed admirably finishing well within the top half of the field and, on reflection, it was a thoroughly enjoyable week. Swiss Raid Commando is a biennial event and with a sufficient amount of training and experience, there is every opportunity for the Regiment to compete again and prove itself on an international stage.
Northern Ireland Experience By Lieutenant L O D McCallum, The Blues and Royals The prospect of a Household Cavalry multiple joining 1st Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers (1 RWF) during their Northern Ireland tour in South Armagh was first discussed during the Iraq deployment on Op TELIC IV when B Squadron were part of the 1 RWF battle group. At the time, the Squadron was based in Chindit Camp which was the home of B Company 1RWF, commanded by Major Alan Finn. Five months later, the discussions of an attachment came to fruition, and it was decided that the chosen few for the tour would come from C Squadron and thus, while the Regiment was deployed in Canada, volunteers for the tour were taken, and preparation and a selection process began on the Regiment’s return to Windsor under the author, CoH Anderson and LCoH Walsh. On return from Canada, it was also confirmed that the multiple would be attached to B Company, still under the command of Major Finn, and they would be spending the tour in Crossmaglen. For all twelve Household Cavalrymen deploying to Northern Ireland, it was an entirely new experience and, while there was plenty of operational experience within the multiple, unlike our hosts, no one had experience of working in the Province. With this in mind, the buildup phase, while slightly lacking in time, was fairly intensive so as to prepare the multiple as effectively as possible. Shortly before we deployed, the IRA announced their intent to decommission and, subsequently, the multiple deployed uncertain as to how long they would be out there and whether the climate in South Armagh would be chal-
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lenging at both command and junior level. It was vital for the commanders within the multiple to impress upon the junior soldiers the potentially volatile situations that could be faced, and the large-scale loyalist riots in Belfast in early September, which coincided with our deployment, acted as a stark reminder that violence in Northern Ireland is by no means over. South Armagh has always encapsulated the ‘struggle’ in Northern Ireland. It is a stretch of countryside that has been surrounded by drama, myth, legend and folklore for the last three hundred years, and subsequently it could be argued to be the birthplace of the true republican. Republican pride in this area has been and remains unquenchable and, as a result, South Armagh has been a thorn in the side of the military’s efforts ever since deployment there. The flight in a Puma from Bessbrook Mill to Crossmaglen is the first insight into the breathtaking South Armagh scenery, and it is hard to imagine how, hidden in this seemingly tranquil environment, there is an enemy that has committed so many atrocities. One finds oneself wondering whether those days of violence in South Armagh are a thing of the past or whether they will return to haunt this notorious and battle scarred region. With the decommissioning of Provisional IRA, many of their hard line members have joined Continuity IRA (CIRA) and Real IRA (RIRA) which have in the past lacked the expertise and the logistic organisation developed so effectively by PIRA. A question on many lips is whether this region will experience a power struggle between the
remnants of PIRA and the dissident terrorist groups. In a region where organised crime funds the various syndicates, PIRA stands to take a significant financial cut if the dissidents forcibly begin to control all the illegal smuggling across the border with the Republic of Ireland. The control of this smuggling is what allowed PIRA’s South Armagh Brigade to be the only brigade independent of external funding and subsequently they became the most powerful, effective and influential brigade in the IRA. On arrival in Crossmaglen, there was a mixture of emotions raised within the multiple. Crossmaglen, otherwise known as XMG or The Cross, is the most notorious of South Armagh towns due to the violence that surrounded this small town during the first three decades of ‘the violence’. The inscription on the wall by the
helipad that greets you on arrival and which reads ‘Don’t worry be happy, welcome to XMG’, is taken with lighter humour in today’s environment but, for soldiers arriving in XMG during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, it had a far deeper meaning. The irony of the sign, however, is not lost since the plaques in memory of all the soldiers who have died in Crossmaglen lie only yards from the HLS and act as a stark reminder of this staunchly republican town’s violent past. After a quick handover and takeover from 1 PARA, the Company quickly settled into a framework which would act as routine for the next four months. Despite the recent announcement by PIRA to decommission, the feeling was very much that our role was to work in support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) against a counter insurgency background. With that in mind, our primary role was to provide support for the PSNI while they carried out their day-to-day policing tasks and to continue a surveillance capability from Tower G40. Further to this, with the recent political shift as a result of PIRA’s decommissioning, work had begun on the dismantling of the G10 and G20 surveillance towers, and so the Company was tasked with providing force protection at those sites. The multiple hit the ground running, and we found ourselves out on patrol on the first night in Crossmaglen. For many of the troopers, this was their first operational tour and, understandably, there was a certain degree of excitement tinged with a little apprehension as the multiple left the SF base for the first of many routine patrols late on a Friday night. It was a strange feeling shared by all seeing and walking through housing estates, down roads, and past pubs, which up until now could only be linked to violent scenes; The Dundalk Road, Cardinal O’Fiaich Square, Newry Street, Ardross Estate, Murtagh’s Bar. A feeling of open contempt among the local populace was brazenly clear. A ‘good evening’ would be met by the younger generation with an angry stare or open abuse, while the older generation who have lived through the modern day violence, tend to walk past with a bowed head as if you didn’t exist. The patrol took the multiple in a loop around the town and at one point stopped outside Murtagh’s bar where Guardsman Danny Blinco from the Grenadier Guards was killed in 1993 by a single shot from a Barrett rifle. To this day, there is still a two inch hole in the side of the wall where the round was recovered, which the landlord attempted to fill in. He was then told to remove the plaster by the IRA so that it would act as a reminder to British soldiers.
It is worth noting that the method of patrolling in South Armagh has altered slightly since the threat has decreased. The military is now conscious not to put across an aggressive stance towards the local population and, subsequently, unless the threat dictates otherwise, a non-aggressive posture is adopted. Tactically, the method has not changed significantly and, although multiples are generally deploying on the ground with two teams of five rather than three teams of four, an effort is still made to dominate the ground and achieve depth and mutual support. The multiple soon moved on to a rotation of guard, patrols, Quick Reaction Force (QRF), and providing force protection at towers G10 and G20. The dismantling of these two towers, although not a particularly glamorous role was, all the same, fascinating in terms of the political implications. The towers lie to the south west and south of Crossmaglen respectively and were put up with the intention of monitoring the area around Crossmaglen, the border with the Republic of Ireland and the routes from the border into Crossmaglen. During the troubles, this area was vital to the IRA as the border provided an easy escape route from pursuing security forces, the roads provided their main form of income through smuggling, and obviously they intended to dominate this area in order to mount attacks on the security forces in and around Crossmaglen. The towers helped curtail their activity significantly, since the security forces were able to track and monitor the main IRA ‘players’ and thus the towers have always been a fairly contentious issue. It is hard to imagine the complexity of the operations involved with building G10 and G20 since, unlike the Romeo towers and G40, they are not on high ground. This, combined with their close proximity to the border, meant
that they were easy targets for IRA snipes and mortar attacks. Further to this, you have to consider that everything had to be airlifted in due to the policy of ‘no vehicle’ movment imposed in South Armagh. The dismantling of the towers in comparison has been done under very different conditions. One has to assume that, if the IRA were to mount an attack now, it would be catastrophic in terms of what Sinn Fein wants to achieve. As a result, the force protection for the engineers was done in a relatively non-aggressive manner, whereas when the towers were erected, company strength positions were dug in around the towers, and the soldiers expected to get engaged every day. Although the towers have come down in a relatively unceremonial manner, with the exception of perhaps the farmers who leased those small windy patches of land to the army, the delight in their removal was all too clear among the locals. There is an endless supply of fireworks in South Armagh and, consequently, Halloween is celebrated with more flare than your average town in Britain. Multiples on the ground found that, during the days building up to Halloween, they were coming under an increasing amount of direct and indirect fire from youths armed with this never ending supply of fireworks. Halloween itself erupted into a frenzy of bored youths intent on drawing the security forces out into the streets for a confrontation by unleashing a tirade of fireworks at the SF base. This culminated with approximately thirty petrol bombs being thrown at the front gate and main sangar, which at the time housed Tprs Butchard and Routley. Another significant event for members of the multiple, was putting in a hard stop on a vehicle which had attempted to evade a Vehicle Check Point and then
CoH Anderson and Lt McCallum.
Household Cavalry News
driven at the PSNI and author when they made pursuit. Skeeball, which is a large net designed to wrap around the vehicles axle, was deployed by CoH Anderson and the vehicle was unceremoniously brought to an abrupt halt. The author has since been replaced in South Armagh by Cornet R A E LeighWood RHG/D, under whose command the multiple have successfully deployed a second skeeball.
Although a quiet period to have been involved in operations in South Armagh, the experience gained by all members of the multiple has been significant. This is particularly true for many junior soldiers who have never had the opportunity of working with an infantry battalion, and their basic infantry skills and confidence have grown considerably. The multiple can also count themselves lucky to have
been in Northern Ireland at a time when a new chapter in the history of the Province and, in particular, South Armagh is being written. The multiple and C Squadron owe a debt of gratitude to the Commanding Officer 1 RWF, Lieutenant Colonel Wheeler, Major Alan Finn and all B Company who took us in and treated us as their own.
Trekking and Aid Work in Egypt 6th – 20th March 2005 By Lieutenant R A E Leigh-Wood, The Blues and Royals he primary object of the group with which I travelled through South Sinai was to help the Bedouin people of the Gebeleya tribe in the restoration of one of their gardens. These gardens were historically worked by Bedouin families but, because of the pressures and changes of modern life, they had been abandoned until quite recently.
Before we arrived at the gardens, we spent some time camping with the Bedouin in the mountainous desert, climbing and exploring the incredible sandstone rock formations. It was during the mountain trekking that I was put to use as some of the group were certainly not fit and some had never done anything as arduous as this before. This was why Dr. Elworthy had invited me to join them. I have to say that I found some parts quite challenging enough on my own, and I really had to use all my skills in assisting others.
I found the desert wonderful and fascinating. Our guide told us we followed in the steps of Moses leading the Israelites, and the incredible space and timeless atmosphere of the desert made me want to believe him, at least it was possible to imagine Old Testament events against this landscape. However, we were not expecting to witness the heaviest rainfall in over 10 years which caused some very impressive flash floods. Leaving the desert, we travelled at night to the mountains above the gardens, going down the camel path by torchlight. A drop of several hundred feet on one side made me glad it was night, a great advantage helping those who were convinced their vertigo would prevent them getting down. Our Bedouin hosts greeted us with their customary hospitality, (a glass of sweet tea, similar to army brews which I was
already so accustomed to). It was not till the next morning that we could see what tasks they had in mind for us. For me, it was to assist in the ‘brawn not brain’ department and build a reservoir with rocks and the local cement. There were no cement-mixers here nor many people who spoke English so, before long, I understood what ‘cement’, ‘water’, ‘sand’, ‘more’ and ‘rock’ were in Arabic. However, this lack of communication didn’t seem to matter, and together we completed the reservoir and embarked on the irrigation channels, again more rocks and cement. The owner of the garden invited the local school children down to watch when we finally turned on the tap and saw it working for the first time. They cheered and so did we, partly with relief that we had managed it and that it had worked but mainly with a great sense of achievement. When I had first seen the
Laying the foundations for the reservoir walls.
Day 1- following the Israelites’ route through the desert.
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The finished product, a 5ft deep reservoir.
Taking the weight off my feet for a few miles.
empty space and the scattered rocks I had serious doubts as to whether we could do it. The next part of our trip was the most challenging yet. We left the gardens to begin a three day and night trek through the mountains to the summit of Mount Sinai at 7,497 feet. Our guide had an endearing, for the most part, habit of underestimating both the difficulty and the time involved for the ‘walks’. Nothing was ever difficult nor did it take
long; ‘a couple of hours’ could mean a morning, and ‘steep in parts’ could mean vertical rocks, and frequently did. We were also informed that it never rained in Sinai. How wrong they were! I found I drew on every bit of experience, as sometimes going down a crevasse I was lending my hands, shoulders and, in one instance, my head as a step for others. Again, vertigo was a major problem for some to overcome, but they did with a bit of encouragement and reached the summit in time for the sunset.
The next morning we got up at 0230 hrs to begin the torchlight descent to St. Catherine’s Monastery to attend the dawn service. The descent was down nearly 2,000 huge and uneven steps, cut by the monks. The climb down took about three hours, and we arrived pretty tired but also triumphant that everyone had made the journey without a serious problem. This was a good end to an epic trip finishing at the site of Moses’ burning bush which is in fact a Bramble bush.
Exercise COCKNEY BLUECOAT B Squadron Battlefield Tour, by Captain T J Archer-Burton, The Blues and Royals. xercise COCKNEY BLUECOAT started in tremendous fashion with B Squadron enjoying a night of splendour courtesy of SCpl Irwin’s father who, by chance, happened to be working on the bridge of the overnight ferry which took us to France. While most of the Squadron were below deck enjoying their luck in their Club Class cabins, Major S C Tomes and I were wondering why Captain A R Heathcote RHG/D was being allowed to steer our ferry out of Portsmouth harbour, a manoeuvre he was heard to comment as being “easy to achieve as this ferry has a very similar turning circle to a Scimitar.”
B Squadron’s Battlefield tour, which focused primarily on Operation BLUECOAT, officially started the next morning at Pegasus Bridge where we were fortunate to be met By Major General B W B White-Spunner, formerly RHG/D, and Johnny Seyfried, a Veteran from the Normandy campaign who had served with 2 HCR during the War. After an introduction to the Normandy campaign with particular reference to the Operation Orders and Glider Landings, B Squadron followed the events of Op GOODWOOD and 8 Corps’ move south. The plan for Op GOODWOOD was a result of the situation and the means available to Field Marshal Montgomery in Mid-July 1944 which was seemingly unfavourable; the Americans made slow progress towards the start line for Op COBRA, and the Germans had transferred a Panzer Division from the British to the American front. Of great concern was the movement of further German divisions to bolster the American front and, in order to deny the Germans further freedom of movement, Monty planned a significant attack on the eastern British front.
In between the study of Op GOODWOOD and Op BLUECOAT, the Squadron spent a highly entertaining evening in Bayeux listening to some moving accounts from Johnny about life in the Household Cavalry during the War. Johnny taught the Squadron a number of chants about his fellow soldiers from Major General Adair’s Guards Armoured Division. “Chippy chippy Grenadier, what’s your tipple, mine’s a beer” went down as the favourite! The following days were spent concentrating on Op BLUECOAT which effectively transformed the campaign into a war of movement. British and German Armoured Divisions were flung against one another over the rugged terrain of the 'Suisse Normande', and thrust met with counter thrust in a rapidly changing mobile battle. Op BLUECOAT began with a breakthrough on 30th July by 11th Armoured Division, Guards Armoured Division, and 15th (Scottish) Division, initially opposed by 21 Panzer Division, and later by the Germans' most powerful divisions in the west: 9 SS-Panzer 'Hohenstaufen' and 10 SSPanzer 'Frundsberg'. B Squadron learnt from General White-Spunner, Johnny Seyfried and our historian, Ian Daglish, about virtually every type of Second World War armoured combat: from infantry tanks to specialised flamethrowers and minesweeping tanks; from light armoured reconnaissance units to the heaviest battle tanks of the war. 8 Corps’ intent on 30th July was to establish itself in the area of high ground round La Bergerie Ferme with a view to protecting the right flank of 30 Corps and the subsequent exploitation towards Petit Aunay. The high ground
Major General BWB White-Spunner with Johnny Seyfried.
was visited by the Squadron, and we were able to gain a much better understanding of the task faced by 2 HCR in their armoured cars and, of vital importance in the relationship between reconnaissance and topography, an appreciation of movement in typical bocage country. As Johnny explained, the ground made movement difficult and slow with the added consequences of hampering the bringing up of reserves and hindering supply and replenishment. From a reconnaissance perspective, 2 HCR enjoyed some considerable moments of success including a lucky moment when a fellow officer of Johnny’s was caught by an enemy patrol and subsequently released by a German commander on the basis that, since they had spent five years together at Harrow, he would demonstrate leniency!
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After the town of St.Martin-des-Besaces had been cleared, the advance was to continue thanks to the initiative of Lieutenant Dickie Powle, 2 HCR. In the area north of Canville, Powle’s armoured car - supported by another scout car - slipped across the St-Lo to Beny-Bocage road and drove two miles through the Foret l’Evêque to an undefended bridge across the River Souleuvre. The Germans had left this bridge undefended due to a mix-up between 3rd Para Division and 326th Infantry Division, who both claimed it was the other’s responsibility to defend the bridge. Powle camouflaged his vehicles and radioed back to Divisional HQ that the bridge was intact and undefended. General Roberts, GOC 11th Armoured Division, realised the opportunity and ordered more troops towards the bridge which was subsequently secured despite setbacks. Momentum had been found and the Germans had made a rare error. Thanks to the initiative shown by Lieutenant Powle, 8 Corps were able to push on to play a full role in aiding the Allied breakout from the lodgement area around the bridgehead. B Squadron moved from Dickie Powle’s Bridge, where Johnny gave an interview
The B Sqn group at the museum on Coldstream Hill.
for The Queen’s Cavalry to Lion Television, and towards Mount Pincon which witnessed what was arguably the heaviest fighting of the Normandy campaign during Op BLUECOAT. From Mount Pincon, the Squadron heard that despite many problems and failures, BLUECOAT achieved its main objective and was ultimately successful in drawing German reserves and troops away from the US sector, and indeed away from Caen, where real progress had started in
Ops TOTALIZE and TRACTABLE. Thanks to the efforts of General WhiteSpunner and Johnny Seyfried, B Squadron enjoyed a highly enjoyable, entertaining, and extremely moving Battlefield Tour. Johnny’s presence was invaluable, and his presence ensured that a full understanding and appreciation of the exploits of 2 HCR were accurately portrayed to all.
Ocean Guardsman Leg 6 Antigua - Newport, Rhode Island The Household Cavalry contingent on the sixth leg of Ex OCEAN GUARDSMAN comprised a mixture from both Regiments: from Windsor, LCoH Hadley and Tprs Rose and Tuffs; and from London, LCpl Eades and Tpr Doren. The sailing started only after a heavy night of crew bonding in Windsor! On the first morning we left for Heathrow to start the voyage from Antigua to Rhode Island
after being dropped off by CoH Hagen who was the CEAN GUARDSMAN admin NCO. We all left in high spirits even though Tpr Doran had never even been on board a boat before! He was later to find that he really should have stayed on dry land as he was unable to do very much and spent the best part of the trip below in his bunk not feeling too well at all! However, he made up for his lack of
participation by taking full advantage of the cheap drinks in every island we stopped at. On arrival in Antigua, we were all overwhelmed by the heat. We were met at the airport by the first mate, Captain W N Mace SG who took us to our new home for the next two months! The boat was the steel-hulled global challenge 67ft
Tprs Rose and Tuffs show the crew how to hold a salute and carry your plume while mounted.
Household Cavalry News
yacht Discoverer and she was known by all as ‘disco Vera’, a name she developed after several days acclimatization and low level training where we had to get familiar with the local bars and beaches. When we finally embarked on our first leg of the voyage, we found ourselves sailing to St. Barts which is a beautiful French-owned island. After a very short stop, we left for the British Virgin Islands. On our arrival, we went straight to the Spanish town to stock up on provisions before heading off to another island, Josh Van Dike. Once again, we happened upon many bars and many American women who were more than pleased to see us! After a heavy night, we were kindly asked to leave the island by the local sheriff on his second call out of the year! Our next stop was the Bahamas, which has possibly some of the finest beaches in the whole world which are virtually uninhabited due to it being a national park. We then moved on to Bimini, a small island approximately 40 miles from Miami, which was Ernest Hemmingway’s fishing/rioting/drinking retreat. We were lucky enough to visit his museum which was a bar with thou-
sands of photos and mementos of his life. It was here that we had some technical problems in the gear box which meant that we had to stop at our next port for approximately ten days. This was Fort Lauderdale in Florida (not the worst place to spend ten days) where many of the crew helped to strengthen the special relationship between the two great English speaking nations of the world. In fact, so much so that two of the members of the crew are back out there now:Tpr Tuffs is marrying one of the great team at Hooter’s bar in Fort Lauderdale and his best man is Tpr Doran, who flew there having sworn never to set foot on a boat again. Due to the extended stay there, we had to cut our trip to New York down and ahead of us lay a seven day sail. This was where some of the most exciting sailing took place whilst we were en route to Fort Lauderdale for emergency repairs after running aground in Bimini. We had hit a force 8 gale in the Bermuda Triangle with strong freaky winds causing several involuntary gypes, which involves the boom (a steel girder-
sized chunk of metal attached to the bottom of the mainsail) hurtling across the cockpit where the crew were sheltering from the elements with enough force to kill anyone instantly. A fleet of small fishing boats’ seemed to be closing in on us on the starboard side and a shoal of rocks threatened us on the port side. No matter which tack we were on we could not get out of the fishing boats way and had a choice of either the rocks or the fishing nets, both of which would spell disaster. This proved to be the most exhilarating night of the trip; whilst on the helm I had my heart in my mouth, and volunteers to go on the foredeck were non-existent, so Captain Mace and Major Gray were called upon to perform foredeck acrobatics. We passed the bright lights of Manhattan as we sailed on to our final stop at Newport, Rhode Island, where we left the boat for the next leg of the journey back to England. We all flew back to London a few days later, and I know that all the crew would like to say thank you to Lieutenant Colonel C B B Clee, Major Gray and Captain Mace who planned and organized the expedition.
Notes From The Desert By Major J G Rees-Davies, The Life Guards he following are extracts from the author’s diary written when he was MA to the General Officer Commanding Multi-National Division (South East) (MND(SE), Major General J P Riley DSO (late Royal Welch Fusiliers) in Iraq from February to August 2005.
The area around Basra (MND (SE)) is currently occupied by a multi-national task force made up of about ten different countries offering various numbers of soldiers. The UK has about 8,000 soldiers in theatre at the moment, the Italians 3,000, Romanians 522, Japanese 500 and the Danish 500 who form the main body. The Australians are about to send about 800 soldiers who will be gladly received, and various other countries, such as Canada, providing a very low number of staff officers (about 3). The diversity of cultures can make the headquarters an interesting place to work, as they all interpret things and work in their own way. For example, the Italians have a very care-free attitude that one would expect, with wine at lunch time forming part of their rations; a trip to see them never goes to plan and you invariably leave their camp late, but having had a good lunch. The Japanese
always have an interesting view on things with incredible attention to detail. This once mighty nation, which gave us so much trouble in WW2, now seems intent on providing water and power for the area they work in but are dependant on UK soldiers to provide them with security and protection.
Another area receiving a lot of attention is that of reconstruction. It is hoped that the Department for International Development (DfID) will continue to heavily fund a lot of projects in the near future and the UN will return to the country to take on the tasks full time. The basic facilities are in disrepair with oil and water pipelines in need of con-
The election at the end of January 2005 marked a turning point for the country, as it has been perceived as the first sign that the coalition forces are intending to leave Iraq sometime in the future allowing the country to develop on its own. The success has not been mirrored everywhere though, with the US still fighting a bloody war in the Baghdad area. However, that does not detract from the fact that out of 18 provinces in the country, 14 are stable. The main effort of the British Troops has changed in the post election era; since the elections, the Iraqis sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The emphasis is now on Security Sector Reform (SSR). The programme is a long term plan with the development of Police and Army being the key areas.
