THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY JOURNAL 2013
The Household Cavalry Journal
Incorporating The Acorn and The Blue and Royal No. 22 2013 Editor: Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) H S J Scott, The Life Guards
Colonel in Chief Her Majesty The Queen
Colonel of The Life Guards and Gold Stick: Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE DL Colonel of The Blues and Royals and Gold Stick: HRH The Princess Royal KG KT GCVO QSO Commander Household Cavalry and Silver Stick: Colonel S H Cowen, The Blues and Royals Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Regiment: Lieutenant Colonel J P Eyre, The Blues and Royals Commanding Officer Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment: Lieutenant Colonel P A Bedford, 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)
Armentières (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)
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)
Gulf (1991) Wadi al Batin Iraq (2003)
The Blues and Royals Battle Honours Tangier (1662-1680) Dettingen Warburg Beaumont Willems Fuentes d’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) Armentières (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)
Crown Copyright: This publication contains official information. It should be treated with discretion by the recipient. The opinions expressed in the articles in this journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy and views, official or otherwise, of the Household Cavalry or the Ministry of Defence. No responsibility for the goods or services advertised in this journal can be accepted by the Household Cavalry, publishers or printers and advertisements are including in good faith. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the Editor and Publisher. The Journal was designed and published by Brian Smith Associates, 145 St Pancras, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 7SH. Tel: 01243 576279 Email: email@example.com
Contents Preface by The Commander Household Cavalry.......................... 3
Household Cavalry Regiment Foreword by the Commanding Officer ......................................... 5 A Squadron ........................................................................................ 6 B Squadron ......................................................................................... 7 C Squadron ......................................................................................... 9 D Squadron ...................................................................................... 12 Headquarters Squadron ................................................................. 15 Chaplaincy ....................................................................................... 16 Command Troop ............................................................................. 17 Light Aid Detachment .................................................................... 18 Quartermaster’s Department ......................................................... 19 Quartermaster (Equipment) Department .................................... 21 Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess ........ 22 The Band of The Blues and Royals ................................................ 23 HCR Physical Training ................................................................... 24 Martial Arts at the Regiment: A Year in Review ......................... 25 “Arch or you’ll die”: Exercise FAST AIR - BATUS 13 ................ 25 C Squadron Competent Crew Course: Denmark and Germany, April 2013 .......................................... 27
C Squadron Paragliding: Mounting on Wings as Eagles and landing like Turkeys ............................................................ 28 Conquering Mountains! Exercise YAM ROCK ........................... 29 Above the Parapet ........................................................................... 31 Operation HERRICK 18: A BRF Troop Leader’s Perspective ... 32 ‘A Little Fish in a Big Pond’: A Junior Officer’s Impression of Life in ISTAR Gp HQ ............................................................... 33 SHQ in BATUS: The Trooper’s View ............................................ 36 Exercise IRON DIADEM: C Squadron’s Adventures in Italy .... 37 Exercise ROUGH RIDE: In the Wilderness of Brokeback Country ...................................................................... 40 Never Too Far From Home: Celebrating Fiji Day in BATUS ..... 41 Exercise COCKNEY MONKEY: C Squadron Trip to St Anton 41 Exercise IRON SPIRIT: C Squadron CT0 Training in Dartmoor 4-8th Feb 2013 ............................................................. 43 Guns for Hire in the Wild West: HCR Gun Troops on Exercise PRAIRIE STORM 3 ....................................................... 45 Exercise IRON WAVE: C Squadron Adventure Training .......... 47
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Foreword by the Commanding Officer ........................................ 50 Diary of Events ................................................................................ 51 The Life Guards Squadron ............................................................. 53 The Blues and Royals Mounted Squadron ................................... 55 Headquarters Squadron ................................................................. 57 Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess ........ 59 Equitation ......................................................................................... 60 Winter Training Troop 2013-14 ...................................................... 60 The Musical Ride ............................................................................. 61
Pages 72 - 76
Household Cavalry Cresta Run 2014 ......................................74 HCMR at the Household Division Regatta Seaview, Isle of Wight ........................................................... 75 Tug of War Team ....................................................................... 76
News from the Associations The Life Guards Association Annual Report 2013 ...................... 77 Minutes of the 78th AGM of The Life Guards Association ........ 77 Report on the proposal for a Life Guards Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum ........................................ 79 The Life Guards Association and Charitable Trusts .................. 80 The Life Guards Association Notices ............................................ 81 The Life Guards Association Regional Representatives ............ 81 The Blues and Royals Association Annual Report 2013 ............. 83 Minutes of the AGM of The Blues and Royals Association ........ 84 The Blues and Royals Association Regional Representatives ... 85 Household Cavalry Central Charitable Fund .............................. 87 Household Cavalry Foundation .................................................... 88
Pages 50 - 71
Household Cavalry Training Wing .............................................. 61 Medical Centre ................................................................................. 62 The Forge .......................................................................................... 63 The Band of The Life Guards ......................................................... 64 The Robin Chapel ............................................................................ 65 Bosnia: Exercising with the EU Force ........................................... 66 Spruce Meadows 2013 .................................................................... 67 The Cambrian Patrol Competition 2013 ....................................... 69 Images of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment .............. 70
Household Cavalry Sports Round-up Household Cavalry Golf 2013 ........................................................ 72 Freediving ........................................................................................ 72 Polo .................................................................................................... 73 LONDIST Throwdown Competition 2013 ............................ 74
Pages 5 - 49
Pages 77 - 144
Household Cavalry Regimental Collection Trust - Windsor ..... 88 The Household Cavalry Museum ................................................. 89 Obituaries The Life Guards ............................................................ 92 Obituaries The Blues and Royals ................................................... 93 Nominal Rolls ................................................................................ 102 Notices ............................................................................................ 107 Household Cavalry Associations Dorset ........................................................... 110 North Staffs .................................................. 113 North East .................................................... 114 North West & West Yorkshire ................... 115 Features .......................................................................................... 117
Cover Photographs: Front: Patrolling in the Arghandab River Valley, 2013 Back: Staff of The Blue Cross National Equine Health Survey carry out a health survey on the Household Cavalry, Colossus of 1Tp LG Sqn, ridden by LCpl Raats
By Colonel S H Cowen, The Blues and Royals Commander Household Cavalry
t is always good to welcome home the Regiment from an operational tour, but I was especially grateful to hear Lt Col Jim Eyre report that all members of the Regiment were safely back at Combermere Barracks on 25th November 2013 after their last deployment in the current operational cycle. This was sadly tempered by the loss of LCpl Brynin R SIGNALS who was killed in action whilst attached to the Battle Group’s Brigade Reconnaissance Force on one of their last operations of a very busy tour. It was difficult then, or at the following excellent Medal Parade exercising the Regiments’ Freedom of Windsor, to understand fully the extent of their endeavours on HERRICK 18. However, the publication of the Operational Honours and Awards List clearly reflected the esteem in which they were held. The list appears below. However, it is not only recognition of the individual deeds but also all the Battle Group and the operational success of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, and the outstanding leadership of Jim Eyre both in training and on deployment. It is reassuring to see this recognition of the fighting capability of the Household Cavalry as we approach the commemoration of two of our most acknowledged Battle Honours: the centenary of Zandvoorde and the bicentenary of Waterloo. Our roles may have changed and adapted. There is also a difference in scale of action and certainly there is a huge difference in the public and political tolerance for casualties, but what resonates through the centuries is the quality of our soldiers and their steadfast actions in the face of the enemy. It is also clear that the Household Cavalry remains a family, and from The Marquis of Granby to the present Operational Casualties Fund (OCF) we seek to care for our own, our casualties and their dependants. I am sure, like me, you will read with interest and a little awe, how committed the Regiments are and what they have achieved in the last year. The trite words ‘It has been a busy year’ have appeared on these pages before but they are entirely relevant in 2013. Sadly, the uncertainty also has not changed. I had hoped that after the Strategic Defence and Security Review there may have been some breathing space in which to reconstitute, but the future of Hyde Park Barracks is being reviewed with a lot of press speculation and the Future of Army Music appears to be distancing
Col SH Cowen on Integrity after the Major General’s Inspection
the relationship between our Regiments and their Bands, which is very sad. The Army’s focus is moving from operations to contingency and the permanent relationship that D Squadron has had with 16 Air Assault Brigade will also sadly be broken after 25 years. However, Defence Engagement, how our forces can influence British interest overseas, is seeing a resurgence. As we celebrate Burnaby Night, our subalterns will be turning the pages of A Road to Khiva some 125 years after it was written to draw inspiration on influence and engagement. However, this Defence Engagement will not only be at Windsor but also Knightsbridge, as the Mounted Regiment is also tasked with missions to the Gulf, Far East and North Africa. I am sure Danny Alexander will rue his simplistic statistics of tanks and horses; each have their place and value. Frustratingly, the most debilitating uncertainty is the voracious appetite the Army Staff have for change in the human agenda with reviews of recruiting, terms and conditions of
service, manning and career structures, whilst not always taking account of the effect it has on our men. During my tenure as Commander Household Cavalry, I have always been deeply impressed by the quality of our officers and soldiers, and always touched by the times that senior officers and others, unsolicited, have told vignettes of events highlighting their qualities and standards. These pages again eloquently illustrate that acceptance of challenge, excelling in training and operations, and joie de vivre, as seen in the articles on Adventure Training, OCF sailing and Spruce Meadows. Many of these expeditions have only been possible with outside support. I remain exceptionally grateful to those who have supported these activities through the creation of the Household Cavalry Foundation. I have been conscious of scepticism for creating this from serving and retired in the last two years, which is right and healthy as we should justify change. However, it has allowed us to
clarify and consolidate support, focus on what we need to do and how it is funded. We continue to try and influence defence and publicly funded policy but knowing that the Foundation can make a difference to those serving and retired, and their dependants is important. Through concepts like Ex TOUCH EVEREST and Zandvoorde 2014, to helping casualties transition to new careers, and maintaining our heritage we do, I believe, make that difference. It is vital that the current generation of serving Household Cavalrymen realise what a unique organisation we serve in and value serving in it. This is crucial to retaining our best in a full career so that my successors will hear the echoes of what I am fortunate to hear - that our officers and soldiers shine out in the Army: on operations, Special Duties and training; from operational theatres to Sandhurst and Horse Guards. I do not wish to dwell on the Foundation as it is now well established. The OCF Endowment Fund sits at £1.25M and growing; building that fund has not been compromised by fundraising for the Museum, which will have external loans paid off in 2014, and its revenues then used to resource the wider charitable objects of the Foundation. The Board includes the Commanding Officers, Regimental Corporals Major and Chairmen of the Associations so it is transparent and allows us to look across the five charitable objects of the Foundation, prioritise charitable expenditure and direct how, when and where we fundraise. The Household Cavalry are extremely grateful to so many for their support, particularly the Schroder and Wyndham families, Rupert Fryer and other individual donors who have discreetly and generously supported the Foundation. I commend the Foundation website hcavfoundation.org. It has been updated and provides news and information on all our activities, and links to social media and reference material. The more it is used the more useful it will become
to the Household Cavalry family. I also commend a visit to the Museum: the display has been updated to reflect 20th - 21st century operations and now includes an audio visual guide.
Guards and The Blues and Royals, but also allowed the Household Cavalry to celebrate this occasion with a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. As we go to print over 4,000 have accepted the invitation to attend and this is a testament to the Household Cavalry family in its widest sense. I will then hand over to Major General E A Smyth-Osbourne as Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Household Cavalry and Silver-Stick in Waiting. I hope he will enjoy, as much as I have, overseeing the well-being of the Household Cavalry family and the honour of these appointments.
I hope you enjoy this Journal and as always we are indebted to the editor for his diligence. This is the fourth Foreword I have written and it is always inspiring to read what has been achieved but an unenviable task to single out those for thanks. However, this year holds no challenge. We dined out Paul Stretton and Dick HennessyWalsh before Christmas for their service, regular and retired to the Household Cavalry. Not only serving with The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals but also as Regimental Secretary and Assistant Secretary, their work for their respective Associations, their advice and guidance on so many issues, their encyclopaedic knowledge of the Household Cavalry and their wise counsel on the Foundation has been invaluable. We owe them a huge debt of thanks for this and many other unrecorded actions to support serving and retired members of the Household Cavalry and wish them well in retirement. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Presentation of Standards on 28th May, when Her Majesty The Queen has not only graciously agreed to present new Col SH Cowen, accompanying The Major General, Maj Gen EA Smyth-Osbourne, on his inspection of the Mounted Regiment Standards to The Life HONOURS AND AWARDS
The following awards have been made for service in Afghanistan on operations from September 2012 to October 2013:
Lance Corporal Simon George MOLONEY RHG/D Captain Alexander Ryland PICKTHALL LG Major Rupert Spark EVETTS RHG/D Major Thomas James ARMITAGE LG Staff Corporal Alexander James CAWLEY RHG/D Lance Corporal of Horse Kevin John SEDGWICK RHG/D
CGC MC MBE MID MID MID
The following individual was honoured in the New Year’s Honours List 2014, published on 31st December 2013, for voluntary services to Modern Pentathlon
Major (Retd) Dominic John Grehan MAHONY LG
Household Cavalry Regiment Foreword
By Lieutenant Colonel J P Eyre, The Blues and Royals Commanding Officer, Household Cavalry Regiment
can safely say on behalf of the Regiment that 2013 was as challenging a year as any. It was with great relief, notwithstanding some very close shaves, that all those who deployed from Combermere made it back in one piece in time for Christmas. The focus of the year was clearly the last deployment of the Regiment to Afghanistan (and more of that later), but this - as always - masks the hard work and effort demonstrated by those remaining. With Regimental Headquarters, Headquarter and B Squadron deployed for the bulk of the year, C and D Squadrons under a light Rear RHQ continued at their normal break-neck tempo as Brigade Reconnaissance troops for both 12 Brigade and 16 Air Assault Brigade respectively. A Squadron this time provided essential Training and Support back in Windsor ensuring the vital preparation of our newest soldiers whilst our minds were elsewhere. The Household Cavalry Regiment’s commitment to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 18 was extraordinary: not only because we actually deployed to Helmand with our parent Brigade - the Tidworth based 1st Mechanized Brigade - but further for the eclectic and hugely varied span of command and the nature of the operations we undertook. RHQ formed what is known as the Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Group HQ, or in English, the eyes and ears and indeed brain of the Brigade, commanding a plethora of state of the art capabilities from drones, balloons, to electronic warfare and human intelligence operators. Additionally, the ISTAR HQ took on the mantle of the Brigade’s manoeuvre forces; B Squadron as the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, No2 Company 1Bn Irish Guards as the Brigade Operations Company, an Estonian Scout Company, Badger Squadron 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in Warthog armoured vehicles, Z Company 1st Bn Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as Armoured Infantry and towards the end of the tour, Loke Troop, a Danish Tank Group based on three Leopard 2s. As the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, B Squadron was employed less as a recce capability and more as a strike force. Like the other manoeuvre companies,
their role was to keep the insurgents on the back foot, buying time for Afghan Security Forces to consolidate and mature and giving peace a chance to flourish in the Protected Communities. Selfevidently, by disrupting the insurgents and robbing him of the initiative we were also protecting ourselves, but the balance of risk was always keenly felt and each operation heavily scrutinized to ensure it was worthwhile and that the remaining were risks mitigated as much as possible. B Squadron, supported by 4 RIFLES Recce Pl and with a host of other key capabilities, completely immersed themselves in this challenging task: developing intelligence derived targets, they would insert into the field by US or UK aviation or armoured vehicles to seize and deny insurgent weapons and explosives, as well as psychologically deny the insurgent freedom to operate with impunity. As the HQ was stretched maintaining constant vigilance over Helmand and delivering over 80 offensive operations against the insurgents, Captain Tom Long, Ops Offr, and his hard worked acolytes certainly earned their money. Equally stretched, the HQ Squadron had a different headache as the Brigade Troops Echelon (BTE). In terms of empire, Major ‘Ratty’ Core (HQ Ldr), Captain Ade Gardner (QM(T)) and Captain Alex Owen (Adjutant), had to manage over 1,500 troops. With the return of numerous orphan groupings to Camp Bastion, as part of the gradual reduction of forces, the BTE became the logical surrogate HQ and with it a growing number of accounts, equipments and vehicle platforms to administer. Needless to say, the whole team did a sterling job and never once dropped the ball throughout the tour. The overall reflection of the tour for
the Brigade and the Regiment was of a job exceptionally well done in exacting circumstances. As ever, I have been humbled by the quality of our soldiers and officers, and the exploits of B Squadron and those who deployed before them, serve as a timely reminder of the courage and quality of the Household Cavalryman today. Tactically, British and Coalition troops retained the initiative and largely overmatched and neutralised the pervasive insurgent threat. In terms of UK’s campaign in Helmand, Op HERRICK 18 drove the changes to enable our successor’s safe extraction later this year. Back in the UK, C Squadron recovered from the disappointment of not deploying and very quickly threw themselves into a rich diet of adventure training, battlefield tours and ultimately a return to the prairie in Canada, ensuring a comprehensive and well structured training year. Similarly D
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 5
Squadron, fighting valiantly to keep the 16 Air Asslt Bde flame alive, ran an Anglo-Italian reconnaissance cadre in Tuscany as well as continuing to support the whole gamut of airborne exercises up and down the country. In terms of the Regiment’s broader health, we are in good shape. Indeed, the challenges we face reflect those of the wider Army. We have returned from 10 years of exacting operations into a very different political and resource climate where we must demonstrate our relevance for the future. Indeed, not only are we facing manning changes but we
have yet to define and shape our future role as Armoured Cavalry. A question mark also still remains over our support to 16 Air Asslt Bde despite the Army’s emphasis on high readiness contingent operations and we still await a vehicle fit for the 21st Century ... but it was ever thus. Despite this uncertainty, there are far more positives: we are still manned by some of the finest soldiers and officers in the Army; we are still based in Windsor - so vital for our families and the Ceremonial/Operational nexus; Combermere has been well refurbished (courtesy of the QM, Maj Johnny Pass); the Regiment and its wider family are
well supported by the Foundation and during the next few years there should be more time available to allow soldiers and the families to return to a sustainable work life balance, with well resourced training, career courses and plenty of sports and adventure training. So, the Household Cavalry Regiment is in a good place: well resourced in talent and opportunity and with a strong operational reputation, the Regiment is well placed to make the very most the future has to offer.
s the regimental main effort centred on deploying on operations, the start of 2013 witnessed A Squadron glide towards a modern form of suspended animation. With RHQ and B Squadron deploying to Afghanistan and C Squadron to Canada, A Squadron provided the critical manpower to facilitate the regimental movement across the globe. Those from the Squadron left in England held vital rear party positions to ensure Combermere’s lights were left on. For those left back home, the year has not been dull. A Guard Force was sent to Cyprus to support units returning from Afghanistan; the nucleus of a tremendously successful Regimental Shooting Team was formed; close cooperation with D Squadron tasks with 16 Air Assault Brigade meant training was varied and vibrant; navigation exercises were conducted; and individual career courses and adventure training opportunities were exploited. There was no rest for A Squadron, despite the disappointment of not going on tour with the vanguard of the Regiment. Significant cohorts of the Squadron were selected to join B Squadron who formed the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) on HERRICK 18. Whilst much is written in this Journal on the experiences of the BRF, self evidently it took a regimental effort to ensure that the BRF was best equipped to deploy, and A Squadron played its part by providing some of their strongest and most capable soldiers to deploy once again to Afghanistan. The experiences that the Squadron personnel had on HERRICK 18 working to support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and helping to deliver security to Afghanistan, will ensure that they return to the Squadron fold in 2014 with a colossal understanding of surveillance, reconnaissance and
6 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
A Squadron soldiers in BATUS
specialist weapon systems. Their return will be most welcome and their unique skills sharpened in combat in Afghanistan will endure. Whilst operations raged in the East, a significant proportion of the Squadron deployed to Canada to take part in Exercise PRAIRIE STORM which consisted of low level crew training, then a gradual build up to Troop and Squadron training. This gave the Squadron another opportunity to ensure that their SOPs and drills were refined and that their knowledge of vehicle maintenance was at an outstanding level. There is a wide spectrum of Formation Reconnaissance soldiering knowledge within the Squadron, with some having served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan (the ‘old and bold’ in the Balkans), and other soldiers who have yet to cut their teeth on operations. Training in Canada helps
to ensure that, despite the wide range of experience and knowledge, all are able to practice getting the basics right, and that there is a common level of understanding of the nature of Formation Reconnaissance. Capably leading the charge of improving the Squadron’s small arms capability back in the UK was the SQMC, SCpl Sampson, who took 1 Tp to Castlemartin in support of D Squadron, after significant build up training in
On the water in Canada
Windsor. Scores were excellent and will provide a firm foundation for next year’s ranges. Dartmoor was witness to 1 Tp also deploying with D Squadron for an extensive navigation exercise and despite the inclement weather, which made for superb training, all those attending successfully completed both individual and team treks across the moors. Throughout the year, the Squadron has guaranteed that despite the high tempo, adventure training opportunities were exploited. Members of the Squadron have been sky diving, sailing, skiing, canoeing, rock climbing, orienteering and mountaineering.
A view of success in BATUS
There has also been a plan put in place to exploit further adventurous training opportunities, with a grand trip to Everest Base Camp in 2014. Over the year, there was a significant conceptual challenge that A Squadron was tasked to lead on in terms of preparing the HCR to realign itself within the new design of Army 2020. In the future, we can no longer assume that the Household Cavalry will be permanently engaged on an enduring stabilisation operation such as Iraq and Afghanistan and we are moving, both as a Squadron and a Regiment, to a structure and capability more suited to an adaptable posture enabling us to meet likely future threats. Consequently, A Squadron is well placed to start the beginning of 2014 on the front foot, with a clear understanding of their role and capabilities within the structure of Army 2020. Of most significance, in terms of personal, we say goodbye to WO2
hroughout 2013 B Squadron has been committed to training for and then deploying on Operation HERRICK 18 as the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) for 1 Mechanized Brigade. Whilst the BRF remained a HCR sub-unit, its capabilities were enhanced by augmentation from the 4 RIFLES Recce Platoon and Royal Engineers, Signals, Artillery, Military Police, Medical Corps and Intelligence Corp personnel. This mixture of cap-badges meant that right down to section level troops have been bolstered by a range of unique skill sets. The BRF was even lucky enough to recruit Lt CFAM Leigh from the Irish Guards to act as our Intelligence Officer.
in what was the Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) first ‘fighting season’ in the lead. BRF operations were often multi-faceted, in part providing support to the ANSF by disrupting insurgent activity in areas they could not routinely reach and also protecting ISAF troops by interdicting insurgent weapons systems and bomb-making material. This activity was described by some as ‘keeping a foot on the throat of the enemy’ in order to prevent his freedom to operate. In the latter stages of the tour this role continued, but with a greater emphasis on support to the realignment and closure of British bases in Helmand.
The early part of 2013 flew by with the BRF completing its final pre-deployment training serials and then, with barely time to catch our breath, the force deployed to Helmand Province. Following an excellent handover from the Queen’s Royal Lancers, the Squadron established itself in the BRF Compound in Camp Bastion ready to act as Commander Task Force Helmand’s principal reconnaissance, strike and quick-reaction force.