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stant attention. The oil infrastructure is under attack from smugglers who are quite happy to shoot holes in the pipelines so that they can draw off a few barrels and sell back to the oil company, while the water pipelines get broken into by people who don’t have a supply of water. The Iraqi government has trouble funding the water supply, as they cannot levy a water tax, as not everyone has water, and those who do, get it infrequently due to the damage to pipelines. Iraq also has trouble with electricity; the former regime left several ancient power stations which can no longer cope with the massive amount of electricity needed now that people have air conditioners, which were not widely available in the past. The national grid simply cannot cope with the demand, and some areas now get only four hours of electricity a day. Come the heat of the summer, when it gets to 50 degrees in August, the system will come close to meltdown and the whole process will take a backward step or two as it did last year. However, working in the General’s office did have its perks, and trips to the areas of interest were woven into the diary to coincide with visits to troops in the area. One of many trips was to the birthplace of civilisation – the join of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates, or the Garden of Eden, and other trips to savour some of the culture and history of the region. Having had another hair raising journey along Route Six, a favourite for insurgents to attack coalition vehicles, we arrived at Al Qurnah. The Danish have a platoon stationed there, which comes under the Division, and they are based in a former Baathist HQ in the town. We were told, but not shown, that the cellar was used by the regime for torture. The Danish were using it as a dormitory. Once we had gone through the market in the town, a health and safety nightmare, and the GOC had bought some dried dates and various spices, we arrived at the Garden of Eden. We were looking forward to seeing the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge only to find the place looking like a car park with the Tree of Life actually dead and the Tree of Knowledge nowhere to be seen – apparently it was stolen and placed in the Baghdad museum from where it was looted. Later, while in Maysan, we visited Marsh Arab villages. In each, there had been a considerable amount of aid work resulting in a clinic and a school being built. After looking around the second
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village, the General and I were invited to join the Sheikh of the tribe in his mudhif, the formal meeting house reserved for guests. It is an impressive structure formed from an odd number of reed columns about two feet in diameter at the base and tapering to about half a foot at the tip. The columns are dug into the ground and bent to meet in the middle at the top to form a series of arches (eleven in our case), which are spaced about a metre apart. They then tie matting made from reeds to the outside of the structure to make the walls, and this continues up the columns to the apex of the arches to make the roof as well. Inside the mudhif, the floor is covered in Persian rugs, and cushions line the edge so that, while you sit cross-legged, you can lean against the columns or wall behind you as all the people sit lining the walls. The General sat next to the Sheikh, and I sat opposite him. Before long, an Arab gave us each a packet of cigarettes, as is the custom, and then all the Sheikhs proceeded to talk amongst themselves until the interpreter gathered the gist of the conversation and spoke to the General. It transpired that the Sheikh had visited Brussels, where he had spoken to the European Union and had also visited London, seen Horse Guards and had dinner at the Reform Club of all places… Iraq is littered with archaeological sites that are barely excavated. Shmeet was one such site. It is a Sumerian settlement dating back to 2,600BC and is reported to be the first agricultural settlement in Iraq. The excavations had been halted by the Gulf War in 1991, and we had as our guide the archaeologist who had done the excavating. He believed that only 3% of the site had
been excavated and could not see how the work would continue as there were no funds and this was just one of 6,000 sites of significance in Iraq and pretty small change as far as most were concerned. The site was incredible and was almost as if the town had been dug out of the ground. You could walk down through the ruins between the houses, looking through the doorways and windows or you could stand at present day level and survey the entire town six feet below you. Pottery littered the floor, literally crunching under your feet as you walked across it. The GOC also had to visit Baghdad on a regular basis meeting various US Generals about funding and the troop laydown in Iraq over the next year. On one such trip, we went for dinner with General Abadi, an Iraqi General. He also had dinner with the Chief of the Iraqi Air Force. We started the evening with a glass of lager in his sitting room and then moved on to the roof of his house. As we sat drinking whisky, talking about Iraq and listening to the Iraqis talk about life under Saddam’s reign, we were interrupted by the sound of heavy gunfire in the suburbs, the sight of tracer fire disappearing into the night sky, American tanks rattling through the street below and finally the sound of helicopters ferrying people to the hospital in the compound next to the house we were in. It was a very grim reminder of the problems still experienced in Iraq in many provinces and not a little surreal. Lawrence of Arabia said ‘Do not try to do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them’.
Cambrian Patrol By Lieutenant T J Glover, The Life Guards recall the day that Cornet C C Church, RHG/D had been asked to lead the Cambrian Patrol, and I remember thinking, ‘You poor Bugger.’ Little was I to know that three weeks prior to the event Cornet Church would suffer a serious back injury leaving me as the man to fill his boots. Although unsure at first, it was an opportunity not to be missed.
I, like many, had simply heard shocking rumours of the Cambrian Patrol without really appreciating its purpose and content. The Cambrian Patrol is essentially a highly demanding 48 hour exercise (I would say competition but the organisers stress its uncompetitive nature) carried out by eight-man patrols, covering 45 – 50km, whilst completing various tasks or stands along the way. It is a very effective way of testing the operational effectiveness of troops, and it attempts to encompass all aspects of soldiering. The home for this event is none other than Wales and, for our particular year, it was the Black Mountain and its surroundings. One of the most considerable factors of the Cambrian Patrol was the amount of weight every individual had to carry. Packing only the basic requirements, each man ended up with 70lbs plus his rifle. Leaving aside myself, our patrol consisted of LCoH Ireland, LCpl Shapland, Tpr Gray, Tpr Jary, Tpr Minter, Tpr Bennett and Tpr Brewis. Although we had trained hard, we were still very wary of what was in store for us. In the phases prior to ours, not even 50% of the patrols had managed to complete the event. The very first part of the Cambrian Patrol is effectively a close target reconnaissance (CTR). We arrived at the designated forward operating base (FOB), having been dropped off by SCpl Burton, who looked more worried than us. Within seconds I was dragged off for an “O” Group, while the remainder made a start to the model. We were to CTR an enemy location some eight kilometres away and then RV with an ‘Agent’ a further seven kilometres from there. Having delivered the orders, we set off and, as sod’s law dictates, the heavens opened. Although the weather was unbearable at times, it was the ground that caused most problems. Throughout the patrol, it was completely sodden and the going was incredibly slow. Even the tracks had turned to mud in places, making things very tough. We managed our CTR without too much difficulty despite me and LCpl Shapland having to clamber through chest high brambles to get the best pos-
sible view of the target. It worked, and we could clearly make out an enemy road block with a D-30 Artillery piece. We then pressed on to the RV point to meet up with our agent. From there, the agent directed us to a friendly forces’ camp (about three kilometres up a considerable hill) where we were promised some rest. We had been going for about nine hours. At the friendly forces’ camp, we were told produce a comprehensive patrol report after which we could rest. The patrol worked hard here, each man doing his own task whether it was brewing up or writing parts of the report. We were fortunate enough to discover Tpr Jary’s artistic side as he produced an excellent diagram of the position which served us well. Having completed the report, we managed to fit in just over two hours sleep. After being woken at 0600, the patrol was told to carry out a recce on a rebroadcast station ten kilometres away. This turned out to be a horrendous journey. It all began well when Tprs Bennett and Minter managed top marks in the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Recognition stand. However, from that moment the weather closed in. The rain started, the wind picked up and visibility dropped considerably. We were also faced with two major river crossings (waist deep and fast flowing) which did no good for our morale. We eventually completed the recce and linked up with another agent some seven hours after setting off. To give you an idea of the conditions, we came across another patrol that had lost three men to exposure. On meeting the agent, it was rumoured that there might be some transport, but this was not to be the case. With our hopes dashed and individuals really
starting to feel the pain, things were looking fairly grim. After redistributing some weight, we got going again, needing to cover six kilometres in three hours to link up with yet another agent. Thankfully, we found a new lease of life and reached our destination just before night set in. On arrival, it was yet another case of being given another grid reference and being told to go there. We thought this would never end! The Grid we were given in this instance took us to the Usk Reservoir and the prospect of a river crossing. However, to our surprise we were not to swim the reservoir but cross it by boat. Although this was far preferable to braving the icy waters, it did produce a tactical challenge for me, made all the more demanding by the fact it was dark and we were all exhausted. But we got across and, after a stopping to brew up, we set off on what was to be our final leg. By the time we completed that final eight kilometres or so, every man was near enough on his last legs. Yet, in true British Army fashion, it was not quite over. Having reached our destination, we were faced with a hostage scenario, and I was told to resolve it. The boys did well, and despite being exhausted, stormed in with aggression and speed conducting a highly effective operation. The completion of the task only led to another, and this was a full on Section Attack on a pair of buildings. For this I was issued Quick Battle Orders which I relayed to the patrol, before we jumped into a Bedford which took us to the position. The actual attack was not that tactically demanding and what it required was considerable momentum, speed and aggression all of which we managed to muster from somewhere! Exhausted after the attack, the patrol was then tasked to carry ammunition boxes one and a half miles
Bronze Medal Winners. Back Row: LCpl Shapland, Tpr Gray, Tpr Jary, Tpr Brewis.
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to Ceilini Village in the quickest time possible – not the easiest when your feet are in pieces! Thankfully, the village acted as the finishing line and after a kit check and debrief we made our way back (by minibus!) to Sennybridge Camp for a couple of hours of well-earned rest and recuperation. The Cambrian Patrol is both physically and mentally challenging, testing indi-
viduals on many levels from basic patrolling to AFV Recognition. It was undoubtedly one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I am sure that those who took part will agree with me. Yet, despite the importance of training and build up preparation, the one key factor to success was mental robustness. Of the 12 patrols in our phase, we were one of only 4 to complete the event. This was done by sheer determination to succeed
and the will to keep on going. We were rewarded with a Bronze Medal, a creditable effort, yet hindered from getting Gold as we were unfortunate to lose a man to hyperthermia at the last hurdle. Regardless of the colour of medal, the taking part in and completion of Cambrian Patrol is still a significant achievement, and I urge anyone to rise to the challenge if they are serious about soldiering.
A Balkan Excursion, or Home For Christmas? By Major D D Robertson, The Blues and Royals, Director of Music The Band of The Blues and Royals flew out of RAF Lyneham on Sunday 4th December for what was initially a threeday deployment to Camp Butmir in Sarajevo in Bosnia. This was to play for the Handover Parade from British to Italian Command of the European Union Force (EUFOR). Having arrived in a timely manner at Camp Butmir, we duly deposited our ten Euros and, having taken possession of room keys, started to settle into the transit accommodation, which we had been allocated. Overlooking the Helipad!!! A traditional Band Carol Concert followed almost straight away that evening, playing to the officers and soldiers of the thirty-four nations-strong Multi-national Force based in the camp. The Band members then took advantage of the opportunity to visit downtown Sarajevo the following day, prior to playing in the Army Hall that evening for a reception hosted by Major General Leakey, late RTR. This event allowed the Trumpeters to notch “Sarajevo” on to their engagements “roll of honour” and the Brass Group to entertain the 600 or so assembled guests, where the evening culminated with the playing of the Italian and Bosnia Herzegovinan National Anthems. Tuesday morning dawned cold and overcast but the chill wind was tearing a few holes in the ragged clouds, thus preventing the present and ominous lead-grey snow clouds from further discharging their omnipresent cargo on to an already snowcovered Camp Butmir. The Band made its way to the helicopter hangar to conduct rehearsals for the Handover of Command Parade where the Camp Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Gilbert, Royal Signals, and a former Coldstream Guardsman, took the parade. He had under his command thirty-four Nations’ flag bearers bearing his or her Nation’s flag and thirty-four Bosnian Army soldiers to their rear acting as escorts to their respective colour.
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A colour party provided by 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles out of Banja Luka also took part, plus we, General Sir John Reith late Parachute Regiment, Major General Leakey and Major General Chiarini, the outgoing and incoming EUFOR Commanders respectively. Dr Solana and Sir Paddy Ashdown were also present in their official NATO capacities as were a mixed bag of some 250 plus assembled guests. The parade went according to plan and the Band played the European flag off parade to Major General Leakey’s own Regimental March, Denis Plater’s arrangement of “My Boy Willie”, The Regimental Quick March of The Royal Tank Regiment. With the parade over and a Battlefield Tour, Duty Frees and varying amounts of American PX electrical equipment under our belts, it was time to prepare for repatriation to the UK and a whole host of pre-Christmas engagements, which awaited us. Job done! By now, you the reader will have gauged that at no point has the X-Factor yet raised its ugly head, until now! As I write this article the Band still resides in Camp Butmir some six days after the scheduled date of departure with five failed attempts to repatriate it. A whole host of RHG/D Band commitments has been undertaken by other Bands of the Household Division, and we are due to play in three days time on Thursday at the Royal Military Chapel, Wellington Barracks for a “Celebration of the Household Cavalry at Christmas” in the presence of both Goldsticks. What did we do to while away the waiting hours, which turned into days? Well, we played in Sarajevo’s town centre to the locals who had gathered, somewhat bemused by our impromptu appearance, in the square where the crowd looked uncertainly at each other as we offered up their National Anthem. A Sarajevan orphanage was a most welcome addition to our list of engagements, and later that
same evening we played in Camp Butmir for the German contingent’s Christmas Market. The Brass Group played at a British Embassy fund raising event at the United Nations Towers in Sarajevo and the Band’s Jazz Combo went straight on to play at the Nordic contingent’s annual Christmas function back in Camp Butmir. All of the above engagements were well received and worthy of a Band’s presence to match the right music to the festive mood of the occasion. Today Monday, the Band’s freight has already left for Banja Luka, some five hours road move away. We are due to follow on Wednesday morning in order to hook up with the Balkan’s Shuttle from Lyneham to Banja Luka via Pristina, in the hope that the Band can be back in time and attend the Wellington Barracks Household Cavalry engagement as scheduled. The SOS orphanage was undoubtedly the highlight of our stay in Sarajevo, and I have already been in contact from here in the UK, with the Director and Staff of the orphanage, as promised. To play and be among the orphans was indeed a humbling experience by any standards, and our thoughts and best wishes are extended to them all at this, a most family orientated time of year. The Band and I hope to maintain and develop our relationship with the Staff and children of the orphanage now and into the future. Who knows where it will take us! In all, and in summary, a very worthwhile trip away, and a fleetingly brief change of scenery from Hyde Park Barracks and our normal round of State Ceremonial duties at Windsor Castle. But, Dear reader!
Home for Christmas?
Postscript I append this postscript to my article in the hope that you, the reader, will wish to know the outcome of the débâcle
The team with some of the orphans who attended the concert.
regarding our homeward journey from Sarajevo to Knightsbridge, and the impending Regimental Carol Concert, “A Celebration of The Household Cavalry at Christmas”. The Royal Air Force came up trumps by furnishing us with a Long Wheelbase C130, Mark 4 (40 x pax more seating capacity) Hercules, in order to get us back to RAF Lyneham and Knightsbridge, in time for our Regimental engagement. I watched with trepidation from the landing strip as the aircraft came into Banja Luka Airport in the midst of a furious snow storm, not
The Band playing carols in Sarajevo.
knowing if the already fast deteriorating weather would close in further and prevent any subsequent take-off. In a setting redolent of one taken from a novel by Le Carré or Deighton, I witnessed both men, and kit board the aircraft amidst a swirling and artificially backlit snowstorm blowing in on us from the East, bringing with it the prospect of a long, bleak and arduous Balkan winter ahead. As the Hercules’s propellers kicked into life and gained full momentum just prior to take-off, the inevitable Pomp
and Circumstance of our imminent Regimental engagement ran evanescently through my mind. Yet, inescapably, I had to cast my mind back to the images, which we had seen of a war-weary, yet proud and obdurate conurbation that is Sarajevo. Furthermore, the children of the orphanage, and what lay ahead for the staff and orphans who work in, and currently inhabit it. What indeed, might their futures hold? We the lucky ones, would be home for Christmas!
Exercise IRON HORSE 2005 The Household Cavalry Motorcycle Club’s Annual Battlefield Tour Eastern Europe By Mr Kenny Robertson, formerly The Blues and Royals The Household Cavalry Motorcycle Club (HCMCC) has been going for seven years and, for six of those years, has conducted an annual battlefield tour to Europe. This year (2005) was the first year where the Club has been unable to launch a serious assault on the battlefields of Europe, due to a mixture of regimental commitments and the lack of funding from across the Army. That said, two members (Messrs Kenny Robertson and Stuart Gibbons – both ex RHG/D) did manage to steal away for twelve days to Eastern Europe and this is their story. We left the UK by the usual route of Calais-Dover on Saturday 10th September and arrived at about 5pm in France and set off on our merry way. We stayed in Belgium in a hotel that evening as it was chucking it down and then, on Sunday, we left to make our way to Berlin. As we didn’t push things too fast, we arrived at about 1100 hrs on Monday, 12th September and stopped at the old
East/West German border en route. This is now a museum where you can get tours on arrangement. On Tuesday, we went into Poland and started making our way south towards Stalag Luft 3, the first place of interest; it is where the Great Escape took place. We spent about 3 hours there and can highly recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting. It was the last camp established in the Zagan region, built in May 1942 on the area adjacent to Stalag VIIIC in the East. At first, the majority of the prisoners were British RAF officers and American pilots. Only later, in June 1942 did some other nationalities show up in the camp: French, Polish, Belgian, Dutch, Canadian, Australian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, New Zealand, South African, and Greek and Czechoslovakian pilots. In 1944, Luft 3 Camp accommodated 10,494 people. It was famous for the number of attempted escapes. The biggest of them was organized by a secret
"X" Committee established by the prisoners in spring 1943 and lead by Major Roger Bushell. It took place in the night of 24th March 1944. Eighty prisoners
Messrs Gibbons and Robertson assess the equestrian facilities at Colditz.
Household Cavalry News
made it outside through a 111-metre long tunnel ten metres deep. After the escape was revealed and alarm was raised, four prisoners were caught by the tunnel outlet. A big hunt began on the whole territory of the Reich. Consequently, only three of the prisoners managed to avoid the traps and chases, whereas the remaining 73 were caught by the Nazis. It was the biggest escape ever from _Stalag Luft 3_ camp. In pursuance of Hitler's personal order called "Sagan Befehl", fifty of the unsuccessful fugitives were put before a firing squad. In 1947, eighteen executioners who followed the order were put before the English Military Tribunal in Hamburg. Fourteen of them were sentenced to death (in the end, thirteen of them were executed), while the rest received heavy imprisonment sentences. We then made our way down to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and after a few not so exotic stops we found some affordable and comfortable camp sites and stayed in hotels depending on the weather. The roads were on the whole in a poor condition which would not have been very good for the fast group if there had been
one, although they are improving, and one can see a lot of EU money being spent on infrastructure. We stayed two days at Oswiecim during which time we visited the museum. There was so much to see with the tour taking about 4 hours and being very cheap as it is in Poland. We then headed down to Slovakia doing a bit of camping in the woods and staying in hotels when we needed to get cleaned up. We spent a day and a half in Slovakia and it must be the only country we have visited where ‘adult’ channels were gratis! We stayed in a Hotel in Zillina which is a major town, a good place to stay and again low cost; it rained almost the whole time we were in Slovakia. Some really good routes to ride, lots of places to eat at the side of the road but not many bikes either in Poland or Slovakia. After Slovakia, we came to the Czech Republic and here there were lots of bikes although they have poor roads but, again, a lot of money being spent on them. The Czech Republic looks quite civilised but still has a lot of hangovers from the old Soviet days. We then made
our way back through Germany stopping off at our last place of interest, Colditz. Most Germans have never heard of it. We did the official tour again and that night stayed in a local camp site. We then motored down to Rhinedahlen where we stayed with Major and Mrs Rick Manning for a few days before sailing back home on the 22nd. We covered 2,500 miles in total and visited the sites we had planned before departure – The Great Escape, Auschwitz and Colditz. We stayed in a variety of places at very low cost (although fuel was not really any cheaper than in the rest of Europe) and we managed to get a good feel of how the newer members of the EU operate and where some of our money is going. It was a great tour and we will definitely go back for more; there is so much more to see and it is best to go before the rest of Europe twigs on and the prices rocket up. Sadly, the rest of the HCMCC could not join us; hopefully the Army will get its head around funding of what is a very worthwhile, interesting and enjoyable method of learning about military history.
Stable Refurbishment By Captain M E W Kingston, The Life Guards In August 2004, the Regiment moved into temporary stabling on the Southern edge of Hyde Park, adjacent to South Carriage Drive and the Ceremonial Gate. This was the first phase in the much needed refurbishment of the stable complex which was originally constructed in 1969. The temporary stables were constructed in such a way as initially to accommodate 120 horses with the stabling being increased for 240 horses in April 2005. Each horse was stabled in a specially designed loosebox which was warm and draught-free. In addition to this, the looseboxes provided the horses with ample room to manoeuvre. In fact, this alfresco experience suited the horses far better than the stable lines in Hyde Park Barracks, resulting in difficult horses becoming remarkably passive. The soldiers were accommodated in 20ft portacabins providing each troop with sufficient space to operate and to secure their equipment. Concurrent to this, the contractors began removing the interior of the stable lines. This involved the removal of the old horse stalls and stripping out the offices and tack rooms. Additionally, the existing heating and air purification systems were removed and were replaced by state-of-
Household Cavalry News
the-art air conditioning units. This, combined with uplift in the lighting, has improved the working conditions for the soldiers and the living conditions for the horses. It was at this point that the rat population, which had been entrenched for the past thirty-five years, decided to move out. This mass exodus, the likes of which had not been witnessed since the exploits of the Pied Piper, resulted in the rats taking up residence in the newly built flats across the road. The rats have not been seen since. In addition to changing the fabric of the stables, the refurbishment project also involved the removal of the old and dilapidated equine waste compactor. The original compactor had been the Quartermaster’s nemesis, and its removal and subsequent destruction raised a cheer from all who had experienced its unreliability. The replacement machine (probably designed by NASA) has made life so much easier for all those concerned with the highly technical task of squashing and disposing of equine waste. Another improvement has been the refurbishment of the forage barn. In the past, this facility had not been used to its full potential and was seen as purely a storage area. With the introduction of a new
office, heating and the entire area waterproofed, the forage barn is now a place within which forage and veterinary supplies can be stored safely. This improvement combined with a centralised feeding system will make life that much easier for all concerned with the care of the Regiment’s horses. Alongside this has been the introduction of a new horse walker. Its size and impressive design can only be compared with that of the new Wembley Stadium and, in all honesty, probably cost as much to build. Nevertheless, this has also enhanced the Regiment’s ability to look after its horses. June 2005 saw the Regiment return to its new stables. The new stalls, which can be converted into looseboxes, were an immediate hit with both horses and soldiers. The purpose built offices and tack rooms have, without doubt, improved the soldiers’ working conditions. This, combined with the recent work undertaken to improve the stables’ drainage system, has provided the Regiment with a stable facility that meets the needs of such a busy and unique organisation. Although a huge undertaking and difficult to orchestrate, the refurbishment project has been a great success and will have a lasting impact on both horses and men.
The Royal Visit of the King and Queen of Norway The arrival of the Norwegian Royal Yacht at Millbank was a historic moment, as part of the Norwegian centennial celebrations of Norway’s independence from Sweden. The initial plan was that the Escort should ride from outside the Tate Gallery at Millbank, around Parliament Square, along Horse Guards Road and then down the Mall. Unfortunately, what would have been a memorable Escort did not cater for likely objections. The concern that London’s traffic flow would be brought to a standstill by the requirement to close key roads for a Royal visit led to a return to our normal Horse Guards Parade Escort format. However, on this occasion, the parade was to form-up facing Horse Guards, with our tails to the Household Division Memorial. This was an interesting alternative, and hand signals were needed to prompt the Field Officers on the arrival of the Royal motorcade. Under the crackle of cold gravel, the Royal visitors arrived to beautiful blue skies, with patriotic flags festooning the Mall. The Arrival of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway, closely followed by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, began what was to be a very brief Escort.
HM The King of Norway taking the Salute.
The patriotic Norwegians who had gathered along the Mall were all carrying flags and cheering the Royal carriages. The Norwegian and Union Flags, sharing blue, red and white merged into one in the gentle cold breeze, which our Nordic visitors had evidently brought with them. However, it was written in the “Oslo Times,” that, although when the Royal family left Norway it had been snowing for approximately one month and the temperature was approaching zero, they still found it colder in London. This was accompanied by an
explanation of the difference between arctic dry cold and the more temperate damp cold that is experienced in England. The Escort was over in a blink of an eye and soon we were to return back to barracks to be congratulated by the Commanding Officer, who took the place of First Field Officer on the Escort, accompanied by Captain J E M Howell LG as the second, due to Major J G ReesDavies LG enjoying a sunnier climate on his honeymoon.
Exercise COMMON GROUND 2005 By Captain M B Sadler, AGC (SPS) 9th September Deployment A team of nine (7 HCMR and 2 LG Band) deployed to Detroit Michigan on Exercise Common Ground between the 9-19 September 2005 armed with bags of golf clubs. On arrival we discovered that the majority of our hosts, the Blue Devil’s Horse Platoon, had been mobilised to New Orleans to deal with the aftermath and devastation of hurricane Katrina. Chief Warrant Officer Class IV Richard Dyke picked up the gauntlet on his own and planned a regime suitable for any operational deployment: 10th September Reddeman Farms Golf Club Day 1, hole 1, Reddeman Farms Golf Club will not be forgotten; CoH Chris
Bye who had bet everyone £10 that he would not lose a ball throughout the tour watched in horror as his first tee shot landed in the middle of the pond, currency was obviously lost in translation when $10 was handed out to one and all at the 18th hole.
so fast! Bullshit baffled brains and we continued unhindered and still in possession of our money and licences.
11th September Macatawa Legends Holland An early start and a three hours drive proved worth it as we were well hosted at this 3 month old course; buggies, tees, balls and lunch were all provided. The course was challenging and, once again, balls were surrendered to the Water God in abundance. The challenge from the Americans was impressive but not sufficient to win back the Ryder Cup. The five hour drive that evening to Shanty Creek was disturbed only once when the police enquired why we were travelling
CoH Bye geting in some practice.
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The team at Gettysburg.
12thSeptember The Legend Shanty Creek ((0840 and 1400hrs tee times) twice it was so good) Late to bed late start, Dick’s birthday, the old man obviously fancied a lay in. The Legend certainly was and to prove it we went round twice. Gilly Wheeler showed why he plays off single figures and was in a class of his own, whilst Aaron Slowey finally proved he knew which end of the golf club to hold! The day finished with a splendid dinner and birthday celebration. 13th September The Schuss Shanty Creek and Cedar River (0700hrs and 1530hrs tee times) Another early start and a disappointing course after the Legend, however, Cedar River made up for this and the trumpet fanfare from Gilly Wheeler and Tim West (I knew there was a reason we invited them) for a local tournament ensured everyone knew the Household Cavalry were on the course. 14th September Drive to Gettysburg Only eight hours, great fun! 15th September The Links at Gettysburg (0700hrs tee time)
The final day.
Another early start, tee off when it gets light. Trev Holden made history on a nice par 3, water in front and to the left, trees to the right and rear. The ball finally found the hole and the grand score of 24 was recorded on the card, is it not the highest score wins! 16th September Gettysburg battlefield tour (0800hrs start) A surprising highlight to the tour, the presentation in the Gettysburg Centre followed by a guided tour of the battlefields was both enlightening end educational. The final tour by mule left many bemused (not quite Cav Blacks) especially Mark Sadler after Ratty Core’s mule’s double barrel left a hoof print in the side of his mule only inches from his knee. Richard’s marathon drive back to Detroit was curtailed when the drivers mutinied and a hotel bed beckoned. 17th September Reddeman Farms Golf Club Return from Gettysburg in time for lunch and an afternoon round at the local club was about all anyone could muster. A quiet evening BBQ sporting Sue’s special steaks and a few beers was appreciated by all. Once again, Lips Holloway retired to his horse box at the
bottom of the garden (the team and host thank you for this) to sleep/snore loudly and blissfully. 18th September Reddeman Farms Golf Club Competition day, the planned final round at Oakland Hills crashed and burned, therefore handicaps were set and the final competition took place at Reddeman Farm. Prizes were presented for closest to the hole, longest drive and numerous other scores. It wasn’t the winning it was the participation that counted. Richard and Sue were hosted by the team to a farewell meal at their favourite restaurant as a thank you for their support throughout the tour. 19th September’Shopping (by request) Two hours shopping at the local mall ensured loved ones were adorned with presents on our return. Our thanks go to Captain MA Avison for organising the tour, the Army Sports Lottery, HCMR, The Band of the Life Guards the Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund, the Household Division, Abacus and Timpsons for their financial support.
Cockney Maple 2005 By Captain R J Moger, The Blues and Royals rdinarily, British servicemen arriving at Calgary International Airport are greeted by a fleet of coaches waiting to convey them along a well-worn path to the rolling prairie lands of the Suffield training area. For the last twenty two years, however, a small contingent of men from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment has been invited to a spread of manicured green pastures which are littered with an array of outrageously high wooden fences and sur-
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rounded by grandstands adorned in the colourful advertising banners of some of the world’s largest corporations. Though not necessarily a household name to all, in the world of international show jumping, there is unlikely to be a finer facility of its kind on the planet than that at Spruce Meadows. It was to this pedestal of equestrian excellence that six men from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment found themselves one sunny day in September.
What started 30 years ago and indeed ultimately remains an expression of the absolute passion felt by one of Canada’s wealthiest families towards horses, Spruce Meadows has evolved through uncompromising dedication and values to become to show jumping what Twickenham is to rugby, St Andrews to golf and Wimbledon to tennis; namely, a spiritual home to which the very best in the world are drawn to compete for the most coveted (and lucrative) tro-
phies in their game. The Household Cavalry is afforded the role of adding a colourful measure of pomp and pageantry to the proceedings in a variety of guises, but primarily in escorting winners during their victory laps before the massed ranks of spectators. As the attending member of the Riding Staff, LCoH Golder RHG/D pre-empted the arrival of the main body by a few days with the task of re-acquainting the horses that Spruce Meadows set aside for our use, with the black kit and scabbards to which even our own horses can take an indefinite time to become accustomed. Given this actuality, three days seemed somewhat hopeful and it quickly became clear that despite his best efforts, not every horse that we had been given was going to forego its instinctive role as a show jumper and become a ceremonial plug overnight. If there were to be an award for perseverance, then I would be pushed to decide whether it should go to Tpr Bush LG for his sterling efforts in staying atop his horse for what were perhaps the most perilous five days of his life, or indeed his horse, Eraconik for its constant attempts to unseat him with every dirty trick in the book. By comparison, Tprs Waisele and Hill LG were more than happy to sit quietly and endure just the occasional wild outburst from their own mounts. Meanwhile, as a riding instructor, LCoH Golder RHG/D outwardly projected a calm look to suggest that every action taken by his horse was intentional. I suspected that inwardly he was somewhat less polite about it as it tried relentlessly to emanate the mischievous antics of Tpr Bushâ€™s. The riding achievements aside, Spruce Meadows 2005 will undoubtedly be
remembered for the appalling arctic gales and torrential downpours that swept in as the tournament opened and steadily deteriorated as the event progressed. As the water table rose quickly to flood the showground, it took spirited determination on the part of all both to maintain a high level of turnout with kit that remained permanently saturated, but also merely to leave the shelter of our allocated stables to fulfil our task lists. It therefore came as an immense relief not just to us but also to the competitors, organisers and loyal spectators when the heavy and smothering blankets of angry blackened clouds finally broke on the final morning of the proceedings. To the riding enthusiast, the sheer scale and difficulty of the various course configurations built to test the assembled elite was simply awe-inspiring. We all watched in admiration as the British rider Nick Skelton rose above his fellow competitors in a stormy floodlit arena on Friday night to win the six bar challenge, a series of six fences that are raised in successive rounds of elimination until ultimately all but one rider fails to go clear. The final fence in the series reached a staggering height of 2.12m before even Skelton and his intrepid horse failed to soar sufficiently to clear the obstacle though the vast pot of prize money made it a very healthy return for a few minutes in the spotlight. Gratifyingly, the effort of the escorting riders did not go unappreciated by the massed crowds. Despite the inconvenience of state kit, the wild and unpredictable nature of our horses which seemed on occasion keener to take on the jumps than stand still, not a single
Tprs Bush and Waisele, Capt Moger, Tpr Hill and LCoH Golder.
rider from our contingent was embarrassed by involuntarily dismounting. The same could not be said for all of the various colour guards however, and it was to the great amusement of the crowd that a member of the â€˜Steel Scoutsâ€™ decided to part spectacularly with his horse whilst galloping down the back straight. As little more than ageing businessmen utilising any opportunity to ride at the event, it came as little surprise to learn that the fallen, yet unhurt rider had spent most of the preceding afternoon sampling various alcoholic delights as a guest of one of the corporate sponsors. If anything, the unplanned tumble merely added to what was otherwise a spectacular and extremely impressively well-run tournament, building to the carefully crafted and cultivated reputation that Spruce Meadows thoroughly deserves, aided in no small measure by the effort contributed by the men from the Household
Tpr Bush battles in the torrenrtial rain.
LCoH Golder and Tpr Hill.
Household Cavalry News
Cavalry Mounted Regiment. Same time, same place next year then, one might hopefully presume? The ensemble then drove through rain and high water to reach the dramatic mountains, roaring rivers and staggeringly beautiful landscape of Banff National Park. It was here that a period of highly anticipated adventure training was undertaken in an environment free of mobile phone reception, satellite television and convenience stores. Our residence was a collection of cabins located on the banks of the Sundry River. It was not luxurious, but in addition to resident genuine Marlboro-Men cowboys and a stable full of squat and hairy Quarter horses reared for venturing up into the mountains, it boasted a murky hot tub that would become the permanent place of residence for many of the King’s Troop personnel. Our first activity was a day on horse back venturing up to a remote cabin in the mountains. The scenery through which we rode was truly awe inspiring and involved several river crossings, a pleasant change to crossing road junctions in Knightsbridge. With the threat of brown bears a constant reminder of
the fact the not everything in nature has been tamed by man, we pressed on to greater altitudes tainted with evidence of snow until finally reaching our destination for a brief stop before turning to head back. By the day’s end, we were all grateful to dismount, the effect of sitting on hard saddles giving us all a fresh respect for those who live by the way of the horse, as well as the aching posteriors to remind ourselves by. A day of ranching and trekking proved a welcome form of recovery before we swapped indigenous horse power for the mechanical variety in the form of quad bikes on the following day and again ventured off to explore. With an experienced guide leading the way, we pushed the ability of our all-terrain vehicles to their limit, and then beyond in the case of Tpr Waisele and LCpl Waite who managed to drown theirs whilst attempting to drive through a pond which rose up over waist high. There was also a great deal of mud hole traversing, leaving both the riders and vehicles caked in dirt and distinguishable only by the broad smiles plastered across the face of each rider. The final adventure was spent in rafts negotiating 32 miles of roaring rivers, unseasonably swollen by the days of
heavy rainfall that had so dominated the preceding days of our visit. With the Household Cavalry in one raft and The King’s Troop in another, there was an inevitable amount of misbehaviour occurring between the two boats; though the former always prevailed I am quick to add. This was also the case when negotiating particularly turbulent and notorious areas of white water, though perhaps the greatest accolade must go to Tpr Waisele who proved himself a most capable kayaker as he successfully came through each obstacle except one which cost him a shoe, forever lost to the river. Nonetheless it was a small concession in an otherwise excellent day that even yielded a trout each to me and LCoH Golder. After a particularly careful drive out through the mountains on mud slicked roads, the group spent its final day in Canada sightseeing in Calgary, before returning to the rigours of mounted duty in London. The experience was a most memorable one, if not for the rain drenched proceedings at Spruce Meadows, then certainly for the week of adventure training in Banff that followed. As an alternative to BATUS, this was certainly one trip that would be highly recommended by all who attended.
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Household Cavalry News
Household Cavalry Sports Round-Up Nordic Ski Team 2005/6 he Household Cavalry Nordic team spent its training for the 2005/6 season in Canmore in Canada. Contrary to the beliefs of much of the Nordic fraternity, this was an extremely cheap and worthwhile option compared to the costs of living in Norway. The team, mainly made up of novices, trained under the experienced and watchful eye of CoH Marsh at the Canmore Nordic Centre until late December. Although it was hard to find snow at first and temperatures were often as low as -25ºC, the team returned for a short Christmas break fit and keen to put their newfound skills into practice.
We arrived early in Hochfilzen in Austria to gain a few extra days training before the Royal Armoured Corps Championships. To the great detriment of the team, we were without Lt M J V Nicoll LG who had been called back to the UK to attend a course. Despite this blow, we progressed through the championships posting some good times in both team and individual events. We soon discovered that most of the novice skiers found their forte in classical rather than freestyle skiing. After ten days, the team was well placed to attempt an assault on the Divisional Championships in Serre-Chevalier. Again, luck was not on our side, as two of the novice skiers, Tprs Minter and Hulatt, had to return to the UK for preoperational training before deploying to Afghanistan with D Squadron.
placing in the team rankings. An excellent result in the military patrol race, however, sealed our success in the overall placings and led to our selection for the Army Championships in Ruhpolding in Southern Germany. As CoH Marsh insists was planned all along, the Regimental team peaked at the Army Championships and won the novice prize for the 15km classic race. The team, now on a roll, went on to win the cross country novice pursuit, the 10km novice biathlon, achieved third place on the 15km novice biathlon and finally, won the Army novice champions prize. Laden down with medals and two trophies, the team returned to the UK in
early February having entered the Army Championships as the ‘joker’ team and finished making up six places in the rankings. This was a very good season for the Regiment that will hopefully inspire other soldiers to take up a pair of ‘misery sticks’, as one Canadian skier quite correctly described them, and build on these successes in 2006/7.
Capt Heathcote climbs the mountain.
Capt Heathcote on the advance.
With now only five of our original eightman team remaining, the Divisional Championships did not start well with an uncharacteristically slow team time for the 15km classic race. Three of the team had broken poles at various stages on the course in horrendous conditions which led to our lower than expected
CoH Marsh leads the way uphill.
A moment to get one’s breath back on the range.
Household Cavalry News
Alpine Skiing 2005-2006 by Captain D L O Crosthwaite-Eyre, The Blues and Royals ctober and November 2005 were very busy months and so, after some rather manic last minute preparations, the ten chosen members of the Household Cavalry Ski Team departed on 2nd December for the snowier (and sunnier) climes of Switzerland.
We were bound for Verbier, and Exercise WHITE KNIGHT XXII, an alpine skiing exercise that has now been running in this Swiss ski resort for 22 years. We were extremely fortunate with the snow this year; we had watched the Verbier “web-cam” with bated breath whenever we could grab a moment, and two days before our departure, we watched live as the first snow flakes of the season fell in the town square. The good snow fall meant that the 110 Cavalrymen present could launch themselves straight into ski training and that we had a variety of pistes at our disposal. The first ten days of skiing were devoted firstly to finding our ski-legs and then on to exercises to enhance strength and stability. During this time Tpr Bennett, who had never been on snow before, made excellent progress, as did Tpr Johnstone (HCMR), who so impressed his instructors he was moved up two groups. Having now found our confidence on the snow, it was time to progress on to the real reason we were in the Swiss Alps; racing. Over the next two weeks we were introduced to gate training and the pace of the exercise really picked up. LCpl Frampton (HCMR) and LCpl Wilkinson both took to skiing the poles very well. The Household Cavalry ski-charge, however, was lead by CoH Beech, an old skiing hand who has completed fourteen WHITE KNIGHTs and was as useful teaching the newest members of the team the ins and outs of waxing and edging skis (and finding the best deals on local beer!) off the snow as he was on it.
then squeezed in another couple of days of pole training only to find it was already time for the Household Cavalry to host its annual New Year’s Eve firework extravaganza. LCpl Griffin was given the weighty task of coordinating one of the largest fireworks displays Verbier has ever seen and, with a little help from his celebrity chum and ex-ski team captain, James Blunt, did a fantastic job that was talked about all over the resort for the rest of the season. Back to training, and one week later, the Royal Armoured Corps championships began. We immediately clocked some good times with both Captain D L O Crosthwaite-Eyre and CoH Beech skiing in the top ten, and Lieutenants Bowmont and Church in the top twenty and thirty respectively. LCpl Griffin, however, stole the show. Racing “clicked” for him this year and, from having finished in the low sixties a year ago, he was now regularly finishing in the top twenty. After a week of very exciting racing, our hard work during training paid off and we were rewarded with our longed-for place on the podium silver medal in the Team Slalom and a bronze in the Team Giant Slalom events. Our success here meant that the team qualified for the Army Championships where the skiing was again cranked up several notches. Although there were no medals won, we skied well and we all completed the infamous Army downhill on which speeds of 120 kph
The training days were long but enormously rewarding. Our skiing was improving by the minute and we started to see that Household Cavalry could well be in with a chance of standing on the podium come the day of the races.
and brought home a silver medal for the team.
Training was put on hold for two days over Christmas, which came and went very quickly in a haze of ski jumping and champagne (courtesy of the Black Watch), snails and turkey – perhaps one of the stranger yuletide lunches most members of the team had eaten! We
It was now time to move on to the steeper, icier slopes of the French Alps for the Divisional Championships, where again the excellent training we had received and hard work that had been put in, paid off. The Household Cavalry team took second place overall and won a
Household Cavalry News
were reached. This was a very successful and hugely enjoyable season, and we have laid some excellent foundations for years to come. The Alpine Ski Team is very grateful to all those who made the exercise possible and we hope to go and capitalise on this season’s successes next year and bring back a gold medal.
Cresta By Captain W H A G Snook, The Blues and Royals With typical inevitability, the Cresta riding duo of Captains D L Lipman LG and W H A G Snook RHG/D returned to the sub-zero climbs of Switzerland to compete in the Army and Inter-Services Championships; Captain Lipman having travelled from his five star US airfield in Kandahar and Captain Snook having been released from the handcuffs that he voluntarily uses to attach himself to his desk in Whitehall. This year saw history being made in that the Army team won the Inter-Services team competition for the sixth consecutive year, something that no other team has ever done. It was a season of mixed fortune for the pair, both on and off the run. This being his last season as a serving officer, Capt Snook rose to the occasion and managed to achieve what is informally known as the Army Grand Slam which includes winning The Scots Guards Cup (The Army Top Championship), the Prince Philip Trophy (the Inter-services team event won by the Army), The Lord Trenchard Trophy (the Inter-services individual event) and
finally the Auty Speed Cup (the fastest time of the Inter-Services’ event). Unfortunately, Captain Lipman fell a lot, including one occasion where he lost consciousness which looks a lot cooler and impresses the girls. Some thought that he was asleep. He did manage, however, to stay in for the Inter-Services race as the Chief of the General Staff was watching. Captain Lipman was responsible for upholding the good name of his Regiment in and around the less reputable environs of St Moritz, gamely sporting a ridiculous coat made from countless Afghan rabbits and wolves that lost their lives for Captain Lipman’s benefit, giving him the appearance of a very large Ewok. Captain Lipman would like to assure all readers that no innocent animals were killed in the provision of his coats as they all had indisputable links to Al-Qa'ida. The Army team may not have the company of Captains Lipman and Snook next year, the former planning to make
We must get a bigger Army flag!
“Away from Top” Capt Snook actually took some physical exercise.
toys and the latter planning on running off with the circus. With 50% of the existing Army squad unable to compete next year, it is essential that some new blood is found. As always, it is hoped that the Regiment will be able to release members of the Regiment to compete in January 2007.
Capt Snook travelling at speed around “shuttlecock”
B Squadron - Exercise Mountain Cockney Captain T J Armitage, The Life Guards he idea of running a Squadron ski trip was conceived in B Squadron’s Ops Room in Az Zubayr Port as the perfect antithesis to its hot and dusty confines. From a lethargic internet terminal, contact was established with the Defence Attaché’s office in Vienna, and Exercise MOUNTAIN COCKNEY was conceived.
In February, five officers and fourteen soldiers crammed into a minibus and a van and chugged across Europe, our destination being the Austrian military
B Squadron Ski Team
Household Cavalry News
base of Walgau Kaserne. The facility was made available thanks to an annual agreement with the Austrian military, and provided free accommodation and food and, most importantly, relatively easy access to the ski slopes of Lech and St. Anton. Equipped with the finest in 1980s’ skiing equipment, courtesy of the Army loan stores, the group began six days of ski tuition provided by Austrian ski instructors. The vertiginous slopes of St. Anton located in a steep V-shaped valley were not the ideal venue for a group predominantly consisting of beginners to be introduced to skiing, but all coped admirably. Most quickly realised it was worth spending some money to hire more up to date carving skis that actually had proper edges on them. The beginners’ group rapidly increased in confidence as the week continued, and there were some pretty impressive performances with Tprs Mathis and
Bentley going from total novice status to skiing red runs within four days. By the end of the week, the aim of the exercise had been achieved; all skiers had
reached the standard of Basic Ski Proficiency, and had discovered an activity they will wish to enjoy again in the future.
C Squadron Sailing Cornet R A E Leigh-Wood, The Blues and Royals n the waters around the Solent during the last week of September, raging battles were occurring as the Royal Armoured Corps Sailing Team fought for victory in the Joint Services Sailing Regatta.
The first day was the calm before the storm. The Team, captained by Major Tom Holloway KRH, gathered at first light and we began stripping the boat of all unnecessary cargo. Cushions, anchor, spare sails, pots and pans and, surprisingly, the life raft - all dead weight. My contribution was to remove the kettle and mugs. This came with a deafening roar, and I was promptly asked how we were to win without a brew before each race. Once checks were completed and pointless ballast had been removed, we cruised out of Fort Blockhouse Marina on board White Knight V and began our training. There was a wide variety of people on board ranging from Majors to Troopers and with this came a variety of age and experience. It wasn’t too clear if the age of the sailor prevented hard, physical work or whether it was the experience needed on more delicate jobs, but the more senior you were, the less hard work you had to do. Tpr White was sent to the foredeck, and I was positioned on the winches. With a few hours practice, we were a well-oiled machine ready to take on all that was thrown at us.