With the redeployment of the BRF’s vehicle fleet, the force relied predominantly on UK and US aviation for insertion onto target areas, but also worked with the Armoured Infantry and Warthog Group using them as a flanking force or for ground insertion or extrac-
Working to the Commanding Officer HCR in his role as Chief ISTAR, the BRF was kept busy throughout the summer
WO2 (SCM) Moses on resettlement!
(SCM) Moses after 22 years of service - a mainstay of the Squadron who will be missed by all. He is replaced by WO2 (SCM) Daley at the start of 2014 when the Squadron will return from the Christmas break to awaken from its short period of suspended animation, and find itself fully restored in terms of manpower, and firmly back on the regimental main effort.
tion. Throughout the tour the vagaries of helicopter support provided one of the greatest challenges, but helicopter insertion was always preferable to travelling in the back of a Warthog due to excessive summer heat, the risk of IED strikes and the loss of the element of surprise. Almost all operations were partnered with specialist elements of the ANSF and the BRF’s team of dedicated patrol interpreters. The professionalism of both these groups was hugely impressive and made the BRF’s missions considerably easier and safer. The
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 7
WO2 (SCM) McWhirter
force also had the opportunity to work alongside many other enablers and both UK and US Explosive Ordnance Disposal and High Risk Search teams stood out as particularly remarkable. Most operations, although controlled at Squadron level, involved individual troop target areas of interest with some mutual support. Formed into four troops, the BRF was able to cover a wide area in a short period of time with each troop further dividing tasks down to section or multiple level. Most BRF operations saw soldiers carrying 50kgs of equipment in temperatures of 45-50°C and routinely operating under enemy small arms fire. In these demanding conditions it was remarkable that sections of 8-10 men were still able to search for insurgent weapons and to recover significant tactical intelligence. As a result of these actions, multiple weapon systems were denied to the enemy and over 500kgs of homemade explosive and other IED components were destroyed. Undoubtedly, BRF operations had a significant effect on the ability of insurgents to operate. The nature of BRF operations placed a
heavy burden on troop and section level command, providing a remarkable opportunity for Household Cavalrymen and others to showcase the skills of dismounted reconnaissance and in particular to conduct ‘reconnaissance by force’ into some of the most pernicious areas of Helmand Province. The investment made by the Regiment in developing dismounted close combat skills definitely paid off, allowing the BRF to fight for information and overmatch the insurgent without difficulty.
The other outstanding feature of the tour was the potency of the BRF’s team of snipers and sharpshooters. With tight rules of engagement and a constant desire to minimise collateral damage, the sniper rifle was the weapon of choice both as a surveillance asset and to kill with precision out to as far as 1800m. The BRF returned home in late October buzzing with the experiences of HERRICK 18, but well aware that media emphasis has been on transition to Afghan security lead rather than the small numbers of British troops that are still actively patrolling and fighting. But without question, the BRF’s actions supported this overall process and much pride can be taken in a job well done. Following a well-earned period of rest and recuperation the BRF will disperse and B Squadron will reform as the Command and Support Squadron, with Surveillance Troop as its kernel. Many of its Household Cavalry members will move on to other Squadrons where they will be wellplaced to impart their BRF experience.
LCoH Sabatini relaxing
Many examples of remarkable soldiering and bravery stand out from the tour and may be formally recognised in due course, but it is instances when casualties were sustained that stand out most markedly. Good low-level patrolling
Capt Boyd-Thomas send a SITREP
8 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
skills unquestionably saved the BRF from sustaining more casualties, but on occasion accurate small-arms fire and the clever emplacement of antivehicle IEDs got the better of the force. In such situations it was inspiring to see how a well-trained force was able to respond almost instinctively under the direction of WO2 (SCM) McWhirter RHG/D. Tragically, on the BRF’s last operation LCpl Jay Brynin R Signals was killed by small arms fire in the type of contact often faced by the force.
In particular, B Squadron bids farewell to Capts C D T Talbot RHG/D, J A Mawson RHG/D, J Clive RHG/D and W E Boyd-Thomas RHG/D, SCpl Cawley RHG/D, and SCpl Woollaston RHG/D who moves on promotion to the Surveillance Reconnaissance Wing in Lydd.
BRF sniper in action
The Squadron, with our Light Dragoon counterparts, in BATUS
h what a year! Whether high or low, C Squadron has ‘been there, done it and gone back for more’; with the full range of military training, from basic skills to Brigade level combined arms live firing, and a huge number of adventure training opportunities whether on land, on water or in the sky. The year did not start well with the disappointing news that despite having completed and performed extremely well in all the Mission Specific Training, the Squadron was no longer required to deploy to Afghanistan, an early casualty of drastic reductions of British Forces in Helmand. Despite this, the Squadron saw it as an opportunity and
First aspect on which to refocus was basic core skills essential for Contingency Ops: living in the field and navigation; and where better to practice this than Dartmoor in February. Ex IRON SPIRIT was born. With all necessary pre-training done, we headed off for Okehampton Camp; LCoH Thomas has captured the event far better than I could in his article below; but in sum it was hard, and fun (sometimes…).
ski gear and headed off to Austria for Ex COCKNEY MONKEY (you wouldn’t have guessed it, but it was skiing in St Anton). All had a great time both on and off the slopes, LCoH Perry has written up their adventure on page 41 of the Journal. In the by now familiar C Squadron way, the skiers returned for one night in camp to again repack their bags for exercise and the next morning the whole Squadron was off to Longmoor on Ex IRON RISING to build on IRON SPIRIT and develop dismounted fieldcraft and fighting skills to rival the infantry; mission accomplished.
In camp overnight to thaw out before the lucky few repacked their bags with
Confirmation finally came in March that, to use our honed skills from the
immediately began to rethink the year ahead: we would more than make up for it with an intense programme of activity.
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 9
Lt Turnor and his Troop unphased by Dartmoor in February
Afghanistan training, the Squadron would be immediately transferred to 12 Mechanized Brigade (also in Tidworth) who needed a Recce Squadron for their ‘Lead Armoured Battle Group’ and its training deployment to BATUS. This renewed purpose gave everyone clear objectives to work towards, and despite a return to BATUS, the whole Squadron took to it with a smile. The programme would now be doubly busy with the completion of all our forecast adventure training and now with the training requirements for Canada. Back from leave, we learnt of the London District THROWDOWN championships (a gruelling crossfit challenge) and immediately formed a C Squadron team with minimal preparation to do battle. Imagine our surprise when the team, led by LCpl Shaw returned having beaten all comers! Well done. The Squadron had well earned a good Easter leave.
The Old Sea Dog: LCoH Dimbylow at the helm
The C Squadron ski team
10 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
During the one sunny moment of Ex IRON SPIRIT
April started with a MATTs week and a Squadron trip to the Household Cavalry Museum. To everyone’s surprise it was a gloriously sunny day and, having watched the inspection of the Queen’s Life Guard, we swarmed the HCav Museum before a race across town to the National Army Museum. Everyone who had served at HCMR (most) were to be heard recounting extraordinary stories of daring do and adventures from their time at ‘The Bridge’ to the enthralled (and somewhat gullible) remaining few. The next day, a lucky few went straight onto Germany for some Spring sailing, as you’ll see by the photos in LCoH Dimbylow’s article on page 27. May was even busier with adventure training, ranges and more adventure training back to back! A few headed off to Germany for the Basic Paragliding Course, with some very interesting results - most notably was CoH Wilkinson, who discovered that barbed wire fences provide a very poor choice of landing site as he limped back into Windsor! All the gory detail is in his excellent article below. ‘Meanwhile back at the farm’, the rest of the Squadron headed to the comparatively less exotic Castlemartin, thankfully the weather was kind and we completed our mandatory Scimitar firing with
excellent scores, and LCpl Shaw (having just done his B3 Gunnery course) was crowned top gun. Back to Windsor only just for Cavalry Sunday, we then headed off for Devon on Ex IRON WAVE. Many months ago, it was decreed that the whole Squadron would go surfing and so the Troop Leaders made it happen. It was an excellent week of surfing, mountain biking, golf and walking… and military doctrine lectures. The success of the week was due in large part to SCpl Bodycoat (SQMC) and his team who planned and carried out the logistics from a complex pick up and drop off plan to ensuring that we had enough tents. CoH McGuire has captured the week in his Exercise IRON WAVE article on page 47. A week back in Camp was all that there was to get everyone back from ‘fun mode’ into ‘fighting mode’ ahead of a demanding week in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) effectively fighting in a digital battlefield. This proved to be a fantastic event, culminating with a Squadron raid deep into enemy territory at night with multiple obstacle crossings followed by a fighting withdrawal in the face of the 3rd Shock Army. The Squadron had three days in
Victorious C Squadron THROWDOWN Team
The Squadron after a good day’s surfing
Windsor to celebrate the start of June before heading for Gatwick for our next adventure - Italy. In the same vain as the surfing, a challenging task was set to the Troop Leaders: put together a battlefield tour of Italy (with its good weather, food and wine … I mean history) and add in some adventure training to achieve the ultimate trip: Ex IRON DIADEM. Miraculously every obstacle was overcome and we were on our way to Cassino for 10 exciting days, studying in depth the many battles of Monte Cassino and mountain biking over the hills. Following our guide, Enzo (how could it not be), we discovered the wilderness, villages and vineyards of the Lazio region as well as making a number of cultural stops, notably being received by the Mayor of Scapoli and marking the opening of the town’s new WW2 museum as well as visiting a bagpipe museum and meeting numerous veterans/survivors in each village we passed. An afternoon in Rome was the perfect end to the trip. Not being a Squadron that wastes much time, on our return we had just one week back in Windsor to get back onto the vehicles and get ready for Ex IRON FURNACE. Let loose on Salisbury Plain, we had an intense programme of Troop training building up to Squadron ops and final testing by a number of force on force exercises which worked admirably and, combined with everyone’s enthusiasm for ‘doing our job in the field’, the Squadron reached a much higher standard than ever could have been expected. We returned to Windsor a well oiled machine ready for the challenges of BATUS. As August arrived, the Squadron returned from leave to hit the ground sprinting with only a week to get in all the final BATUS training. Still, the Squadron was able to deploy fully trained, highly motivated and in good order. By the time the main body arrived in Camp Crowfoot, the advance party lead by the SQMC and SSgt
C Squadron advancing across the Prairie
Oates (Artificer) had done an excellent job to get everything well set up, with both vehicles and equipment firmly in hand. Despite the fragile state of the CVR(T) fleet that has been permanently in pseudo-war since antiquity, the correspondingly Herculean efforts by all to get them in fighting state enabled us to deploy fully fit onto the vast expanse of the prairie for the new ‘longer and improved’ Ex PRAIRIE STORM 3, with now 37 days in the field. The additional week of independent Squadron training proved fantastic and we quickly built a fearsome team; culminating in a night raid to rescue some prisoners (Comd Offr and RSM of The Light Dragoons) with speed, synchronisation and agility which would have made ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ look like the sea cadets. We progressed to the excitement of the Live Firing ranges, building up to a Battle Group/Combined Arms live firing withdrawal; throughout this everyone worked hard and impressed every time. Of note, Support and GW Tps managed to perfect their dismounted actions, winning the highest accolades from the safety staff with excellent dismounted skills in the assault that would make the infantry proud. The weeks started to merge and August quickly turned into September and
then to October. The final part of the exercise was the TESEX (a giant game of ‘Laser Quest’), though with our morale, training and performance, the outcome was always going to be a foregone conclusion: we found without being discovered; we struck without being killed; and we infiltrated at will. And so, after 37 long days, having driven out of camp in August, it was well into October when we emerged from the dust to return to civilisation, but not before a final flourish of joy which left its mark on the Prairie. Every member of the Squadron had learned a huge amount, had done his job consistently to the highest standards and had kept a positive attitude throughout, nothing more could have been asked of them. A series of articles have been written chronicling the various experiences of this epic adventure; but it wasn’t all hard work in Canada as a number of the Squadron got away to do some fantastic adventure training (again, I hear you say…). After the traditionally epic handback of vehicles to BATUS, a monumental Squadron smoker and an excellent Fiji Day celebration in Camp Crowfoot, the Squadron gradually began to filter back to Windsor. This also marked the end of SCpl Bodycoat’s tenure as SQMC,
On yer bike! The battlefield study complete; the Squadron get ready for some cycling
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 11
taken away friendships, fond memories and valuable experiences. Similarly, we welcomed an equal number into the Squadron and these have already started to have an impact. November and December were the usual series of back to back events and dinners but most importantly for the The close knit C Squadron spirit Squadron, it has been having served the Squadron flawlessly a chance to settle into the routine through two BATUSs, Afghanistan of life in Windsor, something Training and a host of other G4 heavy that we had not had since March. events, we said goodbye to him as he headed off to the Trg Wing. In his place, Looking back on a very busy year, we welcomed SCpl ‘Lugs’ Allwood. the Squadron has excelled, and this Throughout the year we have also said despite the changes, disappointments goodbye to a number of Officers, NCOs and Troopers, many of them on their way to HCMR and a few to civilian life; they are too numerous to mention individually but they all brought something different to the Squadron throughout their time and have, I hope,
Oops! The Squadron leaves its mark on the Prairie
Lesson One: Never lend your CVR(T) to Sp Tp ... The crew pose in front of the Squadron Leader’s Spartan, having parked it on its side!
and challenges; they have ceaselessly impressed in every task and exercise due to every individual having shown a strong commitment and positive attitude, for which they have all earned my sincere thanks.