Household Cavalry News
There were seven other boats at the start line the following day. Major Holloway seemed only concerned with two of them: the Army on Longbow, the favorite; and the Royal Air Force on Red Arrow. Both crews had been together for months and had been very successful during Cowes week earlier in the year. The Royal Navy and the other corps boats were in the same predicament as us with brand new crews. Everyone was in position and poised to react to any command given by the skipper. The bowman leant on the forestay and was the helm’s eyes and ears. The rest of us were sitting on the side, hiking out over the rails. The initial ten minutes are furiously busy with a crescendo of activity in the last fifteen seconds before the race begins. For those in the cockpit or on winches, life is hard work with tacks and gybes being called with only seconds of warning. The final gun went and the racing began. Our first race didn’t go too well and we came in a disappointing sixth. However, over the next five races spanning the next two days, the racing was more intense and White Knight V only got faster. The wind varied continuously from a gale force 2 to 6. The crew became slicker, and we crept up the league table. At the end of the inland racing, the Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club finished third, closely
behind the RAF but, inevitably, the winner was the Army. The final two days were for the offshore race; one hundred and eighty miles non-stop between buoys scattered in the English Channel. The finish line was at Weymouth, and we had our eyes firmly on Longbow. Our tactician worked out that, with our handicap, we had to be no further than six hours and eighteen minutes behind Longbow in order to win. The race began at 0900hrs on a glorious September day. The wind was strong at force 6, and the sun was out. Again, there was a furious start to find the best position and the cleanest winds. Major Holloway found it and White Knight V had a fantastic start. Two other boats followed our routes but the others followed Longbow to the other side of the Solent. After several hours we had left the slower boats behind and maintained contact with the two faster boats, Red Arrow and Longbow. On the south side of the Isle of Wight, we again chose a different course to that of the leading pair. We knew that at the next mark we could calculate whether our gamble had paid off or if we were slipping out of the race. At 1805hrs, as we passed our most easterly mark, we discovered that our gamble had paid off
massively and we had caught the leaders. It was now going to be a twelve hour beat during the night to our finish line. The wind increased and waves grew out of nowhere. The heavy oilskins were worn, and we all resumed our positions on the rail, hanging over the side. The horizon no longer existed and, in the trough of every wave, we lost visual contact of the two in front. The waves pounded the boat and sprayed us all continuously. Daylight disappeared, and we were now definitely alone and were being thrown about like a rag doll. Eventually, our stomachs got the better of us, and we needed some food. But by now seasickness had set in to some and there were few volunteers to go below and cook our rations. Somehow, they were cooked and those who could, ate. One crewman was too seasick to eat, and two others on the first mouthful quickly and violently sent it overboard.
The rest of the night was relatively uneventful with the exception of two close calls with high speed oil tankers and we crossed the finish at 0615hrs. We moored alongside Longbow which had been in for quite some time. But the question was how much longer. Red Arrow had only finished one hour in front of us so we had definitely beaten her. It came to light that Longbow had been keeping a close eye on our progress as well and they unofficially told us that we had won by approximately fifteen minutes. A tiny margin for such a long race. The following week was a much more relaxed week on the Household Division’s yacht, Gladeye. The winds were sadly almost negligible and only blew to a force 3 by the last day. Seven of us left Gosport with the intention of sailing the English Channel and making it to the Channel Isles, but the wind didn’t replicate the week before. This did not prevent us from achieving our adventure
training objectives. The majority of the crew had never been on a yacht and the others had limited skill aboard one. The crew consisted of me, 2nd Lieutenant C B E Dale LG and Tprs Simkins, Wilson, Privett, Miah and Alsop. Each day, we hoisted sail and carried out normal seamanship skills. Inevitably, we switched on the motor for some of the time in order to reach new destinations. By the third night we had made it to Weymouth, the furthest westerly point we dared to go due to the weak wind forecast and the powerful midday currents against us. The Thursday and Friday were more exciting as the wind picked up. The sails filled and the boat keeled over nicely. Thus we had no need to motor. We arrived back at Fort Blockhouse after a thoroughly enjoyable week and look forward to further adventures on Gladeye this year.
Polo If you were to listen to the stories over lunch in both the two Messes in recent months, you would be forgiven for thinking that the 2005 season had been extremely busy for Regimental Polo players. It seems that, however little polo players actually play, they always talk a great game and seem to bore nonplayers to death in the process. And so it was last season. Although we have not had the depth in terms of numbers for some time, it seems that ever-increasing commitments, coupled with rising costs has led to a decline in the amount of polo actually being played by Regimental players. Despite this, the 2005 season probably saw more officers than ever before, picking up a stick, jumping on a polo pony and giving the ‘Sport of Kings’ a go.
The Regimental team enjoyed success in the Inter-Regimental, the highlight of the Military Polo calendar. Major P R L Hunter LG lead Household Cavalry ‘B’ team out with LCpl Smith LG and both Majors Lord Manton and I S ForbesCockell, both formally LG, returning from retirement to complete the line up. Unfortunately, they had a first round draw against a far stronger Foot Guards side and, sadly, could not pull off the impossible, losing by a small margin. Household Cavalry ‘A’ team, captained by Captain M P F Dollar RHG/D with Major R H A Lewis RHG/D, Captain J E A de St John Pryce RHG/D and Lieutenant B J Vestey RHG/D was slightly more lucky and received a bye in the first round, allowing them to go straight into the semi-finals against the Royal
The Regimental team winners of the Inter-Regimental final at The Guards Polo Club.
Navy, who have long had the reputation of being a tough team to beat. Sadly, the match was over after only a few minutes. A collision between two of the Navy players left one unconscious for a number of minutes, and with no available replacement, they were forced to forfeit the match. Thus with only playing two minutes of polo, Household Cavalry ‘A’ found themselves in the final at the Guards Polo Club against a strong RMA Sandhurst team. The game proved to be one of the more exciting finals for some time and with fast, open polo, both teams played well. The final score was 9 – 5 to the Household Cavalry. Barbour continued their support of Regimental Polo and, whilst Major A J L Fox-Pitt, formally LG was unable to
Capt Dollar in action during the final.
Household Cavalry News
play due to an injury, the team was able to use other members of the Regiment. Barbour HCR, as the team is known, competed at various levels throughout the season at Guards winning the Spring Amateur 6-goal and the Claude Pert 8goal. They rounded off a good season narrowly losing in the subsidiary final of the Godley Memorial 12-goal tournament. Also at Guards, Major P R L Hunter LG teamed up with two civilian teams, Warm Up and Dexia to enter and win with a combined team in the Loyd Cup. The Loyd Cup is an invitation match played in memory of Major W T V Loyd, formerly LG and former manager of Guards Polo Club. Further afield, members of the Regiment represented a Bovington Team playing various tournaments at Tidworth and Orchard Polo Clubs and saw success in the Junior Division of the Captains’ and Subalterns’ Tournament at Tidworth. Those members of the Regiment who got a run out for the Bovington Team over the season were;
Majors C A Lockhart RHG/D and J B C Butah LG, Captain H J Floyd RHG/D and Lieutenants J M Cork LG and L O D McCallum RHG/D. Polo has also gained interest at the Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC) at the Defence Academy UK at Shrivenham, where a number of officers get together every Wednesday afternoon to play at the local Inglesham Polo club. This has all been made possible through the hard work and efforts of Lieutenant Colonel J R Wheeler LG who has recently learnt to play the game and has already caught the bug. The Regiment also saw representation on various overseas tours. Lieutenant B J Vestey joined the Combined Services on their tour to the Eastern Circuit Polo Association in the United States based around Washington DC, and Major R H A Lewis flew to the Argentine with the Army Polo Association for a week-long training camp. Perhaps the highlight of all overseas tours was the Household Cavalry Polo Team trip to Virginia, whilst taking some well earned R&R from the plains of Canada. Managed by
the internationally renowned polo manager Major R Philipson-Stowe, RHG/D and captained by Major A D Dick MBE RHG/D, the team also included Captains C J L Speers RHG/D and C R Wren LG and Lieutenant L O D McCallum, RHG/D in support. The team visited the Great Meadows Polo Club in Virginia and the University of Virginia Polo Club where they were lucky enough to play five games in a week. Unfortunately, it seems their American hosts did not hold back on the entertainment as the team lost all five of their games, presumably due to over indulgence off the field of play. Looking forward, the 2006 season looks to be shaping up well with Barbour continuing their support of Regimental Polo. We welcome Officer Cadets H Wales and J W Mann both of whom are joining The Blues and Royals from RMA Sandhurst. The Regiment should be able to compete in many of the Army tournaments and, hopefully, a number of civilian tournaments at Guards and other clubs around the country.
Household Cavalry Lead Dorset Polo Revival! By Captain H J Floyd, The Blues and Royals n a wet February afternoon in Bovington Mess, thoughts of Polo were not foremost in the minds of most officers at the Royal Armoured Corps Centre, but Lieutenant Colonel S W Ledger LD was determined to change that. He gathered five tentative horsemen, including Captain Harry Floyd RHG/D and Major Justin Butah LG, and sowed the seeds of Bovington Polo Club. Our mission was similar to that given to contestants on the TV programme ‘Faking It’ – we had a short time in which to do enough training with an expert in order
to make everyone believe we were far more competent at this sport than was true. The expert was Dick Rowe (formerly a Captain in the 13th/18th Hussars) of Orchard Polo Club, and our bluff was to be called at the Captains’ and Subalterns’ Polo tournament at Tidworth in July. After weekly training at Orchard that resulted in sore seats and a barely perceptible improvement in sporting ability, July sprang itself upon us and we realised that we needed to raise our
HCR v Line Cavalry at Orchard.
Household Cavalry News
game. We achieved this in two ways. We spent a lot more time than usual playing practice chukkas and we recruited a ringer in the form of 2nd Lieutenant James Cork LG whose polo knowledge and experience was far greater than that of the rest of the team combined! The traditional sunny day for polo was conspicuously absent as we lined up against a formidable looking team from the Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG) on Saturday 30th July in the driving rain. The next twenty-eight minutes passed in
a complete blur of rain and mud, but the Bovington team surprised the crowd and, most of all themselves, by beating the RDG 9-0! By hook or by crook, we had scrambled our way into the next round! Sunday brought with it improved weather but worsened nerves as we faced an immaculately turned out Black Watch team. We no longer enjoyed the relaxed position of underdog and we were desperately trying to work out what we had done the day before so we could repeat it! The game remained tense as the score line crept up on both sides of the board and we were making silly mistakes as the Black Watch defended their goal mouth with characteristic Jock resilience. The final score, however, ended 7-6 in our favour, and we could not quite believe that we had won the plate competition! Shouldn’t someone have checked the scorer? The inaugural win for the newly established Bovington Polo team did not end the season. Enthusiasm for the sport was by this stage well established in Dorset, and we decided to end the season with an intra-Bovington match. The Household Cavalry challenged ‘The Line’ at Orchard Polo Ground with the Household Cavalry Team consisting of Major C A Lockhart RHG/D, Major J B C Butah LG, Captain H J Floyd RHG/D and 2nd Lieutenant T J Cork LG. The opposition was captained by the chairman of
Maj Lockhart, Maj Butah and 2 Lt Cork.
the Army Polo Association, Lieutenant Colonel S W Ledger LD, who ensured that the fight was fiercely fought. It was eventually won by the Household Cavalry in a very entertaining match. This may not have been high quality polo by any stretch of the imagination, but it had been undiluted, competitive fun. With a combination of increasing costs alongside increasing operational tempo, all army sports are struggling to maintain a following, but the newly established Bovington Polo Club will hopefully counteract this trend by introducing this fantastic sport to newcomers and by re-invigorating more seasoned
players who have been forced to let their mallets gather dust. The final match at Orchard Polo Club is indicative of the enthusiasm for the sport that still lies untapped within the Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps. Thanks to the support from the collective Regiments, DRAC, The Army Polo Association and the Bovington Sports fund on the financial front, and from Dick Rowe and Lieutenant Colonel Ledger on the training, facilitating and encouragement front, we have proved that polo is still a fun and valuable competitive sport within the Royal Armoured Corps and that there is still a strong following of the sport within the Household Cavalry.
HCR Inter Squadron Boxing 2005 By Lieutenant W A McCarter, The Blues and Royals
n January the first inter squadronboxing tournament for over two years was held. Despite the Regiment’s general lack of experience and the short time that competitors had to train, the response from all the squadrons was impressive, particularly as most of those who put themselves forward were complete beginners.
either a circuit or a swim most days. Those who had never been in the ring before were quickly made aware of just how tiring even one minute of boxing is and, therefore, all competitors worked very hard on their fitness. Equally every single boxer was made aware of quite what an undertaking it is to throw and take punches.
After passing initial medical examinations before the Christmas break, training began in earnest in early January. The Commanding Officer gave all fighters time off their normal duties to concentrate fully on firstly getting fit enough to last three rounds in the ring and secondly to learn the basics of boxing. The Master Chef was kind enough to provide a special diet for all competitors, thus everything was in place for a good period of training.
Due to the number of competitors it was necessary to hold preliminary bouts on 14th February, each fighter competing in a round robin competition at his weight. Notable fights included Lieutenant McCarter’s short lived appearance against LCpl Maguire spurred on by his trainer’s encouraging words of “this is where you make your name sir”, (or not) and Tpr Tiraimaidoko’s devastating punches which put the fear up all boxers and spectators alike.
All Squadrons followed a similar pattern of a run, a skills session, sparring and
The finals were held a night later with both messes in attendance. If the com-
Capt Fisher obviously put his money on the
Household Cavalry News
Another fine blow for freedom!
petition was not enough, the added bonus of Shona keeping the crowd up to date on the round number meant a terrific atmosphere. There were some excellent contests between LCpl Mills (A Sqn) and Tpr Reeves (D Sqn), LCpl Mills being the eventual winner. LCpl Harris (C Sqn) and LCpl Hanson (A
Sqn) were also congratulated by the judges, LCpl Hanson the winner. The fight of the night was between Tpr Kynoch (HQ Sqn) and LCpl Stevenson (A Sqn LAD), LCpl Stevenson the victor and winner of the best boxer of the night. A Squadron were the Regimental champions.
The night was an enormous success and displayed why boxing embodies many of the qualities needed of a soldier particularly the use of controlled but effective aggression and above all courage. Everyone who took part should be extremely proud of what they achieved.
Household Cavalry Golf 2005 By Captain P G Maxwell, The Blues and Royals There has been a lot of golf played both individually and as a team over the year. We have been fortunate again to be able to use Eton College and the Royal Household courses throughout the year. Our annual matches have been challenging and, in cases, triumphant. The number of potential golfers has risen mainly from the attached elements (REME) and we can pride ourselves that our mid – high double figure handicappers have lowered their handicaps down to either, single and low double figure so the future is looking bright. In 2006/7, we are currently looking to expand our matches by taking on the Eton College, Windsor Castle, and possibly the New Royal Ascot Golf Clubs, the latter which has also offered the Regiment six places at £900 green fees each, which will need to be looked at a bit closer.
was fine and the course was in good order especially for that time of year. As in previous years, the Household Cavalry made up nearly half the players and, as you would expect, had a good chance of taking away most of the prizes. This we did and those who made the grade were as follows:
Captain’s Prize: Capt Kibble & Padre Ollif - 109 pts The Captain’s Prize has now been won by the Household Cavalry for the fourth year running, again showing our strength. The Colonel-in-Chief ’s Cup
Scratch winner: Lt Col Sibley - 33pts Handicap Singles: 1st CoH Short - 42pts 3rd WO2 Kellet 41pts (lost on count back) Longest Drive: Capt Kibble Handicap Pairs: 1st Lt Col Sibley & Capt Hennessy-Walsh - 36 pts 2nd Capt Kibble & Padre Ollif - 34 pts 3rd Capt Carter & CoH Short - 32pts
The first and second rounds were held in March on yet another dry and slightly breezy day which did not affect the playing conditions on a well presented course at Worplesdon. The only change from previous years was a slightly longer course as they played from the white ‘Tee’ instead of Yellow. The Regiment entered three teams only to loose the B and C teams in the first round. The B team took the Welsh Guards A to the
CoH Andy Short has taken on the duties as Garrison Golf Captain of Warminster and has been praised by fellow golfer in the area for the time and effort he has put in. WO2 (RQMC(T)) Kellet and I were invited down to their garrison annual competition as guests and walked away with Best net points (42) and Best Stableford (40) respectively. Those of you who wish to experience Warminster West Wilts Golf Club should be aware that it is narrow, has many slopes and a constant cross wind, but is fun. Household Division Championships This competition is traditionally the start to our golfing season; the weather
Household Cavalry News
The players at Swinley Forrest.
Major Paddy Kersting receiving the ‘Nearest the Pin’ prize at the
wire; credit must be given to Captains Kibble and McKechnie and WO2 Kellet and CoH Short who came in at one down respectively. The C team played Irish Guards A but, sadly, were the gallant losers and, again, credit must be given to CoH Bye and LCoH Lewis who came in level to a very strong team. The A team received a bye in the first round which allowed them a quiet training round before taking on a serious Coldstream Guards B team. This did not deter the focus of our boys, who at the end had a 14 up convincing win with Tpt Maj Wheeler and Neil Flynn 7 up. At the Semi Finals in late August, the A team took on a very strong Welsh Guards A team but, unfortunately, went 5 down. The only pair to go up was Lieutenant Colonel Sibley and Gary Dunkley. They then went on to play the Coldstream Guards A for 3rd place and, with some good fairway playing and reasonable putting, came away 3 up to win with Captain Kibble and Tpt Maj Wheeler 2 up and Lieutenant Colonel Sibley and Gary Dunkley 4 up. Sunningdale We only managed to play our spring meeting this year due to regimental commitments; the autumn fixture sadly had to be postponed. On arrival, it came as a welcome surprise to hear that we were going to play on the old course, which in golfing terms, regardless of standard, is an experience not to be forgotten. The staff at Sunningdale had changed their team due to our 5 - 0 victorious performance in Autumn 2004, but again they still did not do enough as for the second time in a row we held on to a 3 – 2 win. As the Autumn match was postponed, we are hoping to arrange three matches in 2006. Swinley Forest This quiet annual event was played in early May and, after an early threat of rain, waterproofs were put away. The course was in as immaculate state as one
WO2 RQMC(T) Kellet receiving the ‘Longest Drive’ prize at the
would expect, but I’m afraid to inform you that again we came away almost empty handed. Thanks go to Harry Ford with ‘Nearest the Pin’ and Captain Kibble with the ‘Longest Drive’. This was the second time in a row that Swinley has walked over us winning 4 – 2. This will be addressed in 2006. After a very good supper and speeches from Colin Falvey and Lawson Bingham, the raffle kicked off and we came away with the majority of prizes. Despite the loss, Swinley remains an outstanding place to play golf. Wimbledon Common Golf Club Our annual match with Wimbledon this year very nearly didn’t happen due to availability of players. Our thanks go to Capt Sadler (RAO HCMR), SSgt Turley and guest Ivan Brown for accepting our last minute dot.com plea. In the end, on a very warm, dry day we put up a good fight only to lose by 8 points and 3 -2 in match-play. The home team proposed to play off the white tees and this was accepted even though the high handicappers did at times struggle to make the fairways. As in all matches, it’s playing to your best and not against your opponent. All in all, it was a good day with good company, great food and fine wine. Household Cavalry Golf Day Wednesday, 7th September was the day booked to hold our Regimental golf day at the Royal Household Golf Club, Windsor Castle. Again due to regimental commitments from HCMR and HCR with changing programmes, it was difficult to get the numbers required to hold a reasonable competition, so additional invites went out to those who had left the Regiments. The day started with 17 pairs playing ‘4 Ball better ball Stableford pairings’ with a shot gun start over nine holes. This was just a fun warm-up competition allowing those who hadn’t played there before to assess the course. Notwithstanding the very
deep ‘rough’, some very reasonable scores were put together. The following had the edge: 1st
Lt Col Sibley and D Hume (Guest) - 19pts 2nd CoH Short and M Dack (Guest) 18pts on count-back 3rd Capt Hennessy-Walsh and Sgt Blackie - 18pts After a light lunch, the serious fun started with ‘Single Stableford’ competition. Every man for himself trying their hardest, consequently duffing, slicing and drawing shots. On and around the pins play seemed to be pretty good apart from the weak or over zealous ones of us. Results across the board were of a steady level but the following few made it (and consequently have had their handicap cut by 1)! 1st Tpt Maj Wheeler - 40 pts 2nd CoH Short - 38 pts Won on count back 3rd WO2 Gray - 38 pts Maj Kersting Nearest the Pin (40cm) WO2 Kellet Longest Drive Sgt Henderson (REME) Most Golf played The Fred Collingwood trophy for the best Household Cavalryman on the day was awarded to WO2 Kellet, the fifth different winner since its inception in 2001. The Trophy remains on display in the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess with the triumphant winner’s name engraved on it and a 10 inch replica kept by the winner himself. On behalf of the Regiment, I must thank Fred Collingwood for his time and constant support he has given us in the generosity of his prizes for this competition over the years. Following a much wanted curry supper in the WOs’ & NCOs’ Mess, the prizes were presented by Mr John Snook, managing Partner of Close Brothers Private Equity who also kindly sponsored this competition.
Household Cavalry News
London District Spring/Autumn Meeting 2005 The spring meeting was played at Chelsfield Lakes just off Junction 4 of the M25, an Open course with lots of room for error, high winds making it more challenging and even more so in the afternoon competing against horizontal rain coming in from the south. At the end of the day we came away with:
LSgt Pethick REME - 39 Stableford Pts AM 2nd CoH Short 87 Combined AM/PM Stableford pts 3rd WO2 Kellet 81 5th CoH Hughes 74 The autumn meeting was held at Addington Courts Golf Club just outside Croydon on a very hard frosted course. It was said ‘we might as well play on tarmac’. By 1100
the sun was bright and warm, melting the frosted surface but leaving dew kissed grass making reading of the greens difficult. We saw a number of first class pitching shots only to watch the ball bounce way beyond its intended area. Scoring was not particularly high that day with 37 pts taking the top prize with the majority in the mid – late twenties. Next year LONDIST are planning to have threemeetings, spring, summer and autumn.
The Florida Swing By Captain R Hennessy-Walsh, formerly The Life Guards n a complete break with tradition, the well-travelled Household Cavalry golfers splashed out on two holidays in 2005. The reasons are long and complicated and not really necessary for you to know.
In January, Messrs Hennessy-Walsh, Ford, Dunkley Snr and Clarke (not Household Cavalry) travelled on three different flights finally meeting up at Orlando airport quite close to each other’s arrival time. We were fortunate to be staying in a luxurious villa just outside Mickey’s homeland. Mr Dunkley kindly provided each of the two cars with a walky-talky so that we never lost each other and were able to brush up on our voice procedure (which still needs tweaking). Reverse jet lag seemed to consume two of the party both of whom woke up at extraordinary times of the night eating toast and going out to fill the cars up with fuel. Come the mornings though, both were ready for the golf. We played on six excellent courses in the Orlando area on greens that were, in the main, beautifully presented. On a fairly cold day at Mystic Dunes, Mr Ford cleverly played a shot out of the rough, on to a tree, and landed it in the drinks compartment of his golf buggy. The laughter from the other three could be heard for miles. The Magnolia course, one of the courses within the Disney resort, was fabulous and is still used by the PGA Tour for the Funai Classic. Our final game was played at Champions Gate – a course designed by Greg Norman. This was a long and difficult course with Harry Ford getting into the action again. In a rare act of malice, he hit a vicious shot at such speed that the reverse somersault he had to take to avoid this ‘Exocet’ has left him with nightmares for life. We had dinner together each evening, and one of the highlights saw us wading through a restaurant which was ankle-deep in peanut shells and provided jam jars to drink your beer. This, at first sight, rather unappealing diner, provided us with our best meal of the tour! The shopping Malls were once again explored by some of the more adventurous
Household Cavalry News
amongst us with Gary having to buy another three suitcases to get it all back to the UK. Gary was the overall winner for the week, playing some good golf with Harry winning the midweek trophy. It was a wonderful week with many memories to treasure. The second phase was a trip to Miami (specifically Fort Lauderdale) in October. At last, we had some serious sun, basking in temperatures around the mid 80s and humidity to match. Six made the trip – three ex-Household Cavalrymen; Hennessy-Walsh, Ford and Taylor together with a professional golfer from each of the Wisley and Guildford Golf Clubs and, finally, Bjorn Dunkley son of the more famous father, Gary. We played seven fantastic courses including the TPC at Heron Bay. Wherever we went, there was a stunning array of flora and fauna. One of the highlights was Crandon Golf Club in Key Biscayne where the views of the Miami skyline were spectacular. In addition, this course provided us with a whole host of wildlife to admire including some fairly large iguanas. Halfway through the tour, Hurricane Wilma (nicknamed Flintstone) was brought to our attention. Fortunately for us, its progress from Mexico was slower than predicted and we were able to finish the week pretty much uninterrupted by the weather.
How the swing should look.
The evenings were varied and, for the younger of our flock, long. This seemed not to matter a great deal to the way they played golf, with a few exceptions, and Master Dunkley picked up the first place prize money and Dick Hennessy-Walsh was third. It was a fantastic week with magnificent courses, electric greens and spoilt only by our removal from the course on the 14th fairway of the final day when the heavens opened and the advance guard of Wilma bared its teeth. 2006 is already planned with a trip to Hilton Head in South Carolina where twelve of us will…… (that’s for another day).
The whole group. L to R: Matt Freeland (Pro Wisley), Dick Hennessy-Walsh, Harry Ford, Bjorn
Eagles Veterans RUFC By Warrant Officer 2 (LSL) JA Evans, The Blues and Royals can report this year with some pride that the third Eagles Veterans RFC rugby tour hosted again as in previous years by Bramley RFC in the fair city of Leeds had a successful result for the team beating our hosts for the first time 30 -7. News of the tour continues to spread and, in all, twenty-seven players and supporters travelled from various parts of the county to join up and celebrate the fine rugby and comradeship of the Regiment. As last year, we gathered on the Friday evening in a Leeds City Centre Pub close to the hotel we were staying in and within easy walking distance of the bright lights of Leeds City Centre. A fine meal in a Spanish Restaurant was one of the many highlights of the night’s entertainment.
The weather on the Saturday was a perfect, clear crisp spring afternoon and the ground was in great condition and perfect for playing Rugby. Neal Gaskell who, some weeks earlier, had told me he was determined to bring the ‘vets’ a positive result against Bramley, gave a rousing team talk before kick off, and the team answered with some great possession rugby straight from the start. In the lineout and scrum, the pack won all its own possession and managed to take some ball against the head on the opposition put in, much to the credit of young hooker Mike Smith. Proud father, Neil (Widger) Smith, watched his son from the sideline. After a period of sustained pressure early in the game, we took the lead with a penalty. About mid way through the first half, we increased our lead when Jock Robertson playing at No 8 scored his first of two tries of the afternoon with a great finish after the ball had gone through a couple of pairs of hands. Ten minutes later after some good forward work from John Dickens and Andy Hasting in the ruck, Robertson scored a good try with a strong run from about thirty metres out. During the second half, both teams started to tire and, with back row forward Chris Trinick starting to win a lot of turnover possession, this caused Bramley to constantly infringe at the breakdown. This gave John Kilvington the chance to show he still had his kicking boots, and so increase our lead with some good penalty kicks. It was just after this that the low point of the tour occurred, when John was injured and had to leave the field. It later turned out that he had broken his leg! I was impressed with John’s pain threshold as he hardly made a sound when carried from the pitch, which was good for a girly back! Mark Dhyce moved to stand-off and Ted Heath came on as flanker. The try of the match occurred after a scrum
Still serving and still playing!
five metres out from the Bramley try line when the pack won some good ball which Mark Dhyce fed to Neal Gaskell who, with knees pumping high, broke through two tacklers to reach out and score a great try. Our final score of the afternoon was a great little sniping run from scrum half Adrian Phillips to score our fourth and final try. Bramley scored a late consolation try after Alan Rose had in the ref ’s view committed a penalty offence, which was hard on Alan. From the following penalty, Bramley ran in a good try with the ball moving through a few pairs of hands for the winger to score in the corner. This was just about the final play of the game and we retired to the bar to laugh at
Joe Parker’s anecdotes and sink a few pints of Yorkshire best bitter. It was agreed that the success of the tour should be extended to playing a match twice a year and one of these should be closer to the Regiment’s home in Windsor. I hope to report the success of this venture in next year’s magazine. If any of you old players or supporters are interested and want ” just one more game” for the Eagles, then you should contact either me on 0148872644 or John Dickens on 07715539141 or 94222 3508. We are also keen to see serving members of the Regiment and they will also be made most welcome, but they will have to do most of the running around on the pitch! Just ask Chris Trinick.
Eagles Veterans 2005.
Household Cavalry News
BN Major TW Bridges Td Downlands, The Furlongs, Alfriston, Polegate Sussex BN26 5XS 01 323 870718 GU Mr TGW Carrington 331 Yorktown Road, College Town Sandhurst Berkshire GU47 0QA 01 276 36384 LA Mr N Clarkson Calder Park, Calderbridge, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1DN 01 946 823404 SA Mr RJ Cobb 107 High Street, Neyland Milford Haven Dyfed SA73 1TR 01 646 602084 AUSTRALIA Mr GS Coleman 12 Wild Avenue, Reynella 5161 South Australia (0061) 8381 2074 firstname.lastname@example.org SPAIN Mr MJ Creagh “Casa Mariposa”, Rambla Los Pardos, Los Lanos De Taberno 04692 Almeria, Spain 0034 66000 1793 email@example.com NE, SR Mr G Cuthbertson 1 Dove Row, North Shields Northumberland NE30 4QP 0191 290 2835 firstname.lastname@example.org EH, FK, ML, TD Mr J Docherty Mail Boxes Etc 44/46 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, Lothian EH10 4BF 01 313 374255 LE, NG Mr WD Elsmore 34 Barkby Road, Syston, Leicester LE7 2AF 0116 269 5794 LN, PE Mr AC Etches 12 Grafton Avenue, Netherton Peterborough Cambridgeshire PE3 9PD 01 733 263004 email@example.com CANADA Mr C Grant 41 - 2248 Southview Drive SE Medicine Hat Alberta Canada TIB 1R3 (403) 548 7545 firstname.lastname@example.org ST, TF Mr F Fox The Radjel, 24 Bramall Lane, Stafford ST16 1JD 01 785 252351 email@example.com
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News from the Associations
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The Household Cavalry Museum Development Project n many ways, it has been a frustrating twelve month period for the Museum Development Project, as the main building work at Horse Guards has not yet started, and the completion date of the project is likely to be a year later than previously thought.
The main delay was with the project team’s ability to convince the Heritage Lottery Fund of our matching fund position and, until such time as the Household Cavalry Museum Trust could show that it had all the necessary funding in place, the Lottery was not going to sign off the project, which would allow us to start drawing on their financial support. Happily, the final piece of the jigsaw was put in place at the end of last year in the form of a bank loan of £750,000 and, consequently, we have now received formal permission to start on the main building phase of the project. We estimate that the overall cost of the project will be in the region of £4.5 million, and our Appeal will continue throughout this year with the intention of clearing the loan in advance of trading commencing in mid 2007.
The main contractor is currently in the process of revisiting the project with the upwards of sixty different contractors, to establish if their prices that were frozen at the end of last summer can still be fixed. There may be elements of the project that will have to be re-tendered if a realistic guaranteed maximum price cannot be arrived at. After a period of contractual negotiations and on-site mobilisation, we hope for demolition work to commence in July. Thereafter, we have allowed eight and a half months for building work and a further three months for the museum fit out. If everything goes according to plan through 2006 and the early part of 2007, we would hopefully be able to open our new museum in Horse Guards in June 2007.
For any further information regarding any aspect of the Museum Development Project or Appeal please contact: The Appeal Office Household Cavalry Museum Combermere Barracks Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3DN Tel: 01753 755194 Fax: 01753 755203 Email: email@example.com
Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund 1. The HCCCF was created in 1992 on the Union of The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals for the benefit of all ranks of the Regiments of the Household Cavalry past and present.
3. The Trustees are:
2. Its objectives are to:
(1) Commander Household Cavalry (2) Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Regiment (3) Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (4) Secretary The Life Guards Association (5) Secretary The Blues and Royals Association
a. Relieve, either generally or individually, past and present members of the Household Cavalry and their dependants who are in need, hardship or distress in such ways as the trustees from time to time think fit. This, in the first instance is done through the two Associations.
a. Ex Officio:
b. Co-Opted: b. Promote the efficiency of the Household Cavalry and its component Regiments and the members thereof in such ways as the Trustees from time to time think fit.
News from the Associations
(1) Former member of The Life Guards (2) Former member of The Blues and Royals
Balance Sheet as at 31st March 2005 Fixed Assets Investments at Market Value
31 March 2005 £ £
31 March 2004 £ £
Current Assets Bank
Current Liabilities Creditors Standards Parade Life Guards Remnant Fund Rose Fund
176525 15466 227154
Total Assets Minus Total Liabilities:
Income And Expenditure Summary 1st April 2004 To 31st March 2005 INCOME Subscriptions Dividends Interest Tax Rebate (Gift Aid)
£ 49480 18983 1473 13983
EXPENDITURE £ Association Grants 22500 Army Benevolent Fund Grant 6000 Animal Welfare Trust 5000 Adventure Training and Sports 13629 Household Division Subscriptions Fund 5739 Director Royal Armoured Corps Subscriptions 600 Honorarium 2500 Standards Parade Provision 4000 Journal 1620
Obituaries The Life Guards The deaths are announced of the following members of the Regiment who have sadly passed away during the previous 12 months. The Committee, and all Old Comrades, offer their sincere condolences to all members of their families. O Ever-living God, King Of Kings, In Whose Service We Put On The Breastplate Of Faith And Love, And For A Helmet The Hope Of Salvation, Grant We Beseech Thee That The Life Guards May Be Faithful Unto Death, And At Last Receive The Crown Of Life From Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. May they Rest in Peace. 295081 WO2 WH Stevens
295696 CoH L Hackman
Served from 19 September 1935 until 30 September 1960 Died 4 March 2005 aged 84 years
Served from 3 June 1941 until 12 October 1948 Died February 2003 aged 87 years
296598 Cpl EH Walker
22205021 Tpr JR Bridges
Served from 11 Janaury 1945 until 25 March 1948 Died 2 March 2005 aged 79 years
Served from February 1948 until March 1953 Died 11 May 2005 aged 75 years
22556865 Tpr V Keith
416318 Captain the Hon Sir Charles Morrison
Served from 20 September 1937 until 5 June 1946 Died 12 January 2005 aged 85 years
Served from 1 September 1954 until 30 September 1957 Died 1 March 2005 aged 68 years
Served from 2 October 1950 until 25 May 1966 Died May 2005 aged 73 years
296573 Tpr J Hadfield
296008 WO1 DS Dodson
Served from 1 December 1944 until 28
Served from 3 March 1949 until 18 September 1950 Died 9 May 2005 aged 75 years
Served from 25 January 1943 to 30 June 1965 Died 23 March 2005 aged 80 years
Died 31 January 2005 aged 78 years
14971360 Tpr GA Simpson
296173 CoH CHB Groves BEM
Served from 3 May 1945 to 3 May 1948 Died 10 July 2004 aged 77 years
Served from 24 July 1932 until 24 July 1957 Died at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea on 10 July 2005 aged 88 years
22879192 Tpr R Taylor
22350631 Tpr DA Poulding
Served from 1953 – 1955 Died 5 April 2005 aged 71 years
Served from 1 April 1949 until 30 April 1951 Died 10 May 2005 aged 73 years
23215461 Tpr R Croft
328789 Tpr RR Dixon
Served from 7 March 1957 until 6 March 1960 Died 11 March 2005 aged 65 years
Served until 1 April 1946 Died 28 August 2005 aged 87 years
23865761 LCoH JA Hollinrake
22205353 F/Cpl WH Withington
Served from 26 June 1961 until 25 June 1970 Died 29 April 2005 aged 62 years
Served from 25 April 1949 until 20 March 1961 Died 8 September 2005 aged 78 yrs
25061598 LCpl DJ Mitchinson
296803 Tpr RC Nicholls
Served from 15 September 1997 until 3 May 2005 Died 3 May 2005 aged 29 years
Served from 27 May 1947 until 26 May 1959 Died date unknown approx 76 years
296731 LCpl F Baker
295276 HCJ Umpleby
Served from 2 December 1946 until 14 February 1970 Died 7 May 2005 aged 74 years
Transferred to RAC 29 June 1944 Served from 27 April 1938 until 19 August 1946 Died 22 September 2005 aged 89 years
296556 Cpl H Harrison Served from 1 December 1944 until 2 April 1948 Died 6 January 2005 aged 77 years
23196950 LCpl B Hardy Served from 5 March 1956 until 23 August 1965 Died 31 January 2005 aged 69 years
6011286 Cpl CWHJ Dodd
Served from 11 November 1943 until 18 July 1947 Died 24 January 2005 aged 81 years
284971 WO2 (SCM) JW McNelly LVO Served from 25 May 1933 until 24 May 1955 Died in the Royal Hospital, Chelsea on 8 February 2005 aged 93 years
296663 Tpr W Thorne Served from 8 June 1945 until 7 June 1957 Died 4 February 2005 aged 77 years
295693 Tpr R Peacock Served from 1 May 1941 until 23 December 1946 Died 10 February 2005 aged 83 years
22556079 CoH S Waterworth Served from 29 August 1952 until 31 March 1969 Died 3 March 2005 aaged 72 years
22115522 Tpr F Schofield
5381875 WO2 CAV Rodwell
22207712 CoH PJM Doyle Served from 17 April 1940 until 9 April 1953 Died 15 September 2005 aged 80 years
19170512 Tpr HAE Keep Served from 7 May 1947 until 18 July 1949 Died 30 September 2005 aged 76 years
295358 Tpr HW Stevens Served from 14 March 1940 until 6 May 1946 Died 4 October 2005 aged 89 years
397727 Lt Col SEM Bradish-Ellames OBE Commissioned into 1 RD 26 November 1948 and served with them and RHG/D on amalgamation until taking Command of The Life Guards on 4 September 1971. He relinquished Command on 27 December 1973 and was dis-
charged in January 1974. Died 4 October 2005 aged 75 years
320973 CoH WH Chessman Served with 17/21L from July 1933 to Febraury 1947 then with 12L from February 1947 until January 1951 and finally with LG from January 1951 until January 1969. Admitted to Royal Hospital Chelsea in September 1999 where he remained until his death on 31 October 2005 at the age of 81 years.
24948410 Tpr DN Birch Served from 1 July 1995 until 10 April 2001 Died 28 December 2005 aged 30 years 21000015 Cpl MW Baker Served from 25 August 1947 until 29 September 1968 Died 20 November 2005 aged 75 years
295380 Cpl LW Veazey Served from 5 September 1939 until 1 November 1945 Died 11 November 2005 aged 91 years
296309 Tpr C Hammond Served from 27 March 1944 until 6 Janaury 1948 Died 9 November 2005 aged 79 years
The Blues and Royals It is with much regret that the Honorary Secretary announces the death of the following Old Comrades. The Blues and Royals Association offer their sincere condolences to all members of their families. May they Rest in Peace. 305345 Tpr RP Strange RHG
306160 CoH PV Law RHG
2247552 Tpr M Wakelin RHG
Served 24 May 38 to 23 April 43 (Transferred to AAC) Died 13 Dec 2004 aged 84 years
Served 7 Jan 43 to 31 Mar 47 Died 9 Jul 2005 aged 84 years
Served 1 Jan 1950 to 31 Dec 1952 Died 13 Dec 2005 aged 72 years
305096 CoH TR Stevenson RHG Served 13 Jun 34 to 1 Oct 46
393412 Lieutenant JHW Silberrad 1RD
613676 CoH HW Twidle MBE RHG Served 1 April 31 to 30 Sept 47 Died 31 Jan 2005 aged 91 years
21000130 LCpl JF Nutt RHG Served 26 Nov 47 to 18 Apr 53 Died 28 Jan 2005 aged 74 years
305217 CoH DA Britton RHG Served 29 Nov 36 to 29 Nov 48 Died 18 Jan 2005 aged 84 years
305626 Tpr NH Stennett RHG
Died 12 June 2005 aged 89 years
2220512 Tpr PT Wilson RHG Served 26 Jul 48 to 31 Dec 53 Died 11 Sept 2005 aged 74 years
22097298 CoH E Busby RHG Served 1937 to 1949 Died 13 Oct 2005 aged 89 years
19142557 Cpl R H Thomas RHG
Served 16 Sept 40 to 24 Nov 45 Died 14 Feb 2005 aged 89 years
Served 1 Jan 47 to 1 Jan 49 Died 13 Oct 2005 aged 76 years
385725 Major MK Tatham RHG
22128114 Tpr NC Dyer RHG
Served 1 Jan 47 to 1 Sept 68 Died 18 March 2005
Served 1949 to 1951 Died 30 Jan 2005 aged 74 years
555031 WO2 (TQMC) FL Beadle RHG
306255 WO2 EE (Ted) Mantell RHG
Served 27 Sept 35 to 19 Feb 69 Died 22 Mar 2005 aged 84 years
Served 1943 to 1965 Died 28 Oct 2005 aged 80 years
22205576 SQMC PD Spencer RHG
7939591 Sgt I (Adrian) Lynd 1RD
Served 1 Sept 50 to 31 May 69 Died 28 Mar 2005 aged 72 years
Served 25 Jun 41 to 17 Oct 57 Died 06 Oct 2005 aged 80 years
22205316 Cpl GT Butler RHG
2220502 SCpl D Ellis RHG/D
Served July 49 to July 54 Died 2004/05 aged approx 74 years
Served 17 Feb 48 to 26 Dec 73 Died 12 Nov 2005 aged 75 years
Captain EH Birkbeck 1RD
390955 Sir Denis Mountain Bt RHG
Served 1 Jan 49 to 31 Dec 55 Died Feb 2005 aged 75 years
Served 3 Jul 48 to 29 Aug 49 Died 24 Oct 2005 aged 76 years
2367910 Cpl T Lockett RHG
24239248 LCoH R Windrass RHG/D
Served 01 Mar 60 to 01 Feb 69 Died 9 Jun 2005 aged 63 years
Served 29 Dec 71 to 30 Sept 81 Died 9 Nov 2005 aged 50 years
23596576 Cpl AJV Scott RHG
23149 Tpr P Hitchcox RHG
Served 03 Nov 57 to 01 Jan 60 Died 9 Jun 2004 aged 64 years
Served from 1955 to 1957 Died 12 Sept 2005 aged 68 years
7953973 Tpr RW Siriett 1RD
24394111 CoH P McGarry RHG/D
Served 1943 to 1946 Died 1 June 2005 aged 84 years
Served Apr 1977 to Sept 1992 Died 28 Nov 2005 aged 48 years
320471 Cpl T Siddle 1RD
23929004 L/Cpl T G Spooner RHG
Served 1938 to 1946 Died 18 Nov 2003 aged 85 years
Served April 1962 to April 1966 Died 1 Dec 2005 aged 62 years
Served 31 Aug 1948 to 30 Sept 1949 Died 09 Sept 2005 aged 76 years
2284190 WO1 PG Bell RHG/D Served 1 Jan 1955 to 31 Dec 1981 Died 11 Dec 2005 aged 66 years
261272 Colonel KF Timbrell CBE MC 1RD / RHG/D Served 04 Aug 1939 to 20 Aug 1974 Died 26 December 2005 aged 86 years *There is a fuller obituary elsewhere in this magazine.
Mr Peter Everson passed away on 7th September 2005. Peter served with the Royals Band from 1956 until the amalgamation in 1969. At this point he transferred to the 14th/20th Kingâ€™s Royal Hussars.
Addendum 23215305 BJ Paul RHG In last yearâ€™s obituaries it was stated that Mr Paul, who died on 4th September 2003 was 75. This should have read 65 years. The Blues and Royals would like to extend their apologies to all his family and friends for this error.
Lieutenant Colonel S E M Bradish-Ellames OBE Late The Life Guards. By Peter Thellusson, formerly The Royals. Simon Bradish-Ellames died on 5th October 2005 after a long illness. He was 75. Educated at Eton, he joined the Royals in Wolfenbüttel in 1948, and after a short UK posting, went on to serve with the Regiment in the Canal Zone. Simon was without doubt one of our most respected regimental soldiers. He served with both the Royals and The Life Guards and bought to each dedication of purpose uniquely his own. His career was dotted with appointments where organisation, meticulous planning and leadership were paramount. He served lengthy periods as Adjutant on no less than three occasions. First with the Royals in Wesendorf in May 1954, and again in Aden in 1959. He was Adjutant again with the City of London Sharpshooters in London in December 1960. He held vital appointment at the time of the Royals’ amalgamation with The Blues serving as Second in Command of the Royals in 1968, and then to maintain continuity, Second in Command of The Blues and Royals in March 1969 to see the amalgamation through. Earlier in his career he had served with The Royal Canadian Dragoons stationed at the Petawawa Camp in Canada, he had a spell in Cyprus under the direction of the United Nations, and then he went on to the French Cavalry School at Saumur in France as Liaison Officer, where, as a qualified pilot, he flew frequently. Some years later he was to attend the French Staff College. He did, of course, speak fluent French. In 1971, he went out to Detmold in Germany to take over command of The Life Guards. Simon was an experienced gunnery officer joining the Regiment when they were converting to Chieftain tanks. The Regiment were deployed on the Soltau training area when the information came through that Her Majesty would be presenting new Standards on Horse Guards at some near future date. Simon, as the Commanding Officer of the Regiment in Germany, was required to attend the ceremony and to be mounted on parade. Whilst his interests certainly included horse racing, he had little experience of riding himself. Having said that, he was always ready for a challenge. A suitable out of view spot behind a hillock was chosen for instruction by the Riding Master into the basic skills of remaining smart and upright in the saddle and then to master the finer points of mounted sword drill. He succeeded of course, and those attending the parade recall a performance of the highest quality. From Germany, Simon took his Regiment to Northern Ireland in 1972, not this time in an armoured role, but as an infantry battalion. It is thought that they were the first armoured unit to be dismounted. It was a time of great hostility in the Province. The well documented ‘Bloody Sunday’ had only recently taken place, and The Life Guards were shortly to experience similar difficulties of their own. Senior officers present at the time report that Simon managed the situation with courage and skill of the highest order. He was awarded the OBE for his service in the Province. He owned a few race horses during his military career winning a number of races. The greatest achievement was his winning of
the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown with Golden Drop, which went on to be a favourite for the Grand National. Simon left the army in 1975 and joined an old Royals contemporary, Noel Matterson, in Noel’s Company which specialised in advanced and highly technical Fire Safety Equipment. He stayed there until retirement. In his later years, Simon was able to indulge his life long passion for fly fishing at which he was one of the finest exponents. For a number of years, up to the time of his illness, he took a number of time-share weeks on the river Nadder near the village of Dinton in Wiltshire, where those fortunate enough to be invited to join him, were provided with the very best sport, and hospitality of a most generous nature. We are indebted to both himself and to Squib for our visits, which will remain in the memory for all time. Simon was gifted with a certain toughness, which enabled him through his military career to withstand difficulty and disappointment without being unduly discouraged. He had clarity of mind and an ability to win the confidence and get the best from those of all ranks serving alongside him. He was a man of conviction, not often overjoyed by success and seldom depressed by failure. He was a firm disciplinarian. He expected high standards to be kept by those around him, whilst always demonstrating those same high standards himself in everything he did. He was a kind man, always concerned for the welfare of others, and generous to the extreme. He will be missed by many.