Into the sunset
013 was a busy year for D Squadron. Men and machine were held at very high readiness (five days notice to move) as part of the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), with possible deployments being trickle-fed down from Brigade at a constant rate. Like a coiled viper, D Squadron Leader, Maj R Ongaro, kept spirits high and never hesitated to hint to which part of the world his Squadron may deploy next. Syria and Mali both raised their ugly heads, but the political climate soon eliminated any possibility of deployment. Amongst the challenges was maintaining the aging fleet of CVR(T) at high readiness. Guided by SCM Eulert, the fleet required all the care and attention of the troop seniors. While this was difficult at times, the Squadron did deploy on two highly successful mounted exercises, returning to the basics of reconnaissance and scouting on the move. Ex MUSTANG RALLY 1 and 2, on Salis-
12 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
bury Plain and Thetford respectively, saw the Squadron battle with driving and maintenance in field conditions whilst sustaining a capable force to undertake covert recce and offensive strike action. The success of both of these exercises lies very firmly with the Fitter Section whose sheer hard work allowed the Squadron to do its job. A formative event of the year was the Squadron overseas training exercise (OTX) to Italy in March. Ex EAGLE’S EYE was a 16 Air Asslt Bde ISTAR concentration exercise involving recce elements from across the Brigade. Driven and executed by D Squadron, the exercise saw the full deployment of all four troops with SHQ in the dismounted role. Joined by attachments from across the brigade, including the Pathfinders, Royal Engineers, 3 PARA and Royal Signals, the Squadron Gp spent three weeks in the Italian mountains of central Italy training with the ‘Folgore’ or
‘Lightning’ Brigade; 16 Brigade’s Italian equivalent. Activities included live fire ranges, escape and evasion training (enthusiastically run by the Squadron Artificer), contact lanes, CASEVAC lanes, Close Quarter Marksmanship and Italian
The Squadron Leader takes aim at his Italian kin
D Squadron complete after the grueling final attack in Italy
jumps, earning members of D Squadron their Italian jump qualification. A highly successful sniper section run by CoH Bateman saw a high level exchange of skills between the British and Italian snipers, which proved to be useful for all.
The Squadron Artificer and CoH Francis share a light-hearted moment together
While the Squadron came together for the OTX and CT1 mounted and dismounted exercises, each troop also undertook a number of individual tasks throughout the year. 1 Troop, accompanied by the Squadron 2IC Capt R Horgan, found itself with 16 Brigade on Ex JOINT WARRIOR in sunny Scotland in April. This saw a return to contingency operations and training, now the primary task for D Squadron within the AATF. In conjunction with providing the mounted Brigade Recce element and working with French airborne troops, Lt J Carefoot found the time to undertake a detailed geological study of the inside of a quarry. A testament to 1 Troop’s D&M prowess, they conducted a 100 mile road move without breakdown half way across the country; a truly impressive feat.
The exercise culminated with the Squadron and all attachments working together. A night time, covert helicopter infiltration followed by a 22km tactical advance and a squadron deliberate attack across a 300-foot high ridge was another military classic. An enormously successful exercise, Ex EAGLE’S EYE not only consolidated the strong working relationship with our Italian counterparts, but also confirmed D Squadron’s excellence in reconnaissance, target acquisition, marksmanship and strike ability.
conditions and provided integral fire support and surveillance capability. Under the command of Lt S Dingsdale, the winter conditions melted away before his troop and the comforting sound of 30mm was heard in support of the advance.
2 Troop in Otterburn, on the point of signing off
3 Troop, perhaps luckiest of all, was sent on Ex EAGLE’S SHADOW to consolidate their already well developed dismounted reconnaissance skills. Lt J Churcher graciously led members of his troop, helping them develop the dismounted skills required of support troop.
The Squadron 2IC before his morning coffee
Lt Dingsdale briefs the next troop leader on enemy dispositions
2 Troop didn’t fair much better, and was sent to Otterburn with 2 PARA Battlegroup. While snow and ice proved challenging for the ‘hardy’ paras, CVR(T) made light work of the
CoH Hogg, in full swing, complete with FFD (incorrectly applied)
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 13
the three weeks with full marks - a true testament to the squadron gunnery instructors who worked tirelessly to get all up to scratch. Through all this, the Squadron found just enough time to let its hair down on an Adventurous Training week to Newquay. Coasteering, mountain biking, and surfing were all on the menu, (as was the local cider), which took the troops just far enough out of their comfort zone.
‘Standby for QBOs’
Finally, the ever-fortunate 4 Troop was dispatched on Ex FOLGORE, to once again work with our Italian partners this time on British soil. Under the leadership of Cpl Maj Allwood, the RWMIK troop trained the Italians hard, building
on the lessons learnt in Italy. Castlemartin played host to the annual gun camp, which highlighted the exceptional talents of the squadron gunners. Scores were high, and all completed
The year came to an end with a squadron NAVEX in Dartmoor to test the troops in arduous conditions. Starting from the very basics of navigation, all of the men progressed rapidly and were able to complete an individual timed NAVEX across the moors, with some outstanding results. To end on the happiest note, this remarkably busy and successful year was transcended by 13 promotions, 8 pregnancies and 1 marriage. The legacy of ‘DELTA’ squadron grows…
Headquarters Squadron by Major J P Core, The Life Guards
his year Headquarter Squadron has been split in two - Rear Operations Group (ROG) and the Brigade Troops Echelon (BTE) - both groups having been fully tested throughout the year. Majors Alex Michael and Jonny Pass commanded the ROG; I will leave it
to Major Pass to write about the work Headquarter Squadron and the ROG carried out while we were deployed on Op HERRICK 18. I will say however, the support the ROG gave throughout the tour was outstanding; always on the end of a telephone to answer our ques-
tions or pick up the fast balls we often gave them. The BTE is divided into two main departments, the J1 Cell with the Adjutant Captain Alex Owen and the RAO Captain Cerianne Duce, with their team of
Brigade Troop Echelon
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 15
four personnel and J4 cell with the QM Captain Ade Gardner with his team of 21 personnel. Before the Christmas and New Year 2012/13 leave, the BTE personnel’s main effort was to ensure that all MATTs training was completed and that we all took as much leave as possible as we knew that in the New Year it would be non-stop until we deployed. Throughout January, February and March all BTE personnel were catching up on courses required for Theatre, away on either Pre-Deployment Training or Mission Specific Training, we also carried out real life support to B Squadron who were also deploying on Op HERRICK 18. January also saw the departure of LCsoH Knight and Nardini as the BTE’s Continuity NCOs. By the middle of March the pre-advance party consisting of the QM Capt Ade Gardner and WO2s Ireland and Aston had also deployed. After some well-deserved leave the remainder of the BTE were all in Theatre by end of March.
met by WO2 Aston who played the part of MTWO, Corporal Major and Liaison Officer for all training and Theatre acclimatisation packages. It was great for us to meet up with our fellow Household Cavalrymen and finally have all BTE personnel together again. Once we were all back together at Camp Bastion we were fully briefed on the present situation we faced and the enormous task that we were going to face for the next six months. The Mission for the BTE was to support and sustain all sub units under administrative control of the ISTAR Group, in order to set the conditions for operational success. Initially, the BTE were to have responsibility for the administrative and logistic support to 1,300 soldiers and nine sub units in Task Force Helmand (TFH). However, due to base closures and reconfiguration of units and accounts within TFH, this had increased to over 1600 soldiers and 11 sub units, with an increased amount of vehicle platforms, equipment and extra accounts by the end of the tour.
Our journey to Camp Bastion was not as straightforward and stress-free as we would have hoped. Like the two recces we had already completed, we had the mandated fourteen hour delay, without ever finding out why we were being delayed. At our final destination we were
of us in the BTE when we were informed that we wouldn’t have a delivery of ice cream for at least six weeks, a situation that Captain Alex Owen named Ripple Gate. It’s something we just don’t like to talk about nowadays. Throughout the six months both J1 and J4 cells were excellent. They ensured that the units had clear direction and an understanding of what was required at all times, support to the Brigade never waivered, no matter what the tasking was or location of the event. Their planning and organising capabilities were thoroughly tested and never found wanting.
QM Capt Ade Gardner and Padre Nigel Kinsella following their Half Marathon
On a personal note, as this will be my last ever tour, I would like to thank all personnel that worked for the BTE, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.
Capt Cerianne Duce and Lt Hannah Lackenby on completion of handover, takeover of the RAO’s Department
Rose, Major Core and Capt Alex Owen improving their skills and drills
During the tour there were many highs and lows, too many to mention now, but what I will say is that a six month tour allows everyone time to get into a gym for Op Massive, unfortunately not everyone took this opportunity and preferred to Op Massive in the cookhouse. It also came as an incredible shock to all
Finally, the past 12 months have seen the Squadron say goodbye to a number of people and welcome many others due to postings, completion of service and redundancy. They are too many to mention all by name, however, it would be remiss of us as a Squadron not to say goodbye to WO2 Forsdick, SCpl Pettipher, CoH Bridges and CoH Lindsay who have all completed 22 years or more of service to the Household Cavalry Regiments. On behalf of the Squadron, I would like to thank them for all their hard work, loyal service and wish them all good luck with their future civilian or military careers.
by Padre Nigel Kinsella
nother busy year for the Chaplains in the Regiment, with a steady stream of baptisms and weddings in the Guards Chapel and Holy Trinity church in Windsor. Two excellent welfare teams in Knightsbridge and Windsor helped to provide gold standard pastoral support to the regiment.
16 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
The beginning of the year saw the Windsor focus move towards deployment, with a number of family’s briefs and last minute training for Padre Kinsella. A padre trained as a team medic - a terrifying thought. Padre Kinsella deployed to Afghanistan
in May as Bastion Co-ordinating chaplain looking after 1,700 troops. The first few days were interesting as the temperature was 45 degrees, causing a large consumption of water; seven litres drunk in one morning. Movement around camp was difficult especially trying to cover such a large
area. Initially the padre’s pedal cycle was used with the ever visible slogan ‘Peace be with you’. This was meant more as a thief deterrent than any deep faith nudge. After a few weeks of this demanding fitness endeavour, Padre Kinsella was enrolled on a quad bike course. This was more terrifying than a padre as a team medic. Following successful completion, duties were then conducted on a quad bike with attached angel wings. The wings certainly raised a few smiles whilst cruising around the camp.
The God Quad!
Chaplaincy was busy in Afghanistan with a continual stream of pastoral issues, a well attended faith seekers course and a number of people coming forward to be baptised. Faith was very much alive and central to a lot of people whilst on tour. Those on operations can sometimes forget how hard life is for those at home, and how normal day to day occurrences carry on. It was with sadness that the news of CoH Paul Faiers death in Windsor Barracks passed
Vigil for CoH Faiers
back to those in theatre. A fitting vigil service was held in Bastion, reminding everyone of the precious nature of life. Back in Knightsbridge, the ever faithful Padre Bill Beaver kept chaplaincy alive, having recently returned from a short loan to Wellington Barracks. In Windsor support was provided by Padre Matt Coles from Coldstream Guards. Both did an admirable job, keeping up with the demands of the rear operation group and the constant tasking by London District. No sooner had everyone safely returned from Afghanistan than the Christmas carol season was upon us. Carols services were held in Knightsbridge and Windsor, both with excellent attendance and strong singing. Padre Beaver led a wonderful carol service in the Guards Chapel which he organised on behalf of the Household Cavalry Foundation and hopefully this will become a frequent occurrence.
by Corporal of Horse Graham-Green, The Blues and Royals
nother year has passed and the horrors of BATUS have almost been forgotten. Command Troop has not reached a point where we can joke about the camnet, but I am sure it is only a matter of time. Jokes about checking tentage no longer result in me being ejected from the hanger, but simply expletives being uttered in my direction, always a good sign of progress. The farewells have been many, and the ‘handing over of the pressels’ has seen a shift at all levels within the troop. Capt Spencer Taylor, a Command Troop lifer, has finally had to say goodbye and has handed over to the ‘young blood’ of Capt Mike Wilmot. WO2 Mark Santi has handed over to WO2 Paul Carrington as RSWO, much to the glee of the latter (we are not sure if WO2 Santi gave him the pressel, or if WO2 Carrington took it). CoH Daniel Sentance has risen up to become H18 RSWO and HCR BSM, and has handed his desk back to a very pleased, newly promoted Regt Sigs CoH Lee Minto. The shift within the hierarchy has ensured that, by recruiting from within, that the corporate experience that often proves to be Command Troop’s guiding light has not been lost. The disruption has been minimal. The new troop leader has proven to be a good choice and his friendly character, fearless leadership, and youthful impetuousness has brought a good dynamic to the Troop. The junior ranks, the backbone of the
The Command Troop at Windsor
Troop, must not be forgotten. Nearly all of the LCsoH have survived the recent ‘purges and trawls’ and the hanger still remains devoid of any full screws in coveralls. Though the recently promoted LCoH James Archer has not caught onto this ‘tradition’ yet, his ruthless and rather grumpy peer group will, I am sure, set him straight! The only departed LCoH was LCoH John Martin, who moved to a very different role within the NATO training mission in the Afghan uniformed police training centre, a credit to him to change so easily to such a different role - one in which he excelled. The changes within the Tprs/LCpls have been many, and Command Troop has seen the promotion of LCpl James
Archer, a self proclaimed future BSM/ RSO. LCpl ‘Gerry’ Sinclair has returned from his escape onto the H18 TACP, hopefully to never leave the troop again. LCpl ‘Shagger’ Harrison-Shaw has remained, the true champion of the hanger, though we are sure the asbestos will get him one day. LCpl ‘Benny’ Smith has managed to finally escape, and has been doing good work with 1RHA in the TACP community, no doubt now thinking that ‘limacharlie’ is an acceptable term to use on a Battlegroup net. LCpl ‘Hawkeye’ Hawkshaw has now made the jump to civilian life. LCpl Recce Foran is on a temporary loan to the HCR welfare team (that’s right you are still on the books, so don’t get too comfy). LCpl ‘Silky’ Silk has now moved permanently
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 17
troop within the Regiment. The latest arrivals from around the Regiment and HCMR, LCpls Smith and Gasan, and Tprs Smith, Whitworth, and Baker are settling in well and our future looks bright.
to MT Tp, and LCpl Adam Creagh is eagerly awaiting his forthcoming jump into civilian life. We have also lost some of our unsung heroes; the drivers, too many to mention went back to the Sqns and to the BRF, and we have supplied some very capable, and some very bright stars for the future to the BRF and C and A Squadrons. The troop was very well trained for H18, and it is an unfortunate by-product of the drawdown that we did not deploy in our entirety. The Commanding Officer’s TAC was kept ready, but did not deploy. Despite being armed at a scale that could have launched an intervention in a small African state (and still maintain comms). So a smaller Command Troop, filling a number of specialist roles was sent. WO2 Sentance became the RSWO for H18, CoH Graham-Green became the ISTAR IM/ IX, LCoH Morgan the BTE Bowman storeman, LCoH Knight the BTE ECM storeman, LCpl Harrision-Shaw the BTE Bowman liaison storeman, LCpl Sinclair the HCR TACP signaller in TSU NadAli, and not to forget the beloved troop leader, Capt Mike Wilmot in a very different role as an ISTAR Operations Officer in TFH HQ. The H18 Command Troop, yet split between numerous locations, was reunited for the last two months of the tour in Camp Bastion. The accomplishments of Command Troop personnel in Helmand were many, playing a pivotal role in building two new Battlegroup Headquarters, supporting CIS for over 1,200 troops, training Afghan police, and providing the link to critical air assets. This led to our soldiers being a credit to TFH HQ, the BTE and TSU NDA. Strong dynamic
LCoH Morgan at Camp Bastion
and well trained individuals that settled well into their respective roles, has shown the calibre of the soldiers that the troop provides; strengths that have grown through constant development and honing of many different skills, all in an environment that only a strong and capable, yet nurturing hierarchy can deliver. After another year, Command Troop remains as strong and flexible as it has ever been. It continues the tradition of moulding Staff Officers, snipers, intelligence specialists, communication experts, support weapons specialists and information technology experts into the largest and most dynamic
But what of the author I hear you ask? Well after the shortest stab at the commissioning course that RMAS has ever seen (Junior term week 2) I also shall take the jump into civilian life, and emigrate to Canada (unfortunately without my beloved camnet, though SCpl Sentance has promised to visit it). Something I would not be referring to so flippantly if it was not for my experiences in the Troop in the last two years. The confidence, strength of character, technical skills, and much more I have learnt in the Troop will serve me very well through life. I would encourage all within the Regiment who are bored within their current roles or simply fancy a change to consider Command Troop, you also do fewer guards, and they hardly ever post anyone from the Troop to Knightsbridge!
On the ranges on HERRICK 18
Light Aid Detachment by Captain H Morse REME
he Light Aid Detachment (LAD) has spent 2013 in a state of poised excitement; poised for the next change and excited for the next challenge. It is no exaggeration to say this has been a very busy year with Op HERRICK 18, the BATUS Interim Light Armoured Battlegroup and Air Assault Task Force commitments too. The LAD has continued with decentralised fitter sections following the Squadrons in all that they do. The LAD has seen a command change from Capt J Anthistle (now Adjt 4CS Bn REME) to Capt H Morse (from 7AA Bn REME). The LAD continues to regroup for leadership days, adventurous training exercises and LAD outings of an educational nature such as the tour of Windsor Castle and the brewery.
18 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
On 2nd June 2013, the LAD deployed to Weymouth for a week long adventure training package which contained, to everyone’s disbelief, an 11 mile hill walk (unless you were in the ASM’s group which meant 17 miles, unlucky for some). Also on the list of activities was mountain biking, rock climbing and coasteering. Coasteering was by far the most fun and newest to most of the LAD. This is a combination of rock climbing and cliff jumping.
LAD Brewery visit
Owing to the fact that we were going to be swimming in the sea we required
The Knights rampant of the Spanner School
wetsuits and life jackets. LCpl R Allen “Big Richie” tried to put his life jacket on underneath his wetsuit in an attempt to look even bigger. As a group we jumped from a variety of heights up to about 30ft. A good week was had by all, finishing with a relaxed BBQ and a midweek trip to the Weymouth nightlife.
On 30th October 2013, the LAD command team held a leadership day to push the young Cfn, LCpls and Cpls of the LAD towards Artificer selection. The morning was cerebrally focussed consisting of group discussions, command tasks, logic puzzles and scenario dilemmas. The afternoon was more grit, determination and fitness with an individual assault course and a gun run team assault course. This was a great day for team bonding and uniting the LAD. On 16th November 2013, the LAD set off from Windsor on a long and tiring journey to the Stubai Glacier for a weeks snowboarding on Ex SUPREME GLACIER, the REME race training camp. This would have gone without hitch if
LCpl D Worley hadn’t left his passport back at home in Manchester as the Ex departed. 18 hours later the group finally arrived in Austria, settled into the accommodation and picked up all the hire equipment. The exercise was now progressing as planned and everyone was enjoying being back on snow, be that on a board or skis. This was until after a mammoth supermarket shop the group returned home to find no freezer for all the frozen goods. In true engineering style a makeshift freezer out in the front garden with snow and ice was produced. Ray Mears would have been proud. This was an excellent training week and will hopefully propel the LAD team for silverware in the REME race championships in March 2014. 2014 promises to be equally busy but no less fun.
Coasteering or drowning?
Quartermaster’s Department by Major J Pass
n the three years that the Quartermaster has been in post, this year has been by far the busiest and one that has seen him take on the roles of HQ Sqn Ldr, OC ROG and QM(T) whilst the Regiment had it’s commitments to H18. WO2 (RQMC) Ireland, LCoH Solis and LCpl Bremner deployed on H18 forming part
of the Brigade Troops Echelon, each of them did a tremendous amount of work performing to an exceptional standard, it’s good to see them safely returned and back in the Department. Photo 1 ‘Old & Bold’ Quartermaster Maj J Pass & SCpl Goater after Command Officers PT
For the remainder of the QMs Dept, the kinetic pace continued and after the initial deployment had been smoothly facilitated, the main focus then switched to those remaining back in the UK, namely C & D Squadrons and the ROG. This period became very turbulent with
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 19
LCpl Scheepers moved to HCMR and Tpr Shaw moved to takeover the facility in Windsor, assisted by Tpr Green. CoH Johnson, LCpl Woodward and Tpr Blower have continued to maintain the vast amount of accommodation on site, as SLAM’s seven year contract comes to an end.
‘Old & Bold’ Quartermaster Maj J Pass and SCpl Goater after Command Officers PT
the announcement of Tranche 3 redundancies which for the most part saw many G4 staff affected. Unfortunately, within the department LCpl Kemp and LCpl Quinn, both volunteers, were selected, both long standing and key regimental account holders. Their corporate knowledge, professionalism and characters will be greatly missed; however we wish them and their families all the very best for the future. To mitigate these losses LCpl Elder stepped up and has now become the regimental clothing storeman and in the summer LCoH Broxholme returned from Cyprus after three years with his family and assumed the key role as ammunition storeman. The Tailors Shop also saw a change of personalities as
The Army Basing Plan was announced early summer and as a result the Household Cavalry will remain in Combermere Barracks for the foreseeable future. As the regiment moves to contingency operations, infrastructure projects in support of the regiments re-alignment to an Armoured Cavalry unit have seen the Operational Loading Area (the square) completed, this is a significant piece of real estate that the regiment has not had for over seven years and which has already seen much use, including squadron and regimental parades to large formations for the Windsor State Visits. A majority of the road surfaces around site have been renewed along with improvements to the POL area, Medical Centre, Training Wing and
The New Square ‘in action’
Guardroom. 2014 will see some major changes to the logistical departments, these will include 1st line optimization which will see the inclusion of four personnel from the Royal Logistical Corps (RLC) embedded within the departments. HCR will also undergo the conversion from UNICOM to the Multi Joint Deployed Inventory (MJDI) system for accounting; this will help improve supply, accounting and efficiency. It has been a demanding year for all members of the Quartermasters team but service delivery, logistic support and supply have ensured the regiment has remained combat effective. As usual our thanks go to the wider support and assistance given by our civil service staff, site contractors (Sodexo and PRiDE) and DIO, all of whom have contributed to the continued success of the Regiment.