Colonel Kenneth Timbrell CBE MC Late the Royal Dragoons By Captain E J L Timbrell, formerly Royal Artillery Colonel Kenneth Timbrell, who has died aged 86 was an Arabist who spent most of his service in the Middle East. He won an immediate MC in 1944 commanding a Troop of Royal Dragoons during the closing of the Falaise Gap. It was presented by Field Marshal Montgomery. He surprised a battalion of enemy infantry at Bonnoil and created utter disorganisation for a considerable time taking prisoner over sixty of the enemy. He held on to his bridgehead against counter attack for over two hours, the last half in total darkness, until relieved by the arrival of the infantry. He had a distinguished military and political career which began in Palestine and continued with the 8th Army in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and then with 21st Army Group in NorthWest Europe before taking up appointments in the Middle East. Kenneth Timbrell, always a keen horseman and rider, volunteered for the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) just before the outbreak of war in 1939 and went to Palestine with the mounted 1st Household Cavalry Regiment. He took part in the Syrian campaign and the action at Palmyra and also the re-capture of Baghdad. In 1942, he was commissioned into the Royal Dragoons and, after a spell as one of Montgomery’s Liaison Officers, joined and stayed with the Regiment until the end of the war in Europe. He was put ashore on the French coast by submarine on a reconnaissance mission prior to the invasion.
He was one of the first to arrive at Wismar on the Baltic coast where Colonel General Koenzier, who was commanding the German Armies in the Baltic, surrendered to him and gave him his pistol. The General was then sent to Montgomery’s headquarters by Auster aircraft from a nearby road. On return, the General was allowed by the Field Marshal to resume his command to help prevent the Russian advance into Denmark. He was then seconded to the Sudan Defence Force and commanded a Mounted Infantry Company in Nyala before re-joining the Royals to command A Squadron in Germany and Egypt during the troubles and on internal security duties. It was here during a tense situation he took his squadron to Ismailia to assist with riot control after a bomb was thrown killing at a Military Police Officer destroying his jeep. At this time, A Squadron came under heavy fire from the Egyptian police who were silenced by the Royals’ Besa and 2-Pounder gunfire directed against the Caracol. He then came across a large crowd of Egyptians setting fire to vehicles. He charged the crowd and put them into flight. His next appointment was as Senior Instructor at the RAC Mons OCTU before returning to the Middle East as DAA and QMG of the Sultan of Muscat’s Armed Forces. In 1961, he took over command of the Royal Dragoons in Malaya before returning with them to Tidworth, where he had the difficult task of converting the Regiment from armoured cars to Centurion tanks in a new role. At short notice, he was promoted to Brigadier and sent as head of the British Military Mission to Saudi Arabia. Later, he took over a Brigade in Aden before being appointed as Base Commander in Sharjah during the run-down of British Forces in the Gulf. His last appointment was as Defence Attaché in Jordan. He was a high goal polo player, a Rhine Army show jumper and cross country skier. He was mentioned in despatches during the war and was awarded the CBE for his services in Saudi Arabia. He was also awarded the Order of Independence (Pasha) Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2nd Class by King Hussein. He was reserved, ascetic, compassionate and courteous. He was equally at home with Arab Kings and Princes, Bedouin Arabs and those unfortunate enough to be in resettlement camps. In retirement, he continued to serve in a political capacity where his detailed knowledge of the Middle East, together with his many contacts, were put to good use. He never married.
Major R F Abel-Smith Late Royal Horse Guards By Major J N P Watson, Formerly Royal Horse Guards Richard Abel Smith, who died in 2004, was born in 1933, the only son of Colonel Henry Abel Smith, who commanded 2 HCR through the North-West Europe campaign of 1944-45, and of Lady May. She was the daughter of Lord Athlone, third son of the Duke of Teck and Colonel of The Life Guards, and of HRH Princess Alice, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Colonel Henry was ADC to Lord Athlone when the latter was Governor General of South Africa from 1925-31.
Following an Eton-and-Sandhurst education, Richard joined The Blues at Windsor in 1954. He and I were pentathletes together that summer, in one team from The Blues and one from the Household Cavalry Regiment Training Cadre. Thanks largely to two NCOs gaining first and second places in the swimming event, we did quite well, and the teams repeated their success in the following year. Richard was a fair runner and swimmer and had ridden all his life. I shall never forget the application and enthusiasm he employed to master the other two subjects: pistol shooting and fencing. He was followed – everywhere – by Boko, his faithful boxer. I remember a very kind and generous personality with a pronounced sense of the ridiculous. His laughter was infectious. He went in 1956 as a squadron second-in-command to Cyprus where the Regiment was deployed in an anti-terrorist role. In 1958, Richard was appointed to command the escort troop to the Governor of the island, Field Marshal Sir John Harding; and it was in that capacity that he met, and became engaged to, the delightful Marcia, daughter of the island’s Director of Operations, Major General Douglas Kendrew. Once back in Windsor, Richard was, in 1960, appointed Adjutant. After that, he became an instructor at Sandhurst. In 1963, The Blues relieved The Life Guards in the British Army of the Rhine. Richard had no desire to go to Germany – mainly for fear of receiving invitations from his German cousins. And so, having always wanted to farm, he decided to resign his commission. He and Marcia bought a 600-acre farm in the depths of Nottinghamshire. But, although farming was his chief preoccupation, he led a very full life besides that: he was on the board of governors of no fewer than three schools; had been a Vintner since 1963; was a dedicated County Commissioner of the Boy Scouts; was chairman of the Sports Aid Foundation (East Midlands); was a Fellow of the Woodward Foundation; took a close interest in the family farm in Rhodesia, which they both visited twice a year; and was an ardently keen fisherman and race goer. He was a DL from 1970-1991, Vice Lord Lieutenant from 1991-99, and High Sheriff in 1978. Above all, he was the most enthusiastic Yeoman in the Sherwood Rangers, in which he rose to be their Honorary Colonel. Major Nick Cornish sent me a copy of Richard’s obituary in the Rangers’ journal. I am grateful to that regiment’s Association for permission to quote from it: “As a squadron leader of B (Sherwood Rangers) Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry from 1967 to 1969, Richard was the right man for the right time… he set about recruiting and training a new generation of young officers and instilling the qualities of leadership and professionalism that would be needed in a Territorial unit that was, for the first time, equipped, trained and expected to perform at the same level as the regular army. His early example set the standard for everything that followed…” Doubtless, had he stayed in The Blues, their epitaph would have reflected much the same sentiment. Our deepest sympathy goes to Marcia and their daughter, Kate.
Sir Denis Mountain Bt, Late Royal Horse Guards Extracts from The Guards Magazine Sir Denis Mountain did his National Service in Germany in the RoyalHorse Guards before joining Eagle Star, the insurance group created by his grandfather. On taking over the helm of Eagle Star in 1974, the company was deeply involved in efforts to resolve the secondary banking crisis which had followed the crash of the commercial property market in the previous year. Well-liked, Mountain remained good-humoured throughout the intense negotiations which characterised this period of the City crisis. He was equally unruffled when he was told during a board meeting that his own home, Shawford House near Winchester, was burning down; fortunately he had offered himself to Eagle Star as a “model customer” for household Insurance, and was fully covered. Sir Denis subsequently fought off a German takeover bid from Allianz, the largest German insurer. In his later years, he bred a champion herd of Simmental cattle. He was also a Trustee of Westminster Abbey where his contribution as a fundraiser is commemorated by a stained glass window in the Lady Chapel.
WO2 (SCM) E E Mantell Late Royal Horse Guards by his sister Mrs May Valder. Edward ‘Ted’ Mantell was born in 1925 into a family which eventually grew into six children; four boys and two girls. In the early 1930s, the family moved to Romford, Essex and remained there for the next fifty years. Ted enjoyed the usual life of an active and lively schoolboy of the immediate pre-war period. In 1943, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Horse Guards, following in his father’s footsteps who had been badly injured in the First World War, and in 1945 was posted to Germany to serve in the Allied Army of Occupation. He returned with his Regiment in the early 1950s to do a spell in the United Kingdom and soon found himself in action again, when they were called to assist in emergency repair work on the East Coast flood protection during the disastrous floods of February 1953. Old inhabitants of Vine Street still recall when, on their way back to Barracks in London, two armoured cars rolled to a halt outside their family home. His mother opened the door to Ted and his boys, very muddy and tired, and she quickly provided them with tea and sandwiches, which were much appreciated. Ted’s next move with the Regiment was to Cyprus, where they had to deal with armed civil unrest, which proved to be a very unpleasant campaign, about which he seldom spoke. After several more years back in the United Kingdom and Germany, Ted
retired from the Army and lived at home with his parents and looked after them until their deaths. He worked first for a large car sales firm in nearby Woodford, Essex, and then worked with a friend on a repair and retrieval service. Eventually, they sought pastures new and decided to move to Wales. Ted settled down well and became a familiar figure in the area, enjoying his walks amid the beautiful scenery and the friendliness of the local people. Then came his very severe stroke, which he fought against with great courage and determination. It gradually took its toll and, with the help of the other complications, it eventually overcame him. It must be said that, from the very outset of his disability, Ted was fortunate in receiving much help from his local friends and especially from Greta who gave him her loving care and attention from beginning to end and for which his family will be eternally grateful. Ted passed away on October 27th, aged 80 years.
W H (Harry) Withington, Late The Life Guards. By Mr. Ian Taylor, formerly Royal Horse Guards. Harry Withington was born in 1928 in Smallthorne, educated at Bradley School, which he left at 14 to work in the mines at Norton in the blacksmith’s shop. Harry’s father had served in the Grenadiers, and Harry joined the Army as a Regular at the age of 18 – it was his pride that he was to serve as a farrier in The Life Guards, the senior regiment of the British Army. In 1951, after a somewhat off and on courtship, he married Jean, and their marriage has been a great joy to them both. For two years, they shared Army Quarters in London until Harry left the Army and returned to his home town. Jean and Harry have two children, David and Ann and, with the advent of grandchildren, Harry was delighted – for he was essentially a family man and has deeply loved them and has bought his family into a close and caring unity. His time in the Army coincided with the Coronation of our Queen – and as a Farrier of The Life Guards – with black plumes and shining axe – Harry was to take part in the great procession through the streets of London – in the pouring rain. After Army service, Harry worked at Shelton Bar steel works and then, in 1961, he joined the Post Office and enjoyed his time there until ill health led to early retirement. On retirement, he was able to enjoy his gardening, his companionship, a pint and a bet. And some years ago he, along with a few other stalwarts, founded the North Staffordshire branch of the Household Cavalry Association. He was voted Treasurer then and has continued as treasurer. Harry was faithful in his membership and a very great friend to the other members and their wives. The work he has done in helping to raise money for the Endon Riding for the Disabled and other causes and, this past few years, for the Donna Louise Trust, has been tremendous. Everything he undertook, he has done to perfection. His generosity, sense of humour and his fund of stories, told with the skill of a raconteur, have endeared him to all who knew him. His support of the work of the Association and the members has been a great joy to
all; it was always a pleasure to spend time in his company. Harry could always be trusted to be there when needed. He had asked for the burden of Treasurer to be passed to someone else this year. The Association is trying very hard to replace the irreplaceable Harry.
Terry and Carol were married in 1962 and, following their time in Herford, they were posted to Catterick Camp where Terry continued his job as an instructor. During their time at Catterick, Terry and Carol were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Sara.
In 2001, Harry and Jean celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary and, as they re-affirmed their vows, we could see the joy that those 50 years have been to Harry – a life well lived.
Terry was at Bovington again to train on tracked vehicles when the Regiment converted to Chieftain tanks and was back with the Regiment when it moved to Perham Down on Salisbury Plain to teach the armoured car drivers how to drive tanks before the amalgamation. He left the Regiment in 1969 after almost 9 years of service.
Harry, those who loved you most will miss you most. You leave behind many friends and all of us are poorer by your passing – but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, your care, your friendship and your loyalty. No more will we hear your stories, but the memory will bring a smile to our lips, for you were a man who cared much for your fellows and a man of great perception and ready wit. Thank you Harry, we may not see your like again, but we will never forget you.
Corporal Terry Lockett Late Royal Horse Guards By Mr. Fred Fox, formerly The Life Guards. Terrence Lockett, or Terry as most knew him, or Tell to a few, was born in Longton on 11th March 1942. In 1960, he joined the Army, not just any unit, but the Royal Horse Guards, of which he was very proud. He completed his basic training at Windsor then went with the Regiment to Herford in Germany as an armoured car driver. Promotion followed, and Corporal Lockett went to Bovington to become a driving and maintenance instructor on wheeled vehicles to be able to train young soldiers the art of armoured car driving.
There were more challenges for Terry when he joined the Staffordshire Police. He commenced his duties at Hanley, but following his love of driving, he transferred to the traffic division. His training ability was recognised and Terry moved to Staffordshire Headquarters Motor Training Department. He continued to gain additional qualifications after which he trained students in the Police Advanced Driver Training, Skid Pan, Public Service Vehicle Driver and Heavy Goods Vehicle driver training. Following changes in Force procedure, Terry returned to Hanley on traffic and radar duties and completed his service at Stoke Crime Prevention. Terry was a very keen sportsman, representing both his Regiment and the police at football, only ever prevented from playing by injury. Terry gave many outside lectures on driving skills and, as if his police duties were not enough, he was a member of the North Staffordshire Institute of Advanced Motorists where he was elected president. He was an examiner for RoSPA and was a founder member of the North Staffordshire Household Cavalry Association. Colleagues will always remember Terry’s dry sense of humour which he never lost, even after being taken ill. Terry will be sadly missed by all that knew him, but his memory will remain forever.
NOTICES Information for members of both The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals Associations
The Queen’s Birthday Parade and Review The Queen’s Birthday Parade will be held on Saturday 17th June 2006 with the Colonels’ Review on 10th June and the Major General’s Review on 3rd June. A limited number of tickets for the Inner Line of Sentries (standing only) will be available for members through the Honorary Secretary of their respective Association. Tickets cannot be purchased through Headquarters Household Cavalry. Household Division Beating Retreat The Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry and the Massed Band of the Foot Guards will Beat Retreat on Horse Guards on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th June 2006. Performances commence at 7pm and last approximately one hour. Ticket prices are £10 and £7 (all reserved seating). The following discounts are available: 10% discount on all tickets for those booking 10 seats or more. Family tickets in the £7 seats for 2 adults and up to 5 children aged 16 or under, cost £20. Basic portaloo toilet facilities are available. A limited number of wheelchair spaces are available for these parades. Separate applications are required for this facility. A member of the Royal Family, or civilian or military VIP takes the salute. No refund can be given if the event is cancelled for reason beyond our control.
Ticket requests should be made as follows: a. Cheques/Postal Orders, made payable to “Household Division Funds”, will be accepted at any time, but tickets will not be despatched before April. Cheques (in sterling only) should be sent to the Treasurer, Household Division Funds, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX, together with a stamped, self addressed envelope. b. The credit card booking line (020-7839-5323) will open between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday from 3rd April. There will be an extra charge of £1 for each credit card booking.
News from the Associations
Colonel of The Life Guards by Mr Evgeny Gruzdev
Colonel of The Blues and Royals
The new Portraits, recently commisioned, of the two Colonels. The Guards Chapel – Easter Concert The Guards Chapel choir and the household Division Musicians present their Easter Choral Concert in the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London, SW1E 6HQ on Wednesday 12th April 2006 at 7.15pm. Tickets are £12.50 each – tickets may be obtained by telephoning the credit card booking line (020-7839-5323) between 9am and 4pm from 9th January, or by post to Household Division Funds, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX. Cheques (in sterling only) / Postal Orders shall be made payable to “Household Division Funds” The Guards Chapel Known officially as the Royal Military Chapel, it was first built on this site in 1838 and remodelled in 1873. In subsequent years the walls were embellished by mosaics and memorials to former members of the brigade of Guards. In June 1944 the building received a direct hit from a flying bomb during a Sunday morning service. Over 120 people, both military and civilian were killed with many more injured in the blast. Miraculously, the candles lit around the altar were unaffected. The new Chapel, designed by Bruce George, was rebuilt around the surviving altar and apse rededicated in 1963. The Chapel is open to the public for visits during the week between 10.00am
and 3.00pm on Fridays with services on Sunday. Entry is from Birdcage Walk. Please feel free to visit the Chapel when you are next in London. You can also check opening times and services, prior to your visit, on 020-7414-3228 / 3229. Ceremony of the Keys – HM Tower of London The Ceremony of the Keys takes place daily at 10.00pm. Interested parties or individuals should write direct to HM Tower of London giving as much notice as possible. Between 40-50 visitors are admitted to watch the Ceremony of the Keys each night. Combined Cavalry Parade and Service The 82nd Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Parade and Service will be held in Hyde Park on Sunday 14th May 2006. This year The Life Guards are the sponsor regiment and General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, Colonel The Life Guards, will take the salute. Members of each Association should assemble in Broad Walk at 1030 hrs on the grass behind their Regimental Marker Board. Dress will be lounge suits and medals (not miniatures). Due to the security arrangements, members should give themselves plenty of time to get to the Assembly area. Members are invited to Hyde Park Barracks after the parade but admission will only be by ticket from your respective Honorary Secretary.
The publication of “Mayhem in the Med” A Chronicle of the Cyprus Emergency 1955-1960 by R G M L Miles ISBN 1902366387 This work is the culmination of ten years of research and fills a major gap in the post war British military history. The hardback volume is 392 pages long and contains many previously unpublished photographs, most of which were submitted to me by fellow veterans of the conflict. The book is written in an easy to read, journalistic style and includes full obituaries for personnel killed, (military and police), plus honours and awards, unit dispositions etc. This work covers an important period in the history of both The Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards. A period normally eclipsed by the Suez operations. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of this work should contact the publisher direct. Copies can also be ordered from leading high street bookshops and online book sites such as Amazon.com. Publisher details: Savannah Publications, 90 Dartmouth Road, Forest Gate, London, SE23 3HZ. Tel 020 8244 4350, Fax: 020 8244 2448 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.savannahpublications.com Change of Address All members are requested to inform their respective Honorary Secretary, through Home Headquarters Household Cavalry, of any change in their address. Every year both Associations lose touch with a number of members who have failed to notify us of their change of address. Any correspondence returned will result in that member being placed in the non-effective part of the database. A Celebration of the Household Cavalry at Christmas The Household Cavalry hosted a sellout concert in the Guards Chapel on 15th December 2005. The event, in aid of the Household Cavalry Museum Appeal was a concert of Christmas and ceremonial music with readings from the New Testament and the archives of the regiments of the Household Cavalry and was attended by The Princess Royal. A unique, high quality and beautifully
bound programme of the concert has been produced and includes a full order of service, a resume of the museum development project, a short history of the Guards Chapel, the names of all personnel in the Bands of The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals, over 30 pages of colour advertising and personal letters of support from HM The Queen and the two Gold Sticks. It is a superb souvenir of a memorable evening that raised over £100,000 for the Museum Appeal and copies of the programme can be purchased at the bargain price of just £5.00 each.
Helpful Contacts The following is a list of organisations which members may find useful for future reference: Royal Windsor Visitors Information Bureau Enquiries: 01753 743900 Accommodation: 01753 743907 E-mail: email@example.com www.windsor.gov.uk The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
To order your own programme of a Celebration of the Household Cavalry at Christmas, please send a cheque for £6.00 (to include postage and packing) made payable to “The Household Cavalry Museum Appeal” to:
They have an excellent website which can be searched using basic details, for information about the final resting place of war dead at home and overseas. Their site can be found at www.cwgc.org
The Appeal Office, The Household Cavalry Museum, Combermere Barracks, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 3DN.
The Household Cavalry Memorial in Zandvoorde has been completely refurbished so that all the names, some of which had been eroded over time, can now be seen again.
E-Mail Addresses Notification of changes to your E-mail address is now becoming as important as changes to your postal address. Please keep Home Headquarters informed of those changes. Internet Matters The Household Cavalry Web Site can be found at www.householdcavalry.co.uk. The E-Mail address is as follows:
ESHRA (ex-service homes referral agency) The role of ESHRA is to supply information and advice on both private and exService Care Homes. This includes the location of the homes, general advice on funding and care assessments, and the services that the homes can provide i.e. respite and convalescent care. Contact Details: ESHRA, The Royal British Legion, 48 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ZR.
firstname.lastname@example.org SSAFA Forces Help - Recruitment SSAFA Forces Help need more volunteers from each Association to be Casework Supporters who are visitors, treasurers, administrators and fund-raisers. SSAFA Forces Help volunteers are there to provide practical help, advice and friendship to all serving and exserving men, women and their families. More than 85,000 call on the charity every year. Training is given (2 days), and out-of-pocket expenses are paid. Job satisfaction is guaranteed. If you can spare a little time for a ‘comrade’ please contact: Anne Needle Branch Recruitment Office 19 Queen Elizabeth Street London SE1 2LP Telephone: 020 7463 9223 who will put you in touch with your nearest team.