‘QMs Riding School’ LCpl Woodward, LCpl Quinn, Tpr Blower and Tpr Rigby sitting deep
Quartermaster (Equipment) Department
by Captain A C Gardner, The Blues and Royals
nce more this, as with previous years, proved to be an extremely busy period for the department. As we finished supporting the mission and pre-deployment training for the Regiment, we began to split the department down the middle ready for half to deploy on Op HERRICK 18, and half to provide continued support to the majority of the Regiment that remained in Windsor. In early March, the QM(T) and a small advance team deployed to theatre to begin the Regiment’s takeover of the Brigade Troops Echelon (BTE) from the QRL. This was soon bolstered with the remainder of the team arriving a cou-
ple of weeks later to complete the final handover of responsibilities. Thus begun an extremely busy job in theatre supporting the Brigade’s ma-
The BTE hard at work, HERRICK 18
noeuvre Sub Units including Batteries from 5 Regt and 47 Regt RA. The ET was headed up by WO2 (RQMC (T) Pete Ireland with CoH ‘Evo’ Evans, and his vast knowledge of Unicom and all things ET, keeping this massive account in Check. The Main accounts were looked after by WO2 (RQMC) Johnny Curran from 2 SCOTS. He was supported in both morale and artistry by ‘Sol’ (LCoH Solis) who looked after the Ammunition, Morphine and MSA Accounts. ‘Morgs & Knighty’ (LCoH Morgan & Knight) held the Bowman & ECM Accounts in check which are no mean feats on themselves and CoH Bond had the un-envious role of keeping the vehicles
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 21
A lot was certainly learnt throughout the tour as Cavalrymen adapted, overcame and supported the Brigade through a host of different organisations and equipment variants. All BTE members did a sterling job during H18 and, with the support of our Logistic Support Team (LST), we managed to keep this beast of an organisation, some 1600 personnel, 200 Vehicles and other The RSWO and LCoH Knight on the ranges, Afghanistan equipments, in line and equipped with spares, which included have now, with luck, assisted in the clothe Warrior Company by the end of sure of this Operation in the near future. the tour. The small MT team headed up firstly by WO2 Tim Aston and then Those members of the department in by Jaworski kept all things mechaniWindsor were key to the overall succal in order with some impressive LSI cess of this department throughout the Reports being written. The MT SNCO year, providing support to the other CoH Benny Benson soon became the expert on redeployment. Managing this and containing his ‘flappable’ nature, he kept up the team’s morale on the Volleyball court on the odd occasion that the QM(T) lifted the ban on fun.
CoH Darren Bond on HERRICK 18
Squadrons throughout the period as well as the needy BTE in theatre. CoH Sticky Stay was the glue in the department holding things together with the QM and providing that much needed assurance, with the Regiments ET. With Harry Ramsden keeping the spares moving and the repair process in check throughout this time. The department welcomed LCpl Watson from the post bunk and Tpr Green to the team who have stepped up quickly to the mark, with much needed support. We now look forward to the Regiment converting to the new stores system in 2014. With ‘MJDI’ replacing the dated UNICOM that we have all come to love and hate, plus 1st Line optimisation upon us, where we will have integral RLC Cap badged soldiers to join the team for the first time.
The sun sets over BTE and Camp 251 in Bastion
Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess by Warrant Officer Class 1 (RCM) B K Gibson
he start of 2013 was celebrated in usual style with the Mess holding a New Year’s disco; the Mess was full to capacity with both serving and past members of the Mess attending. The highlight of the evening was watching the RCM (WO1 SK Fry MC) fireworks display, with him personally lighting all the fireworks, on some occasions not fully conforming to the firework code. March saw the appointment of WO1 BK Gibson as the new RCM, with his first official mess function being the State of the Nation dinner night. Regimental commitments being as busy as ever, meant the event was held somewhat later than usual in March. The RCM invited the Commanding Officer Lt Col J P Eyre into the Mess to address members on the forthcoming year. The function is traditionally a formal Regimental dinner night and this year was no exception with over one hundred Mess members
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in attendance. The evening provided a platform for the Commanding Officer to deliver his key message for the year ahead. Formalities over, the Mess members retired to the bar area where discussion on the topics covered continued long into the night. Owing to regimental commitments, not least an operational tour, the Mess diary became very quiet with only a smattering of private function keeping the Mess manager and his staff busy. That said, one key event which still took place was the annual Mess day out at Epsom racecourse for the Derby. Headed up by WO2 Steve Parker and a team of soldiers from across the Regiment, the day was an overriding success, with plenty of sun, entertainment and money won and lost. By the end of November the Squadrons will have returned from their various
tasks and the Regiment will roll into what promises to be a very busy end to a very busy year. Events planned include a Winter Ball, Freedom of Windsor Parade, Medals Parade, Regimental Carol Concert and of course the centrepiece of the festive season, Brickhanging, with all five Squadrons in attendance. The senior Mess Members are: WO1 (RCM) B K Gibson, WO1 (ASM) N Wright, WO1 (BM) I Collin, WO2 (RQMC) M Ireland, WO2 (RQMC(T)) P Ireland, WO2 (AQMS) S Oldrid, WO2 (RAWO) L Johnson, WO2 (SCM) J Moses, WO2 (SCM) S McWhirter, WO2 (SCM) S Parker, WO2 (SCM) C Eulert, WO2 (SCM) D Daley, WO2 (RSWO) P Carrington, WO2 (BCM) S Marsh.
The Band of The Blues and Royals by Lance Corporal of Horse Wootten
anuary is the coldest time of the year in the UK and Snowdonia is one of the wettest, so, on our return from Christmas leave, it seemed like an ideal time for the band to set off to Capel Curig Joint Services Adventurous Training Centre in the heart of Snowdonia for a week of mountain hill walking (for most of the band) and kayaking (for four ‘paddlers’). Luckily we have three mountain leader-trained members of the band - CoH Rowe, LCoH Roberts and LCpl Gibson - and they used their extensive experience to put together a challenging and enjoyable programme of mountain walks that made the best of the quite extreme weather conditions. Meanwhile, on the ice-cold waters of Snowdonia’s lakes, and later on the Menai Straits, our intrepid kayakers all succeeded in completing their K2F kayaking foundation course. No sooner had we thawed out from our Snowdonia excursion, we were into a fairly normal run of public duties providing musical support for the Changing of the Guard ceremonies at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. In mid-March we got a break from marching as we prepared for our first mounted duty of the year - the Major General’s Inspection of the Mounted Regiment switched from Hyde Park to Horse Guards, in which, alongside the Band of The Life Guards we gave a wellrehearsed and befittingly first-class performance. By late April, in preparation for the State Visit of the United Arab Emirates, the temporary stables had been
SCpl Kent during the United Arab Emirates State Visit
erected at Windsor, and it was time for us to pick up the pitchforks and shovels and “get down the yard”. With such breadth of equine experience and good humour across all ranks in the band, our yard ran professionally and efficiently and it goes without saying that our performance in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle was equally professional. Following our usual hectic summer ceremonial season, and some well-earned leave, we were extremely fortunate to have two short, high-profile overseas tours in September. We were the VIP band at the Deutschland Military Tattoo at the Schalke Stadium, and later the same month we travelled to Luzern as guests of honour at the World Band Festival, Luzern, and managed to fit in a gala concert in the alpine village (and cultural centre) of Gstaad on the way.
via ferrata) and they have the pictures to prove it! More recently, very well-received performances have led us to become something of the ‘house band’ at Wembley Stadium, where we played at England’s international match with Poland and were subsequently invited back for the matches with Chile and Germany. We also made a return visit to ITV’s Southbank Studios for a pre-recorded performance on the Alan Titchmarsh Show in November to mark the 65th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales. The reason that our television appearance had to be pre-recorded was that on the actual day, we were providing musical support for The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery 41-gun salute in Hyde Park (apparently the first time a non-Royal Artillery band has performed this role). We were also honoured to be asked to support London Poppy Day by playing to commuters at Waterloo, Liverpool Street and Paddington stations on a day which raised in excess of £850,000 for the British Legion Poppy Appeal across London.
WO2 (BCM) Marsh in action at the Deutschland Tattoo, Schalke
No sooner had we returned from Germany, and shortly before we packed our instruments for Switzerland, we prepared ourselves for another adventurous training exercise, this time to the mountains around Sondhofen in Bavaria. Whilst most of the band opted for the hill walking option, a few fearless climbers opted for something a little more challenging on the Klettersteig (or
LCpl Wrighton scales the Klettersteig
Of course, members of the band continue to make valuable contributions to various Army-wide musical ensembles. Our solo flautist, LCpl Crofts, and horn player, LCpl Summerfield, both continue to play violin with the Corps of Army Music Sinfonietta and played at the Festival of Remembrance, whilst LCoH Garner and LCpl Gibson play baritone saxophone and tenor trombone respectively, with both the Army and Household Division Big Bands. LCpl Miller, an All-Arms Physical Training Instructor within the band continues his success as a long-distance athlete, winning the Swallowfield, Staines and Wargrave 10K races, and finishing fourth in the Windsor half-marathon in a field of world-class athletes. We were pleased to welcome two new members to the Band, both of whom arrived after completing their Phase 2 training at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. Musn Villacarlos joins us on oboe and Musn Robinson augments our fine saxophone section. Farewell and good luck to Musn Tingley and CoH Forsyth, both of whom left the band in the summer to move on to pastures new in East Anglia and Scotland respectively. Congratulations are in order to CoH Screen and Flic on the birth of their son Toby on 7th November, and also to LCpl May and Hannah on their
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announcement that their first child is due in April 2014. We bid a sad farewell to our Director of Music, Maj Jason Griffiths, who has led us on horseback, on foot and in concert at some truly spectacular events at home and abroad and without doubt enabled us to ‘raise the bar’ for British Military bands; we wish him well in his new role within the Corps of Army Music as the Personnel Desk Officer at APC Glasgow which he commences in February 2014. We welcome our new Director of Music, Captain David Hammond who will be taking over the reins once he’s completed his equitation course. This is likely the last time a diary from The Band of The Blues and Royals will appear in a Household Cavalry Journal, since in April 2014, as part of the re-organisation of the Corps of Army Music, the band will merge with The Band of The Life Guards to form a 64-piece symphonic wind band at a location within London District yet to be decided - this will be the biggest band in the Army. The newly formed
Providing musical support for The Queen’s Life Guard
band will specialise in the delivery of musical support to state ceremonial, public duties and traditional heritage music as well as providing a mounted band. Clearly, the coming months will
present challenges and obstacles which, as always we will resolve sensibly and constructively with our usual goodhumour and high morale - watch this space!
HCR Physical Training by Staff Sergeant Noteyoung RAPTCI
espite the majority of the Regiment being away on H18 and BATUS, 2013 has been an extremely busy year in terms of Physical Development (PD). As the Army moves into contingency it brings with it a great deal of uncertainty about the challenges that lay ahead. In order to prepare for such uncertainty, a shift in the approach to Physical Training (PT) was imperative. General physical preparedness is key for the unknown. Those recently back from Operations and other tasks have been introduced to a modern concept of training which sees exercise being much more varied with emphasis on functionality, plenty of high intensity and just something different to the norm. This is in preparation for a full Regimental Fitness
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Training Program in 2014. In support of the training, the gym has undergone extensive and much needed changes, introducing some of the most modern functional training equipment on the current market and making the gym, a facility worthy of being part of the HCR. In addition to mainstream PT, the Regiment has been focused on supporting those soldiers that have incurred injuries (operational and general) back to full fitness. With both a Physiotherapist and Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor (ERI), working in unison with the PTIs to provide structured, focused and progressive treatment and training, the future prospects of those injured Household Cavalrymen is looking bright.