T 0207 839 4466 E email@example.com W www.eshra.com Officers’ Association (OA) and OA, Scotland Helps ex-officers in financial distress, provides homes for disabled officers and families, and operates a residential home in Devon. It also assists ex-officers to find suitable employment after leaving the Service. They can be contacted in England on 020 7389 5219 and in Scotland on 0131 557 2782 The Royal British Legion (TRBL) TRBL is the UK’s largest ex-service organisation with some 570,000 members. One of its objects is to promote the relief of need and to promote the education of all those who are eligible, their spouses, children and dependants. If you need help, you can contact the local
News from the Associations
TRBL branch near you (number in the local phone book), or the national Legion help line on 08457 725 725 or visit their web site at: www.britishlegion.org.uk
are unemployed, homeless or for reasonable cause in need. They can be contacted at 020 7828 2468
Room 6108 Thornton-Cleveleys, Norcross Blackpool, FY5 3WP
SSAFA Forces Help Housing Advice Service
Veterans Agency Help Line
Provides housing information and advice to Ex-Service personnel and their dependants. For further information contact them at 01722 436400
The Veterans’ Agency Help line email address has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact them on their free helpline serve on 0800 169 22 77
Army Personnel Records
Haig Homes have some 1100 homes throughout the country for letting exclusively to ex-regulars and their families on assured tenancies. For details of where properties are located and application forms contact them at 020 8648 0335
Enquiries about information from Army personnel records should be made to the appropriate address below:
SSAFA Forces Help It exists to help, according to need, all men and women serving, or who have served at any time, in the Armed Forces of the Crown, their families and dependants. Local branches of SSAFA Forces Help can be found in the local phone book or from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or contact the Central Office at: 020 7403 8783 or visit their web site at: www.ssafa.org.uk. The Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (Combat Stress) For nearly 80 years it has been the only organization specialising in the care of men and women of all ranks discharged from the Armed Services who suffer from injury of the mind. The Society has 3 short stay treatment centres that specialise in providing treatment for those who need help in coping with their psychological problems. For more information and full contact details for regional offices telephone the Head Office on 01372 841600 or visit their web site at: www.combatstress.com. The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (BLESMA) The objects of the Association is to promote the welfare of all those who have lost a limb or limbs, or use of limbs, or one or both eyes as a result of their service in the Forces and to assist needy dependants of such Service limbless. It will also help those Ex-Service men who lose a leg after Service. For more details contact them on 020 8590 1124 or visit their web site at: www.blesma.org.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) Medal Office There is now one Medal Office, which covers all three Services; For correspondence only write to: AFPAA (JPAC) MOD Medal Office, Building 250 RAF Innsworth, Gloucester GL3 1HW Or you may telphone the following 0800 085 3600 For additional information medals visit: www.veteransagency.mod.uk Veterans’ Badges
St Dunstan’s cares for Ex-Servicemen who have lost their sight for any reason (even after leaving the Service). For more information contact 020 7723 5021or visit their web site at www.stdunstans.org.uk. Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) contact no is 020 7321 2011 or at www.rfea.org.uk
or can obtain one by telephoning the Veterans Agency Help line: 0800 169 2277
Ex-Service Fellowship Centres (EFC)
Veterans’ Agency – Change of Address
The aim of the EFC is to relieve distress among ex-servicemen of all ranks and their widows or widowers who, at the time of application for assistance,
The Veterans’ Agency has changed its postal address from Norcross to the following: Veterans’ Agency
News from the Associations
The National Archives Ruskin Avenue, Kew Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU Telephone: 0208 876 3444 www.nationalarchives.gov.uk Officers or Soldiers whose regular or reserve service ended between 1921 and 1997 Army Personnel Centre HQ Secretariat Historical Disclosures Mail Point 400, Kentigern House 65 Brown Street Glasgow G2 8EX Telephone: 0845 600 9663, option 3
Men and Women who served in the Armed Forces in the First World War or in the Second World War between 03/09/1939 and 31/12/1954 are eligible for a Veterans’ Badge. Other groups who are entitled are: Cyprus Regiment, Merchant Navy Seamen, Home Guard and Polish Forces under UK Command. War Widows’ and Widowers receiving War Widows’/Widowers’ Pension also qualify. You can download a form from the Veterans Agency Website at http://www.veteransagency.mod.uk/vets badge/vets_badge.htm
Officers or Soldiers whose regular or reserve service ended before 1921
Officers or Soldiers whose regular or reserve service ended after 1997 Army Personnel Centre HQ Secretariat Disclosures Section 1 Mail Point 520, Kentigern House 65 Brown Street Glasgow G2 8EX Telephone: 0845 600 9663, option 4 Your contributions for the Household Cavalry Journal Articles, letters and photographs for the next edition of the Household Cavalry Journal, to be published in April 2007, should be at the Headquarters by 1 January 2007. Please send typescript or Microsoft Word documents (no tables) on floppy disks or CDs. Articles may also be sent by e-mail to email@example.com Your contributions are always welcome, and your photographs will be returned after publication of the journal.
1st and 2nd Household Cavalry Regiments Annual Reunion he 59th Annual Reunion of the 1st and 2nd Household Cavalry Regiments was held on Thursday 13th October 2005 in the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess at Hyde Park Barracks by kind permission of the RCM WO1 KJ Poynter.
In the unavoidable absence of the President, His Grace The Duke of Wellington, Colonel W H Gerard-Leigh
presided. and a total of 62 members of both Regiments and their guests enjoyed an excellent lunch, at which we were delighted to welcome Silver Stick, Colonel P J Tabor, Lieutenant Colonel E A Smyth-Osbourne, the Commanding Officer at Windsor; Lieutenant Colonel G V de la F Woyka, the Commanding Officer at Knightsbridge and RCM D O’Connor from Windsor.
The date of our 60th reunion has been arranged for Thursday 12th October 2006 at Hyde Park Barracks when we look forward once again to welcoming as many members a possible from both Regiments. Invitations will be sent out as usual during August.
Household Cavalry Associations North East Association The “North East Club” has now changed its name to “The North East Association” so it can be recognised on parades such as Remembrance Day Parade. Next year’s dinner will be on 8th March 2007.
VJ Day Parade at Sunderland. Captain A Galloway LG carried the NE Assoc Standard which was dedicated before the service. He was supported by CoH Flood and members of the Association.
Remembrance Day Parade at Sunderland attended by HRH The Earl of Wessex.
North Staffordshire Association President: Lt Col J S Olivier, The Blues and Royals Chairman and Treasurer: Mr Barry Lewis, Formerly Royal Horse Guards Secretary: Mr Ian Taylor Formerly Royal Horse Guards
he year got off to a sad start between Christmas and the New Year with the loss of our Branch Founder and Chairman, Mr. Len Pritchard, formerly The Life Guards. He had given many years of service to the branch until four years ago when ill health led to his retirement.
Our first meeting in January was to plan the activities for the year including the installation of a brass plaque in memory of Len Pritchard on our memorial bench at the National Memorial Arboretum(NMA). By February, we had fixed the dates of our Social Evenings, Dinner Dance and Christmas Dinner. We were sad to see Mr. Richard Archibald (Archie), formerly The Life Guards leave us to retire to the Philippines. He made the generous donation of a new petrol strimmer to assist our maintenance work at the National Memorial Arboretum. We wish him well in his retirement and we will keep in touch; the secretary will e-mail
the minutes of the meeting to him. In March, the AGM saw the serving officers returned again. The secretary had collected a brass plaque to mount 5 badges of the Household Cavalry Regiments onto, (The Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards, Royal Dragoons, Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry). This has been fixed to our memorial bench at NMA. Our first social event of the year took place in April when members and wives dined out at a local hotel. In May, several members attended The Blues and Royals dinner at Windsor. Our coach to London for Cavalry Sunday was full as usual.
News from the Associations
The Annual Dinner Dance 2005. L to R: Mr B Lewis, Lt Col Daly, Mrs Olivier, Lt Col Olivier, Mrs C Keith and Mr G Kelsall.
A day to remember in early June when HRH The Princess Royal paid a visit to the NMA to formally dedicate the memorial plot for the Women’s Section of the Royal British Legion. We were told she would make a quick tour of the other plots with which she is connected but would not be stopping. When she saw The Blues and Royals logo at the entrance to our plot and a few members and their wives, she stopped the car, got out and spoke to members and wives then the secretary gave her a guided tour of the plot. A gracious gesture by HRH, much appreciated by all who put in many hours to maintain the plot. A few days later our spirits were dashed when we heard of the death of our colleague Terry Lockett after his long illness over the past three years. He was an esteemed member who will be sadly missed. At his funeral, he was led into the Crematorium by the Branch Standard, escorted by close friends who served with him. The service was taken by Reverend Ann Taylor, and included The Blues and Royals’ Collect, the Last Post and Reveille.
duced us to his future wife, Mrs Caroline Keith, and we were able to surprise them with an early wedding gift of a Royal Doulton figure, in blue, of course! A week later, the Secretary had a meeting at the NMA with Brigadier Parker Bowles to discuss possible improvements to The Blues and Royals plot. Through the help of Vice President Peter Thellusson, we have been offered a large lump of local stone to replace the brick plinth, and have received a gift of a polished granite slab engraved in gold to replace the original plaque. Members have spent quite some time during the year tending The Blues and Royals plot at the NMA and are working towards improving the layout and making maintenance easier as our gardeners are not getting any younger (and our wives are complaining about the gardens at home)! On 11th November, several members attended The Blues and Royals plot at
In September, members and wives again visited Lichfield to see our Padre, Prebandary J G Ridyard and Norma; a lovely evening of fellowship and good food. The Branch received another blow in September with the sudden loss of out treasurer Harry Withington, formerly The Life Guards. Harry had held the post almost since the Branch was formed. Again, our Standard paid our respect to our colleague at his funeral, the secretary read the Eulogy and The Life Guards Collect. Donations were given to Riding for the Disabled and the Donna Louise Trust, both charities supported by the Branch and especially by Harry himself. Our high point of the year was again our Dinner Dance on 1st October. It was great to have old friends descend on us again, and most guests agreed that it was the best yet! Colonel Denis Daly intro-
News from the Associations
The Annual Dinner Dance 2005. The Secretary rescues his daughter from a charmer!
the NMA and laid a wreath. The Standard and a good turnout of members supported the Remembrance Day Parade at Newcastle-under-Lyme and afterwards at the grave of former Life Guard Len Durber. A final blow this year was the loss of member Terry Spooner on 1st December. Our Christmas Dinner was held on 7th December, our last get together of the year. Despite a sad year, having lost four members, we have gained two more and we look to 2006 with confidence that we shall still be able to keep the public aware of the Household Cavalry by maintaining our profile in the community. To our serving colleagues, we send our prayers and best wishes for the coming year, knowing they will uphold the traditions of the Household Cavalry wherever they are serving. For more information on our Branch, contact the Secretary on 01782 660174.
Aden Veterans’ Association he Aden Veterans’ Association was formed in March 2000 by Mr John Hotson and Mr Ernest Izard, both ex-members of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Their aim and the aim of the Association was to bring together as many as possible of the thousands of ex-service and civilian personnel who either worked or passed through Aden and the Protectorates.
Through our database file of members we are able to put some of those old comrades in touch with each other again, we also publish quarterly “The Dhow” journal for news, information and stories from other members. In September, we hold our three day reunion and AGM break at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool. We also have dinner reunions in Scotland, Cambridgeshire and the South-West area. Many of you reading this may say to yourselves ‘I served in Aden.’ If you are one of those people, then give me a call now; Peter Strachan 01226 283732 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be only too pleased to mail you some more information.
Dorset Association www.householdcavalryassociationdorset.org President The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Normanton Chairman Raymond Peck, formerly The Life Guards Secretary and Treasurer John Triggs BEM, formerly The Blues and Royals Committee Trevor Collett Senior formerly the Blues and Royals Dudley Feltham formerly the Royal Horse Guards Fred Kemp formerly the Royal Horse Guards Brian Murray formerly The Blues and Royals Wally Pitt formerly The Blues and Royals Bill Stephenson formerly The Blues and Royals Co-opted Committee Members Lt Col (Retd) Mick Harding Staff Quartermaster WO1 Andy Panter RHG/D TD&PW The Armour Centre hile sensible people are recovering from Christmas and the New Year, the Committee was busy fine-tuning another full year’s activities, which arrived on members’ doorsteps with the January newsletter. Before we knew it, it was the All Saints Dinner and Dance, a cross between the patron saints and all things British. Come 12th March, 105 members and guests assembled at the Savoy Hotel to greet our President, Lord Normanton and enjoy a formal dinner with the guest of honour, the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Captain and Mrs Michael Fulford-Dobson CVO RN. Also invited was Ms Audrey Gillian, the ‘embedded’ Guardian reporter with D Squadron HCR in Iraq; regrettably she had an assignment in Cuba at the last minute prior to attending.
Dined, wined and truly entertained by the guest speaker and the Bournemouth Orpheus Male Choir, members retired to the Imperial Ballroom for the Winter Warmer Draw and Dave Harris won the £250 main prize, which he immediately donated to our sponsored charity, East Holton Driving Centre. Paul Newman was the winner of the second prize of an Annual Dinner weekend, and the final prize being won by Graham Wilde, a pair of Annual Dinner tickets. The night was danced away to a live group, and the bar eventually closed at 3:30am.
24th Annual Dinner Dance, 15 October 2005. Rear, L to R: Maj (Retd) N Hadden-Paton, Col HPD Massey, Col PJ Tabor, Mr R Peck (Chairman). Front: Mrs P Peck, Mrs C Massey.
On into May and many members attended the regimental association dinners and the Combined Cavalry Parade. Regrettably, the RBL ‘forgot’ to deliver to Hyde Park our Association wreath so for the first time in ten years, we were unable to lay a wreath at the RHG/D Memorial. A letter of abject apology was received and accepted by the Committee who agreed in future we would use another system. August 13th saw the Committee and the Regimental Recruiting Team at the Ellingham Show. The weather and Hampshire Constabulary traffic plan contrived to reduce attendance but, despite this, we were able to welcome Maj (Retd) Jack Peck and others to the stand. Fluffy toys were soon departing Household Cavalry hands and going on to new homes and all the while we were supporting our sponsored charity. Come 15th October, and members patiently sat through the 24th AGM before departing on buses from one hotel to another for the annual Dinner and Dance. The Gentlemen Trumpeters blew the calls to perfection, and 224 members, ladies and guests sat down to dinner in the presence of the past Commander Household Cavalry, Col Massey and the current Commander Col Tabor. Dinner dined and wine wined, Col Massey made a welcome speech, which was very well received. Sadly a member, Bert Keep, had recently died and, as a mark of respect, his local village fete committee asked the Association to assist them to donate £300 to our sponsored charity, and Col Tabor presented the cheque to Wally Pitt, Yard Manager
of East Holton Driving Centre. The charity did quite well that night as a raffle for a weekend at the hotel raised some £427 too! Dancing, talking drinking, and at 1am there arrived the buses to return members to our ‘home’ the Savoy Hotel where strangely the bar was open and eventually closed with the assistance of Maj (Retd) Bill Clayton at 4am. Come the Sunday, and 130 members made a full weekend of it at the Savoy and enjoyed the somewhat quiet day and the entertainment provided by the hotel. The ‘chariot race’ promised by John Finnie and Dick Malinowski did not materialise – cries of flat batteries in wheelchairs were heard! All in all, a good weekend, and the Committee found it useful as a ‘dry run’ for the 25th Anniversary Dinner in 2006. December was soon upon 42 members and us assembled again on 18th December for the Christmas Lunch and the 24th Annual Draw. Turkey stuffed, potatoes potted, sprouts sliced and all saw members back into the Terrace Lounge and the draw commence with Mrs Sheila Brown drawing out the first winner; and Phil Fish, Ted Muff and Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles were winners. All the above and the raffles, draws and balloon races would not be possible without a strong and active Committee to devise, plan and execute all with good humour and enthusiasm. We said our farewells to Jack Hadfield, Bert Keep and Derek Ellis in the year and that is sad, however, we look forward to our 25th anniversary year in 2006 bigger, stronger and with gusto.
News from the Associations
Household Cavalry (East Anglian) Dining Club By David Barnes, formerly The Life Guards
he first dinner of 2005 was held at a local restaurant in Norwich with fifty members attending.
ters and the programme of events for 2006. He also expressed his desire to see this event become an annual affair.
We entertained the Officers and Senior NCOs of The Mounted Regiment at The George Hotel, Swaffham on 5th June, during their stay at Bodney Camp, Watton. Members were very pleased to be able to mix with the â€˜Youngstersâ€™ of today. Everyone agreed that the evening was a success. Lieutenant Colonel Woyka gave a talk on Regimental mat-
The De Vere Dunston Hotel, Norwich did an excellent Christmas dinner in 2004 so that we retained the same venue for 2005. Brigadier John Smales, Chief Executive of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) gave an entertaining talk on his links with the Household Cavalry and the work of the ILPH.
Christmas Dinner at the De Vere Dunston Hotel.
The President, Lieutant Colonel Daly, presented Brigadier Smales with a donation, on behalf of the club, to ILPH funds. It is hoped that now the Club has been established, it will encourage more exHousehold Cavalry and Royals to attend future events. David Barnes can be contacted on tel: (01603) 300161 mobile: 07860 737558 or email: email@example.com
The President with Major Peter Lendrum and the guest speaker, Brigadier John Smales.
1st Household Cavalry Regiment Celebration Lunch fficers of The 1st Household Cavalry Regiment attended a celebration lunch at The Cavalry and Guards Club on 12th May 2005. The aim of the lunch was to celebrate the 90th Birthdays of three of its members:
Brigadier His Grace The Duke of Wellington KG LVO OBE MC DL Colonel W H Gerard Leigh CVO CBE Colonel D de C Smiley LVO OBE MC Other members who attended: Captain John Ewart CBE DL Major Tony Hall Captain Alistair Ingham-Clark Captain Michael Naylor-Leyland MC Captain Stuart Paton Captain Guy Routledge Captain Jim Woollcombe
1 HCR Officers at the lunch.
News from the Associations
In attendance were: Captain Malcolm Fraser Major Norman Hearson OBE JP DL Captain Francis Mitchell Captain Herbert du Plessis Major General Sir Roy Redgrave KBE MC Captain Ian Van Ammal
Long Suffering wives.
Colonel H P D Massey outgoing Silver Stick-in-Waiting Colonel P J Tabor MVO incoming Silver Stick-in-Waiting Lieutenant Colonel J S Olivier Regimental Adjutant
Formation of The Blues and Royals Band Association Inaugural AGM and Dinner Dance Held on 23rd April 2005 in Basingstoke By Major D D Robertson, Director of Music, Band of The Blues and Royals
t is with great pleasure that we can announce the formation of the “Band of The Blues and Royals Association”, which was officially launched by means of an Inaugural Annual General Meeting, and Reunion Dinner Dance, held at the Basingstoke Apollo Hotel on Saturday, 23rd April 2005.
formation of a new Association in 2003. It, therefore, made 2005 the next most suitable and logical year to form and make the new association a reality, by the merging of the two former Band associations, an idea that had been gaining momentum since its conception some short time before.
Hitherto, former members of the Royal Horse Guards and Royal Dragoons Bands had their own existing Band Associations although those individuals who had joined since 1969, when the two Bands amalgamated, had no such association to belong to. Rather, they had, until the formation of the new association, attended the annual Royal Horse Guards Band event in the Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess in Knightsbridge.
Several ex-members were still in regular contact with the Band and some even attended our social functions, but these events were essentially open to a captive audience made up generally of those currently serving, and an assortment of invited guests. The concept of a ‘one size fits all’ Association was to try and draw into the fold as many former members as possible who had lost touch with each other, and also with a part of their own personal history, which had been formed whilst serving in either of the two former Bands.
The inaugural event date of 23rd April was intentionally selected due to it being the date on which King George III personally presented to his Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, a pair of solid silver Kettle Drums as testimony to their ‘Honourable and Military conduct on all occasions’. The creation of the Royal Dragoons’ Band had predated the King’s presentation of silver drums to the Royal Horse Guards by two years, but we had unfortunately missed the
In late 2004, I set about contacting with the aid of a committee from the Band, as many former members of the current Band and those who had served in the former Bands prior to their amalgamation in 1969. The lion’s share of the work was undertaken by Lance Corporal of Horse Paul Kent who set to, and succeeded in obtaining a ‘client base’ of some 250 names and contact addresses.
This was to set in stone a solid foundation for the formation of our new Association, and our thanks go to both Ron Darling and Trevor Austin for their tireless research in finding former members of the two Bands. The next step was to write to each former member in order to bring them ‘up to speed’ on our intention to form the new Association, and I can honestly state that the response was heart-warming, with replies received from countries as far-flung as Canada and Australia. Some eighty former members attended the inaugural meeting on the day; the location’s regulations did not allow for more, and those attendees’ support and attendance is warmly applauded and appreciated. Our inaugural AGM was followed that evening by our first Annual Dinner Dance, which drew some 150 former members with personal guests in attendance. Music was provided by the fabulous Royal Air Force Squadronaires and a visual presentation of slides incorporating all three Bands’ histories was shown throughout dinner, which brought back happy memories of past times. The Guest of Honour on the evening was Colonel H P D Massey, then Commander Household Cavalry, whose father had commanded the Royal Dragoons and had been Commanding
Colonel HPD Massey (the then Commander, Household Cavalry) with current Director of Music, Major DD Robertson and members of the Band of The Blues and Royals Association on the occasion of their Inaugural Reunion, 23rd April 2005, at the Apollo Hotel, Basingstoke.
News from the Associations
Officer to some former Royal Dragoons Band members present. They were, of course, only too willing to share fond memories of former glories with Colonel Massey’s father and regaled him with anecdotal evidence of those times. All present concurred that the concept of a Blues and Royals Band Association was an extremely worthwhile venture and that the evening had been a resounding success and should be repeated next year. Further, it provided an excellent opportunity for all present to catch up with old friends. Many memories were exchanged along with telephone numbers and arguably more
important was the fact that it gave the current Band members an invaluable insight into how ‘business’ was done in former times. It further reinforces the certainty that they bear the mantle of responsibility of keeping intact the high reputation of The Band of the Blues and Royals. I wish to take this opportunity personally to thank both Ron Darling (former Royal Dragoons’ Band) and Trevor Austin (former Royal Horse Guards’ Band) for their unstinting and dedicated efforts in regard to the forming of our new Association. Their total commitment to this task has earned them the
admiration and respect that is so deservedly theirs and, in all that we have been able to achieve thus far, they have played a hugely pivotal role. If you are in contact with any former member of either the Bands of the Royal Dragoons, the Royal Horse Guards or The Blues and Royals, who are unaware of our new Band Association, then please show them this article. Further, please ask them, should they wish to do so, to make contact with Lance Corporal of Horse Paul Kent at Hyde Park Barracks, Knightsbridge on 020 7414 2525. We would love to hear from them!
Features Carols, Coronations and Christmas Or how the Household Cavalry celebrated Christmas 2005… and made lots of money for the Museum Appeal By Christopher Joll, formerly The Life Guards t’s 1755 hours, Thursday 15th December 2005 and it’s a cold, clear winter evening at The Guards Chapel. The Band of The Life Guards is formed-up playing Christmas tunes, The Life Guards’ Drum Horse, a Blues and Royals mounted dutyman and a dozen dismounted troopers from both Regiments are lining the approach to the steps. So why so much concern from Commander Household Cavalry and a clutch of retired officers? The reason: the Princess Royal is due in 5 minutes and there are still many people entering the Chapel, despite clear instructions to be seated by 1745 hours.
Back in May, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Birdwood, formerly The Blues and Royals, had asked me to join a committee to organise a Christmas Carol Concert in aid of the Household Cavalry Museum Appeal. What could be simpler than staging a carol concert? Perhaps the biggest problem would be setting ticket prices at a level to ensure a “full house” and make some money. However, it soon became clear that he had something much more ambitious in mind: to raise £100,000. There would have to be significant sponsorship and extensive advertising. But could we sell tickets for up to £100 each, would advertisers commit £2,500 for a full page in the programme and would any company provide sponsorship? But how to attract the level of funding we were seeking for a museum building project rather than Third World aid or a
children’s charity? The concert had to be traditional and, as far as possible, use only Household Cavalry resources. These resources, not available to other carol concerts, gave it an exclusivity that allowed us to set premium prices and offer unique sponsorship packages based around what the Household Cavalry could offer. But surely we needed a celebrity to sell the evening? In line with our original intention, it had to be someone with a Household Cavalry connection – and ex-Household Cavalry celebrities are thin on the ground. We have bankers, land agents and owners, PR and advertising men, high-flying business men and a reasonable cross section of The Times 500 list, but not many celebrities. The first we targeted was Sir Colin Davis, a former Life Guard bandsman and a very distinguished conductor. But, he was due to be conducting in Hamburg on the night. What about James Blunt, ex-Life Guard captain and high flying pop star? He could not commit until the last minute, and his record company forbade use of his name in our publicity. So we could not use him to “sell” seats, advertising or sponsorship. However, we agreed he would still be an asset. Then we heard that Rory Bremner, a member of the Household Cavalry family through marriage, was volunteering his services. But how to use his talents? So, we had James Blunt and Rory Bremner, a target of £100,000, and all the
Regimental resources we needed. We also had a range of sponsorship opportunities that not even Richard Branson could have matched. The committees then got to work to sell tickets, secure advertising and acquire sponsors. Details were refined over the summer, and the concept was launched on 1st October. The committee was divided between traditionalist Christmas ‘Carolers’ and those who wanted to tell the history of the Household Cavalry in words and music. The result: a compromise, combining the history of the Household Cavalry with the Christmas story, using the concept of the family to link the two. We would use music from Coronations, starting with that of King Charles II, and the accounts of these and other events, to illustrate our history, interspersing them with Carols and readings. Two weeks before the concert, all tickets were sold with a long waiting list. The premium priced tickets had sold so well that the after-Concert reception at the Irish Guards’ Officers Mess looked in danger of breaching health & safety regulations. Sponsorship had gone well too, with Ruffer, the hedge fund, as the overall concert sponsor. What could possibly go wrong? But hubris is a dangerous state of mind and Lady Luck a fickle friend. Our first upset was the news that James Blunt would not be available. We had anticipated this and inserted an addi-
tional Band item in the programme. So far so good – or not, as it turned out. The Band of the Blues and Royals flew to Bosnia in early December for an engagement. Lack of serviceable aircraft caused them to be stranded there. Flying out in a snowstorm, they only arrived in Windsor at 0600 hours on 15th December. Stress and lack of sleep did not seem to impair their playing, but added an acre of grey hair to the heads of the committee. Then, at 1600hrs when the projector that illustrated the west end of the Chapel with the Regimental ciphers was switched on, we found to our horror (and the considerable amusement of those Life Guards present) that the
Garter on the Blues and Royals cipher read: “Honi soft qui mal y pense”. It was quickly amended by deft use of a marker pen. And what was Rory Bremner going to do? He had rejected the idea of reading an appeal for the Museum in the voice of Gordon Brown. And where was he anyway? 1745 hours and still no sign of him. So to 1755 hours. Would the Princess Royal have to queue up? Would Commander Household Cavalry and the two Commanding Officers find themselves on Her Orders? Would Lieutenant Colonel Birdwood have to resign as a Gentleman Usher for lèse majesté?
No, of course not. After all, this was a Household Cavalry event. Thanks to mobile telephony, the Princess Royal’s arrival was delayed; all were in their seats when she appeared; the concert went off without a hitch; The Blues and Royals Band under the indefatigable baton of Major Dougie Robertson played at the top of their form; Tpr Finney gave a faultless reading; Rory Bremner got a round of applause for reciting an A A Milne Christmas poem in twenty different “voices”; everyone enjoyed themselves – and we raised £145,000 net for the Museum Appeal. Job done.
Presentation of Standards - 1952 (A recollection by Hugh Hodgson who served with The Life Guards from September 1952 – September 1955). aving just enlisted in The Life Guards in September 1952, I found myself in Granby Squad under CoH Cosgrove.
Following a period of basic foot drill one morning, CoH Cosgrove called out my name along with several others and gave the dreaded order “those named stand fast” the others “fall out.” Needless to say having only been a recruit for about a month, we were all in trepida-
tion as to what we had done or not done. CoH Cosgrove went no way to dispel our dread of what might be in store for us. All he told us was that at a given time the next day we were to be in best boots etc. ready to travel. The next morning, along with several others, we embarked in a Bedford for an unknown destination. Some time later, the Bedford stopped and when we got out we found ourselves in Hyde Park Barracks just as the Guard was being
inspected. First, we went to the QM’s State Uniform Store where we were fitted for Dismounted Uniforms, then we went down nearly to the dungeons to the Armourer’s Store to be issued with State Swords. For some of us, there was not the correct size of State Uniform so, having got back into the Bedford, we travelled to a disused RAF airfield somewhere to the west of London. There we went to a semi-underground old air raid shelter, full of State Uniforms which had been put into store
Combermere Barracks - getting ready for the Presentation of Standards, Nov 1952.
during World War 2. Eventually, we returned to Combermere and were told we were to start new drill training the next day. It was now we found out how lucky we were. All the rest of the recruits at Combermere were to be part of the unit to mark the Home Park for the Presentation of New Standards, in November, whilst we were to be the Dismounted Standard Party. The next morning, CoH Cosgrove turned out to be much more human than we had ever imagined. He went to great lengths to explain what we had to do, how drill would change etc. To start with, we had the luxury of not having State Swords, but it was difficult changing from boots with no spurs to Wellington Boots with spurs. After great patience from CoH Cosgrove, we began to master the new drill, then came the next problem. Drilling with State Swords was eventually mastered, and the day of the Presentation was getting ever nearer. About a week before the day of the Presentation, a Captain (whose name escapes me) arrived to take charge of us. He was very different from any other officer we had had before, treating us as men not recruits. On the first day we went to the Home Park for a rehearsal,
we had a lot of standing about with nothing to do, and November that year was cold. The next time we went to the Home Park, we found the officer had arranged for our own small NAAFI van with ‘tea and wads’. This was most welcome. We now really started to appreciate our job; all the other troops were lining the field or marching on and standing on parade, whilst we, the lucky ones had only to march on in half section, turn right across the front of the Royal Stand then line up to await receipt of the Old Standards. After the Presentation of New Standards, we were then to march from the Home Park back through Windsor to Combermere Barracks. When the day of the Presentation arrived, our party was based immediately behind the stand for the Royal Party. As we were not on parade until after the Royal Party had arrived, we were ‘easy’ behind the stand having the proverbial tea and wad, when one of the party in a voice muffled by his wad called “party, party, shun”. It was then that we realised it was Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh arriving. We were speechless when His Royal Highness came to where we were standing and very quietly said something to the effect that we were very
Hugh Hodgson on the right.
lucky. All went well on the parade; we received the cased Standards and marched off. I well remember the crowds were quite dense all along the route. As I was escort to the Sovereign’s Standard, I was at the front of the party and as we marched along the route, I well remember wishing I had a ‘tanner’ (6d old money or 2.5p new money) for every time I heard a camera click
The Zandvoorde Memorial By Captain R Hennessy-Walsh, formerly The Life Guards he Household Cavalry own a memorial in Zandvoorde (near Ypres), Belgium which commemorates the 120 members of 1st Life Guards, 159 members of 2nd Life Guards and 16 members of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) killed there in October 1914. Many of them died in defence of the ridge upon which the memorial (a cross) stands.
Over the passage of time many of the names, particularly those at the top of the memorial, have become eroded through natural causes. As a result of this, the Household Cavalry asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, in Maidenhead, to investigate what could be done to restore it to its former glory.
Following a structural inspection, the stonemasons were able to confirm that it would be possible to re-engrave the panels and that replacements would not be necessary. The work was finally completed in October 2005 and funded by generous donations from the Grosvenor family (descendants of Lord Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Life Guards, whose name appears on the memorial), The Earl of Yarborough whose antecendant, Lord Worsley, Royal Horse Guards, also died at Zandvoorde and Headquarters Household Division. The following photographs give you an idea of the memorial, now fully restored, although it is a far more impressive memorial when visited.
Royals’ Wives – 1950s Style By Mrs Mary Thorpe
he year was 1955 and I was a young bride who had never left England and whose life was about to change as radically as you can imagine. I had married a Corporal in the Royal Dragoons, and we were to start our married life in Germany.
Life was very simple: trips to Celle for shopping in the Regimental bus; walks across the airfield; but best of all lots of riding, as the stables held many horses that needed exercise. I soon learned which horses were gentle and which bad tempered.
We travelled to Harwich to catch the boat to the Hook of Holland – that was the first indication that from now on my life would be run by military rules. The wives and children were sent to one part of the boat and the men to another – I was put into a cabin with two women and four small children who were promptly sick, and I cried all night. The next morning, we boarded the Blue Train for the journey to Germany. We arrived in Celle on a very dark and cold March evening where a one tonne truck was waiting to transport us to Wesendorf, our home for the next two years. It seemed an endless journey through little villages but, finally, we arrived at the Guard Room and received the key for our quarter, situated in a two storey block of flats. Everything was supplied right down to the corkscrew and we were extremely comfortable.
Eventually, the time came when I needed ante natal care, this entailed a two hour ride to Hanover hospital for initial check up and then I was placed in the care of the Medical Officer in camp. A week before my delivery date my husband took me to a house in Hanover where all pregnant women stayed until delivery – no ante natal classes or ‘breathing’ exercises in those days. Winter in Wesendorf was bitterly cold and to take our daughter out in the pram meant wrapping her in a shawl, then a blanket and putting a hot water bottle on each side of the pram. The worst time for me was when the Hungarian Revolution was in progress as our camp was on the eastern border and Soviet troops lined up only hundreds of yards away. We were told by British Forces to pack a small suitcase and listen for further instructions, as my husband was in Brunswick on a course. I felt very alone and was relieved when the danger passed.
Left to my own devices the next day, I decided to look for the NAAFI shop and set off through the woods. I met the padre who was also new so we walked on together. The shop was in the RHQ block; it had a long counter, lots of tinned food and trays of delicious cream doughnuts – in these days of enlightened cholesterol diets, they would be avoided by most people but, in 1955, they were eaten quite happily. That day I also met a nanny with a small boy in a pushchair – I noted in the latest magazine that the very same boy is now a Colonel and the Commander of the Household Cavalry.
In 1957, the Regiment was posted to Herford; we had a house several miles from camp in the German community. After only a year, my husband was posted to the TA in St. Johns Wood, London, I was pregnant again and had my second daughter in Bournemouth before moving to our quarter in the mixed Services block of flats. We had a few lines for washing outside the flat door, our civilian neighbours decreed that nothing was to be displayed after
Wedding Day 19th March 1955.
noon – needless to say the sun did not reach our flat until the afternoon – no disposable nappies in those days. My husband was then posted to Aden for a year and, in September 1960, my two daughters and I sailed to rejoin him and continued on to Malaya. On arrival in Singapore, we boarded a train for Ipoh where we were put into a hotel until our quarters were ready. We had a bungalow on the edge of the jungle and a very helpful Malay family next door. The house was lovely and the garden was spectacular, but we had to move as there was a nest of cobras in the garden. The final straw was when our two year old daughter decided to chase a cobra across the garden and was saved by the quick thinking of our kebun (gardener). Our next house was in Fair Park and much safer for the children. I used to go to town either by trishaw (much haggling) or on the local bus – you elbowed
your way on with all the other folk – to sit next to someone carrying live chickens was an experience, the smell was remarkable. After two glorious years, we returned first to Tidworth and then another posting to the TA in Bromley. I worked at a solicitor’s office until we were again posted to join the Regiment in Detmold. We arrived there on New Year’s Day 1964, having driven across from England. I used a sleigh to fetch my gro-
ceries from the NAAFI, as the roads were treacherous. The girls loved the ride. During our leave breaks, we camped in Italy, Switzerland and Austria and later we based our tent at Gieselwerder on the Weser. The camping ground had a lovely pool for the children. When the men were away on manoeuvres, the wives would go there to while the time away – we would have card games far into the night.
Finally, in 1968, came the Amalgamation. We left the “Royals” with so many wonderful memories and faced the challenge of civilian life for the first time. After nearly 40 years, we are still in touch with so many of the good friends we made during our time with the Regiment and I, personally, don’t regret one single day.
Septem Juncta In Uno at The Royal Courts of Justice By Nigel Bourne, formerly The Blues and Royals ot so many years ago, the Great Hall and the many corridors of the splendid Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, reverberated to the sound of the well-placed heel and regulation pace of many former members of the Household Division. It was a time when many of Her Majesty’s High Court Judges had served in the armed forces, as had their Clerks. Clerks to Her Majesty’s High Court Judges were at that time mostly drawn from the ranks of retired senior police officers and warrant officers of the three armed services.
Sadly, times are achanging. It is now very rare to find a Lord Justice of Appeal or a Puisne Judge who has undergone military service, and the same applies to their Clerks. This is most likely the last time that all seven regiments of The Household Division will be represented together at
the Royal Courts of Justice. The Brigade Tie is indeed becoming a rare sight on Fridays. The following Judges and Clerks represent the Regiments: Officers The Chancellor of The High Court,
Sir Andrew Morritt - Scots Guards
Lord Justice of Appeal,
Sir William Gage - Irish Guards
Warrant Officers Don McKenzie Bev Lawson Nigel Bourne Malcolm Harding John Pheasant Roger Kinnnerley Bryan Watts
The Life Guards The Blues and Royals The Blues and Royals Grenadier Guards Coldstream Guards Coldstream Guards Welsh Guards
Many attempts have been made to get everyone together for a photographic session but sadly to no avail; there were too many blank files!
60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Denmark By Sergeant Edward Hartland, formerly Royal Dragoons and Corporal Jack Peek, formerly Royal Dragoons uring the 60th Liberation Ceremonies between 5th - 8th May 2005, my friend and I accepted an invitation from the Danish Ministry of Defence to take part in the proceedings.
This involved attending the wreath-laying ceremony at the Mindelundan Memorial Park to honour over 200 members of the Danish Resistance who were executed by the German occupying forces during the war. The Queen of Denmark laid the first wreath, followed by the Duke of Gloucester and the Prime Minister of Denmark. We followed with the card attached to our National Flag and a panel stating in ‘Remembrance from Edward Hartland & Jack Peek, Royal Dragoons 1939-1946’. The following day, we were invited to the Houses of Parliament and the Citadel where a Squadron of the Royals stayed during 1945, and then followed interviews on National Television News and several Newspapers. The visit coincided with the publication entitled 1945 by the author Steen Hansen, with photographs of the Royal Dragoons, who are mentioned over a hundred times in the book.
The Household Cavalry Regiment – 1953 By Mr (ex LCpl) C Halliday, formerly Royal Horse Guards. The Garter started with considerable activity. On 14th June, a detachment of twelve officers and 120 men, under the Colonel, lined the route in the Lower Ward at Windsor Castle for the Procession of the Chapter of the Garter. Before the parade, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards gave the officers a most excellent lunch in their Mess at Victoria Barracks. On 28th June, the Regiment provided a Sovereign’s Escort with two Standards to meet Their Majesties The King and Queen of Sweden at Westminster Pier. The Escort may have been unique in that the Sovereign’s Standard of The Life Guards was carried behind the first carriage and the Regimental Standard of The Blues behind the second carriage. The Squadron Leaders and Second in Command of both squadrons were on parade. Two days later, Their Majesties drove to the Guildhall accompanied by a Sovereign’s Escort commanded by Major the Hon Julian Berry RHG. We were pleased to welcome some thirty mounted police officers from the provinces, who stayed in barracks with their horses for the Royal Police Review on 14th July. There were a number of old friends amongst them. We were glad to know from the letters we received that they were suitably entertained in the WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess. The Band horses had been worked hard carrying The Blues Band on mounted engagements. They appeared for two weeks at the White City, firstly in the SSAFA Tattoo and later at the International Horse Show. At the time of writing, they are in Edinburgh appearing in the Military Tattoo, where their performance is a cross between a band concert and a musical ride. The movement where the Band divides in two and moves round the Director of Music and the Drum Horse, with half going one way and half the other, made one wonder who briefed the horses in what they were expected to do, as it is doubtful that the musicians carrying the double basses had much say in where their mounts went. Lieutenant C Worthington RHG, who lived on board his yacht ‘Fieldfare’ in Leith Docks, was in charge of the administrative party and reported on the kindness shown by Mr Tom Currie
and the city authorities and those concerned in making the visit a success. We participated to a considerable extent in the national radio and television show, giving a dismounted drill demonstration on the opening night and combining with The Blues from Windsor to give a mounted and armoured car display during the Inter-Services Night. The Blues squadron went to Pirbright for their annual camp in August. The only thing that could be said for the weather was that the lack of sun caused the horses to return still black rather than the usual brown. The squadron sports were held on 21st August. The ‘Handy Hunter’ competition was won by LCpl C Halliday on ‘Angela’ and the open jumping by LCpl Whatman on ‘Colorado’. The officers’ and NCOs’ team jumping resulted LCpl Halliday RHG and Angela – 1953 Mounting for Guard with no mounting block. in a draw of twenty faults V Cup at the Royal Tournament on each: a suggestion that the Squadron ‘Argosy’, and The Life Guards Squadron Leader and Squadron Corporal-Major team were only beaten by The Life should jump off was turned down and Guards from the Training Cadre in the the result was decided by the toss of a other ranks’ jumping competition. At coin. The NCOs won. Unfortunately, the Windsor Show, Corporals Thompthere were no entries for the old solson and Truslove were second in the diers’ race, not even from CoH Gittings, United States Team Competition and, in whose military career is coming to an the Metropolitan Police Show, Corporals end very shortly. We wish him good Truslove and Garrett won the half-secluck for the future. It was Major Berry’s tion jumping event. last Pirbright and he has now handed over the Squadron to Major Gordon and Several places were gained at the RA will shortly take up his new appointshow at Woolwich, where Corporal ment as Regimental Adjutant. We Thompson won the ‘Handy Hunter’. would also say farewell to Lieutenant J William, who resigned his commission Knightsbridge have had a very successon 1st August. ful cricket season: only two games have been lost, one by seven runs and the The Musical Ride has now completed all other by eighteen runs. Two village but two of its engagements for this year. matches have been played, one against They have been to the Great Yorkshire Badminton, where the players and specShow at Harrogate and the Royal Lantators were shown around the house and cashire Show at Blackpool amongst grounds and everyone had a most enjoymany other places. able afternoon. Twenty-four men were selected from A large number of all ranks are keen to many entries to go to the Richmond play football, and our first match is Royal Horse Show for the Princess Elizagainst The Blues at Windsor on 23rd abeth Cup. It was this year won by Tpr September. Two matches a week for a Stentiford of The Life Guards. Cpl month have been arranged to prepare Thompson (Royal Horse Guards) did for the London District League. extremely well to win the King George
Captain A C Robson OC LAD The Royal Dragoons aptain Robson, who was born in 1906, had been too young to serve in the First World War but made up for it in the Second. On the strength of being a chartered engineer, he got a direct commission into the Army, joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and was posted to the 1st Royal Dragoons. It was his job to keep the Daimler armoured cars and Scout cars in working trim. He liked it so much, he managed to stay with them, resisting all promotions and postings throughout a very active war.
He was with them in the Western Desert in June 1942, when Tobruk was surrendered to Rommel’s advancing army. It was one of the British Army’s most abject setbacks of the war. But Captain Arnold Robson kept his unit together and they still had their vehicles and plenty of petrol, water and food, and he was determined to escape while the Germans were still in considerable chaos. “I called my chaps together and said I was driving out that night through the minefield, and anyone who wanted to follow was welcome”, he recalls. “They all came. We waited after dark, got away as quietly as possible, then moved slowly due south. It took us eight hours to get clear of the minefields. I walked in front of my Scout car, following the white tapes that showed where the clear passage was. Every so often, the Germans put up a flare and we stopped
dead, hoping no one would see us. Once we were through, we drove like hell, still due south, to get clear of the German air lanes. At first light we stopped for breakfast, then turned east for 200 miles, then north again until we reached the sea coast. When we found out that we were now well behind the British lines, we all dived joyfully into the sea. My luck had held”. His wife, however, was having a very anxious time at home. They still have the official notification she received that he had been posted missing. The 1st Royal Dragoons were with the Eighth Army as it fought back across North Africa, then invaded Sicily and then Italy. They were recalled to England to join a great allied force that was preparing for the Normandy landings and, in the spring of 1945, found themselves liberating Denmark and rounding up a quarter of a million German troops. Captain Robson personally accepted the surrender of a German submarine commander and his officers. He also liberated a magnificent armourplated, drop-head Mercedes coupe that had belonged to Reichsmarschal Hermann Goering, the commander of the German Air Force. He had a heady few weeks tuning it up and driving grandly about in the monstrous machine. There was a switch on the dashboard which raised and lowered the Nazi flag on the radiator cap.
Captain AC Robson.
After the war, it was back to Carlisle. He retired in 1973, and he and his wife have done a great deal of travelling, all round and over the world. He runs a Daimler, for old time’s sake and still goes off two days a week for a round of golf. On one marvellous morning in the 1970s, he drove off from the tee of the 17th hole and watched in rapture as the ball soared away, bounced, then ran in a curving arc to drop into the hole. When they gathered around to congratulate him on his hole in one, he replied. “Yes. But it’s taken me 50 years to do it.”
The Installation of Nobby Clarkson as Mayor of Copeland, Cumbria From Laurie Young.
Left to right: Corporal Tom Roseblade, Corporal Laurie Young, Corporal Nobby Clarkson all former Life Guards and RCM (WO1) Jack Cowdery former Blue on the occasion of the installation of Nobby Clarkson as Mayor of Copeland, Cumbria. Nobby Clarkson was not only installed as Mayor of Copeland (first Conservative Mayor in history) but he was also a councillor for Copeland Borough and member of the Cumbria County Council. Messrs Clarkson, Young and Roseblade had spent nearly all their service inThe Life Guards Mounted Squadron and had been taught drill by the then Corporal Cowdery.
Photos from the past…
Visit by Ralph Bentley, former Life Guard, from Canada.
Cpl Bernie (Nick) Wright, B Sqn 2 HCR Now Councillor and shortly to become Mayor of Eastleigh.
Mr Voller’s 100th Birthday Party. L to R: Mr Watson, Capt Stratford, Mr Voller holding his LG gift, Capt Kingston and WO2 (now WO1) Parkinson. Mr Voller sadly passed away on 8th February 2006.
R W Rowlinson, formerly of The Life Guards. Due to the cost of the WW2 Ceremonial Uniform and public opinion, it was not reissued until 1948. Even then the uniform was second hand from Army stores. His jackboots were stamped 1912 and his buckskins 1886.
LCpl and Cpls of The Life Guards Squadron, Hyde Park 1948. R Whitehorn, F Woods, L Brown, R Pegham, J Greaves, K Smith, J Hurst C Rees, A Rowlinson, A Boswell, R Kane, F Harrison.
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