Lastly but certainly not least, is the subject of Sport. The HCR played host (alongside Victoria Barracks) to the 2013 Londist GOC’s Cup and despite having only a fraction of the personnel to choose from in comparison to the other competing Regiments, the HCR were able to participate in all sports and did extremely well; only narrowly missing out on third position overall. The Regiment is not yet back to full capacity, however sport is already beginning to develop with sports such as football and rugby already established and off to a good start in the season. The reinvigoration of sport is high on the 2014 agenda and the opportunities to participate in a multitude of sports regularly makes for an exciting year ahead.
Martial Arts at the Regiment: A Year in Review by Mr Aftab Hussain
o some, Martial Arts in the Regiment merely means a night in, watching Martial Arts DVDs. To others, it’s a fine craft, involving hard work and endless hours trying to promote Martial Arts and fighting spirit. 2013 in terms of Army Taekwondo (TKD) has been possibly one of the busiest in the history of the sport within the British Army, as such writing for the Journal it is only possible to provide a summary of some highlights of the year. In March the Army held its annual Martial Arts Championships, which saw Mr Hussain manage a very busy Full Contact Taekwondo event (whilst talent spotting for future potential). It was so busy for Mr Hussain, that he didn’t notice the same event, and on another ring LCoH Stock from HCMR not only took part in the Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) event but he stormed through the competition and claimed a Gold Medal - thus becoming the BJJ Army Champion for the year.
What it’s like in the ring!
CDK 2013 Team
sports training, but under the expert tuition and guidance of real Taekwondo Masters everyone trained hard and got themselves into fight fit form. The Inter-Services Martial Arts competition had some really action packed, high octane matches in the ring, as there was no love between the Army and RN/RM during the bouts. The Army won overall in nearly all of the core Martial Arts Disciplines (ITF, WTF, Karate, Kendo). ‘Champion’ as HRH Prince William would probably say. Special thanks goes to Tpr Clinton Green of the QMT Dept, for volunteering to become the official photographer of the event. After Summer Leave, Mr Hussain organised and delivered the Army’s first
The next event after the Army MA Championships was the Chungdokwan Nationals in Bracknell, on a rather cold wintery day in April. The 10 man team, consisting of a variety of Soldiers from across the Army, led and trained by Mr Hussain, won ten medals, including four Gold and the best player award. During the summer, the next priority for Mr Hussain was to prepare an entirely new Army TKD team for the coveted Inter-Services Championships which were due to be take place in mid-July. Inter-Services Squad Training itself was on possibly one of the hottest weeks of the year since records began. Not ideal for seven hours of physical combat
official WTF Taekwondo Skills Course at Combermere Barracks and, as usual, put in a few surprises for the course attendees, like a former ROK Army Hapkido specialist and CQC training. The Army Winter Competition which was held on the 19th October saw Tpr Parish clinch a Silver Medal for Taekwondo in the Colour Belt Poomsae category, whilst Mr Hussain took a Bronze in the Black Belt division and LCoH Stock also claimed a Silver medal in the BJJ. Mr Hussain was also awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Army Martial Arts Association, in a presentation at the closing ceremony for the tireless work that he has done behind the scenes over the last three years in promoting and developing both WTF Taekwondo in the Army and indeed the work of the Army Martial Arts Association. Any Soldier or Officer who is interested in learning or taking part in Martial Arts at Unit, Core or Army Level should contact either Mr Aftab Hussain at HCR or Maj Stewart at HCMR.
Mr Hussain Poomsae
Army Courses held at HCR
“Arch or you’ll die”: Exercise FAST AIR - BATUS 13 by Lance Corporal of Horse Hulatt
verall, 2013 has been an excellent year for C Squadron to take part in Adventurous Training (AT). I started the year with a week skiing in Austria,
then a week in Devon which involved various activities from hill walking to surfing, paragliding in Germany for one week, then to Italy for a battlefield tour
combined with cycling. There have been other opportunities within the Squadron such as sailing, and mountain bike courses. When I was asked what AT I
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 25
wanted to do when I got to BATUS, I knew I wanted to finish off the year with a high and do something I’ve always wanted to do. A sky dive! When I was asked around July time, I was slightly put off by the rumours of past experiences that have happened at the sky diving centre in Alberta, but I had full trust in the system and I knew this would be a once in a life time opportunity.
BEFORE: LCoH Hulatt, LCpl Veramu and Tpr Forster looking supremely confident when on the ground
During the first week on our arrival to BATUS, Tprs and JNCOs were asked to confirm if we still wanted to do the chosen activity. LCpls Veramu, Murphy, Murray, and Tprs Caven, Forster, Little and I were made to attend a skydiving medical on the day to make sure we were fit enough (and not too heavy) to sky dive. We all passed the medical, along with Caven who worried he might have been too heavy to sky dive, and made the three hour journey to Alberta Sky Divers the same day. The minute we got there we were shown the mandatory Army AT video which shows why the Army still invest so much money in AT and why it is important to our training. After the short video and brief, we were introduced to one of four instruc-
tors, Terry who I thought, quite frankly, after most of his life sky diving clearly had a screw loose! We wasted no time on the second day with ground training. We all had our group instructors and my instructor went by the name of ‘Hooch’, an ex Canadian infanteer who left the Army and wanted to carry on doing what he loved full time. He had a very calm manner and was very approachable. Exactly what I needed so I could ask embarrassing and what I thought were stupid questions. He firstly showed us how the actual parachute worked and how it was constructed. At this point it was quite important, as there were a lot of nervous faces (including mine) just simply because we didn’t know how it was made and what excellent safety features the parachute pack had in case of that extremely small chance where there might have been equipment failure. After mid-morning we started on the sequences for climbing out on to the wing strut and the word ARCH! The body position which is drilled into you from day one which not only helps you with the aero-dynamics when you are in the air, but also helps the parachute deploy better. The common quote from the instructors was, “ARCH or you’ll die”! After hearing that, everyone was practicing the arch every spare minute. After lunch we went through how to steer the parachute, which was identical to paragliding, and practiced the sequence for climbing out onto the wing strut on an old fuselage of a similar type of plane. We started the second day after a nervous nights sleep in a portacabin on the airfield with the jump order for the day. As we got to familiarise ourselves, we learned that concurrently there was a tandem sky dive happening. They said that we should watch it even though it’s not the same sequence as our jumps. When the tandem sky divers jumped out of the plane, so did a camera man filming them so they could have a memento at the end of the day. The tandem instructor deployed the parachute, then shortly after the cameraman did also,
but something didn’t look quite right. The parachute wasn’t big and open as we were taught on ground training and he was spiralling towards the ground. He cut away his main parachute and deployed his reserve in a split second. As he arrived safely to the ground all I kept thinking was ‘what if?’, but I knew I had to throw the negatives out of my head and think positive in the fact that the kit and the training actually works, even though he had a lot more experience than us! The time came to go to the aircraft and make our first sky dive. The plane was a tight fit but was perfect for jumps at 4,000 feet. There were six of us in the plane. The pilot, the jump master to the right of him, then the four jumpers in front of him. I was due out of the plane first as I was the heaviest person on the flight plan. We walked on to the taxiway nervously waiting for the plane to come by and pick us up. We saw the first load safely make there first jump with no problems. As we watched the plane land, our jump master Hooch checked our packs for the second time to make sure there were no twists in the chest and leg straps. As he turned me around and turned on the radio which I would use for the ground crew to land me safely after my parachute had deployed, he gave me a manly tap on the shoulder and asked me, “you ready for this man?” I replied with my dry mouth and said “errrr not really”. He just smiled and led four nervous jumpers to the aircraft. I was the last jumper in as I was the first one out and got told to kneel down. As we took off, our wrist altimeters started to go up and up and that’s when I became more and more anxious. Ten minutes after we took off I checked again and it said 3500 feet. At this point the jump master checked my harness again, leant me forward and took hold of my pilot chute which brings out the main parachute. The pilot opened the door and instantly I was terrified! The wind was so strong along with the drop in temperature, it felt very intimidating. The jump master popped his head out to check there was nothing within the air space underneath me and said the two
AFTER: LCoH Hulatt, LCpl Veramu and Tpr Forster looking less confident in the air!
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dreaded words, “climb out”. Nervously I put one foot on the outside step next to the door and at the same time placing one hand on the wing strut. I crossed my other leg with the one placed on the step as it got swept away with the strong head wind and placed the other hand on the wing strut. As I shuffled my hands to the very end of the wing strut, I slowly took my feet off the step and running gear and found myself hanging on for dear life, at 4,000 feet, on the wing strut of the plane absolutely terrified! I looked at my jump master Hooch as he lifted my chin to look up and then shouted “GO!”. I shook my head twice and as I started to shake my head for the third time he slowly started to peel my fingers off the wing strut and before I knew it I was in the air. I landed safely with the most exhilara-
Tpr Caven proves that skydiving makes you ugly
tion I’ve ever had and loved all of the six other jumps after that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t good enough to do a solo free fall sky dive, however LCpl Murphy along with Tprs Forster, Caven and Little managed to achieve a solo free fall at 4,000 feet. A great achievement. To sum up sky diving, I would totally
recommend it if you are an adrenaline junkie or if you want to get really out of your comfort zone. During the week I witnessed some great personal achievements; the one that stood out the most was a young lady craftsmen from the REME. Every time she went up in the plane she was terrified and would always cry profusely! She cried on the way down and when she landed and carried on crying for another four jumps until it all became too much! I think this is a great justification of why the Army still invests in AT simply because it brings soldier’s true courage, true inner spirit to bear without going into conflict and brings other corps and Regiments together. Overall, an awesome week which I will never forget.
C Squadron Competent Crew Course: Denmark and Germany, April 2013 by Lance Corporal of Horse Dimbylow
The calm waters of the Baltic Sea
ack in April, seven members of C Squadron embarked on a week long sailing trip around the calm waters of the Baltic Sea. We left Windsor for Germany via Calais by minibus - an epic journey in itself! We spent the first night in Hohne Barracks in North Germany before arriving at Kiel Yacht Club the following day. On arrival, ensuring that all logistics were in place was the order of the day. Once our sea journey was meticulously planned we allowed ourselves a beer or two. We were spread amongst six Halberg Rassy yachts which were new to the armed forces, all named after sea birds. After a rocky night on our yachts (in Kiel harbour) we set sail for Denmark. With good weather and calm seas our vessels made excellent time to Denmark and harboured in the evening on the North Eastern Danish coast. This was the most Northern stop on our voyage. We had two days and two nights sailing around the stunning Island of Aeroe. The people were so welcoming and friendly... until we beat them at their own game of
Danish skittle billiards known locally as Keglebillard. During the bounce around the island, we honed our skills at mooring, preparing to anchor and learning sea navigation. Practicing dingy rowing too, which looks easy but, as LCpl Murphy found, can only be achieved by using more than one oar. For the duration of our time at sea we were lucky enough to have blue skies and good sailing breezes. Routine on the boat was strict and for those familiar with timings at sea, yes, sails prepared for 0630, ready to sail at 0700. Galley duties or mother watch was rotated; however Tpr Berry’s culinary skills were excellent, except for C.H.I.P.S (aka Chewing Hard Indigestible Potato Skins).
largest city on Funen with strong global shipping links. Following our visit to Svenborg we sailed through the night at a fast pace and reached our penultimate stop of Kappeln in Germany. Instructor Andy had us perfecting our knot skills on arrival in Kappeln quay - the last test in order that we all gained our qualification. The final leg of our journey was the safe return of all six yachts to Kiel Harbour. We all arrived back safe and sound with well-weathered faces. For most of the crew this was their first time sailing a yacht. At the end of the week all passed their Competent Crew Course, gained great experience and most developed good sea legs. Tpr Yarrow, however, has yet to find his. I would definitely recommend this course to any soldier. The course was attended by a disparate group and the Instructors were keen to separate units, which enhanced force interaction and team building: a good qualification and a fantastic alternative way to see the world.
Tpr Berry at the helm ... on course for the pub
During our week away we sailed through the Kiel Canal Estuary which most will know was a vital shipping and supply route for the Germans during the Second World War. We also visited the old city of Svenborg on the Island of Funen in Denmark. This is the second
L to R: Tpr Berry, Spr McGregor, LCoH Dimbylow, Instructor Andy and Tpr Winzar QRH
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 27
C Squadron Paragliding: Mounting on Wings as Eagles ... and landing like Turkeys by Corporal of Horse Wilkinson
outdo everyone on the course and in a stunning show of inaccuracy missed every target required of him bar one. By day six our time had come. We went up the mountain and looked off, the feeling we all had could only be described in words as “what am I doing?” Unfortunately the weather is a cruel mistress to paragliders and with the wind heading in the wrong direction all day we had no option but to head back down the mountain via the ski-lift and back to the training centre for some mandatory lessons with the assurances of good weather on day seven.
The Team looking supremely confident ... before their first flight!
fter conducting a period of basic infantry skills, a few members of C Squadron were offered the chance to go paragliding with Adventurous Training Germany and sick of sore feet, they launched full pelt into the breech. Owing to our complete inexperience with the subject or simply put: none of us knowing what paragliding actually was, we sought advice online and soldiers being soldiers we all found the worst crashes from paragliding history straight away on You-Tube and were suitably unnerved, the younger members of the group discussing some of them in gruesome detail. Fast-forward two weeks and we left the UK in the combi-van in high spirits as we hit the channel crossing for a 16 hour European trip to the Alpine Training Centre situated in Oberstdorf, a picture perfect town in an alpine valley with dairy cows grazing in the centre of the town, something that still hasn’t quite sunken in. The first day consisted of delighted instructors showing us more para-crash television and trying to calm everyone down before issuing our general kit, harnesses, flying suits and canopies. It should be noted at this point that CoH Wilkinson was issued a huge bright yellow canopy which the group promptly named Big Bertha (which we later found out was a tandem canopy). We then hit the training slope for what would turn out to be five days of torturous uphill climbs followed by the brief exhilaration of flight but only if the initial launch was successful (if it wasn’t good enough you crashed and tabbed back up to try again). This period was spent defining the alpine launch and committing it to our muscle memory, so much was made of correct body position, hand positions,
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‘feeling’ the canopy up without looking at it and judging the correct time to “RUN!” This was the most commonly screamed word by all instructors. I don’t know if you’ve ever run down a hill but most people would lean back and go slower for safety, this was not the case for our regimental daredevils who leaned forward and opened their legs for maximum speed to flight transition. So much so in fact that LCoH Hulatt and CoH Wilkinson both ended up flying/bombing into the same barbed wire fence, the only two members of the course to do so.
LCoH Hulatt ready to go
By day five the group was starting to get extremely tired of the training slope and, whilst continually marching up the slope and launching off in order to fulfill the school requirements, we were resorting to attempting to land on smaller and smaller objects to try and outdo each other. Tpr Van Der Walt was particularly keen in this and sought to
As day seven started we could all tell that today was our day and, retracing our steps from the previous day, we headed back up the mountain to find the conditions perfect for flying. This was a train of thought held by another local civilian school and we had to jostle for a good position on the launch pad. It was only at this point that we started to appreciate the five days on the training slope perfecting the muscle memory of launching; the first member of the civilian school to launch in front of us promptly fell off the edge in front and tumbled one hundred feet down the very steep slope in front of us! This was definitely not the confidence booster we needed before our first mountain flight, but the group cracked on in true British Army fashion and within two minutes of being given our launch order the first man was ready to go and did so as if he had being paragliding for years. The same feeling can still be felt by all of us now when we look back on our own individual launches, that unnerving feeling of looking over the precipice, placing the helmet on and … nothing, the muscle memory from the training slope kicked into us all and we brought our canopies up, leant forward and ran. Feeling the ground falling away from you with only a thin silk sheet above and held in place by strands thinner than green army string is initially terrifying, but then it hits you. You’re flying. This is as close as you’ll ever get to true, unpowered flight controlled only by yourself and the elements (bar hand-gliding obviously). The elation of every member of the group upon landing (not necessarily in the landing field) was obvious on all faces with huge grins all-around. The good launching continued again and again, one after the other, our launch successes were so good that all other paragliders on the slope adamantly refused to admit that
this was our first mountain flight. By the time we had taken the ski-lift up the mountain again another three students from the civilian school had mislaunched and fallen over the front of the slope. The mountain launches continued the next day, with all members of the Household Cavalry managing to land within the landing field this time (a space with the same rough dimensions as a football pitch). With up to four mountain launches under our belts, we were extremely pleased to learn of the next progression course which featured only one morning on the training slope and the rest on mountain flights. So we have returned as PEPs, Paragliding Elementary Pilots with the flight bug firmly lodged in each of us and already looking for the next course we can get on. The view from the runway
Conquering Mountains! Exercise YAM ROCK by Trooper Day
uring our BATUS deployment, LCoH J Shaw and I of HCR C Squadron were selected to attend an intense and demanding rock climbing course in the Canadian Rockies with eight other soldiers from other regiments. Our week with the Yamnuska rock climbing team began by being introduced to a very experienced and enthusiastic civilian group of rock climbing instructors, keen to crack on and learn some new swear words from Britain. We began by being introduced to the less exciting side of rock climbing, risk assessments; correct PPE, location, routes to the climb, weather, other climbers, wildlife, etc. With that out the
way, we headed off to Canmore gym, which offered many indoor climbing walls for all different levels of skill, to learn the basics and increase our confidence, especially me being not that keen on heights. As a group of novices, we learned very fast and made quick work of the gym walls. The next day we began as usual with a risk assessment of the route we were going to climb that day. With amazing weather, we headed of to Lake Louise. Upon arrival, the preparation of kit began and within the hour we were ready for our short trek to the cliff face that we were going to climb. The views of Lake Louise were stunning! The perfectly calm lake, mountains surround-
Tpr Day reaching the top
ing us with snow covered summits and clear blue skies, we couldn’t asked for a better location. As soon as we arrived at our climb, we split off into pairs per one instructor and set up the harnesses and ropes. Within about 20 minutes, the whole group was climbing away on different places on the same cliff face. The climb itself was only 30 metres but it was enough for us to expand our skills and have the odd moment of fear as we looked down from the top. With the instructors impressed with our work and development for the day, we sacked it. The rest of the week compromised of travelling around the Banff area. Everyday a new cliff face location, which was bigger and more demanding than the
Tpr Day not entirely sharing in the guide’s confidence
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 29
last with new skills required in order to complete the climb. Every time though, the weather couldn’t have been better and the views were even more stunning than the last location! By the end of the week, we were all confident and competent climbers, forgetting about the pathetic heights at the start of the week and were now onto 150m plus, with minimal supervision and guidance from our impressed instructors. As a trooper with very little past climbing experience and hating heights,
I now have very little care for heights and am now able to carry out a range of skills from belaying, rappelling, knots, risk assessments, equipment care and much more. A well done is to be said for LCoH J Shaw (LG) who showed the instructors and other soldiers how awesome HCR is at rock climbing. Being like a human spider, he was unstoppable in the face of any challenge that was put in front of him. Overall, I would highly recommend this course to all.
LCoH Shaw doing rope security ... and posing
Above the Parapet
by Warrant Officer Class 2 M Quickfall
had wanted to attend the Sandhurst Cadre for a few years prior to doing so. As time went on I realised that between operational tours and exercises, there is not much time to get Senior Brecon, Advanced Drill and the other courses that you need under your belt before getting a crack at the Cadre and a posting to Sandhurst. The Academy Sergeant Major at the time, WO1 Martin (Irish Guards), said many times that if you want to get noticed in the Army you have to “put your head above the parapet” and that Sandhurst was a good way to do this. Having decided to do so, I attended the Cadre with around 55 other fellow SNCOs and will admit I felt a little daunted! The Cadre is the only time I have ever seen confident SNCOs from all different arms of service flapping about lessons they have probably taught many times before. At the end of the Cadre, only 30 names were called out as successful candidates and the rest were told to say goodbye and leave. Those successful SCpls and CSgts were then split into two groups: those who were sent straight to work in the colleges; and those who were to start in the skill at arms wing. I spent a year in the skill at arms wing before I was given the task of training 44 Officer Cadets. I had only a year to turn them from 'wet-behind-the-ears' new recruits into bona fide Army Officers. The platoon I took consisted of four overseas cadets from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and Gabon, alongside the normal mix of army cadets and OTC. From Day One I could see that these young men were a very different type of fish to those I had been used to at ATR Pirbright where I had previously been a section commander. The young men had more life experience and were driven to succeed. This is not to say that every member of my platoon was perfect; indeed there were a few who re-
The Sovereign’s Platoon at the end of their final exercise
quired additional attention. However, Sandhurst does work well and those who are prepared to work hard are rewarded with their first choice of cap badge. There are some who believe that Sandhurst will pass officers to simply make the numbers up. However, I can say with first-hand experience that the cadets go through an intensive process which ensures that the Army is not wasting its time and resources on those unsuitable for the role. The first term for the cadets comes belt fed and is very intense. The day starts at 0530 with the cadets singing the national anthem and ends at 2230 with light out. At the end of week five cadets are expected to plan a 60km hike across the Black Mountains. The trek must be completed within 36 hours with cadets carrying out various command tasks along the way. Officer cadets are forced to grow up and learn military skills much quicker than phase 1 recruits; a fact I could see clearly from my time at Sandhurst.
Before the start of the second term, cadets will already have got to grips with the seven questions and orders but it is during this term that they work to become more confident in writing and delivering orders. Cadets start their academic training and CBRN concurrently and also take part in defence operations. This requires them, amongst other things, to position and dig trenches
The Instructor - SCpl Quickfall
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without any help and push themselves physically and mentally. As such it is not uncommon to find a cadet talking nonsense or even hallucinating at 2 in the morning! During the final term, directing staff take a light hand on the tiller so that cadets can think for themselves. The exercises are now complex operations, with enemy troops offered no direction other than to probe for weaknesses in the cadets’ strategic target acquisition plans.
It is a great thing to see a young officer grow from a 'Jack the lad' with potential to a confident commander within the space of a year. I was particular fortunate with the group of young men that formed my platoon in winning the Sovereign’s Banner Competition. The letter I received from The Queen was a magnificent climax to the great two years I spent at Sandhurst. I would fully recommend a posting to Sandhurst to anyone who enjoys a
challenge. For me, having been a section commander at a training establishment previously, it seemed like a natural choice. It is true that Sandhurst can be a crazy place with its fair share of curve balls and it can be a daunting prospect at the outset. However, I believe that a Sandhurst posting is achievable for many Household Cavalry NCOs. Which just leaves just one question - are you willing to put your head above the parapet?
Operation HERRICK 18 A BRF Troop Leader’s Perspective by Captain J A Mawson, The Blues and Royals
Brigade Reconnaissance Force arrived in Afghanistan in early April 2013 after nearly nine months of arduous pre-deployment training (PDT). Our PDT had seen us deploy on exercises or ranges all over the UK from Kirkcudbright and Warcop in the north, to Lydd, Aldershot, Castlemartin (twice), Salisbury Plain and Warminster with the occasional trip to Thetford or Braunton Burrows thrown in. Our numbers were strengthened by the arrival of the Reconnaissance Platoon from 4th Bn The Rifles in autumn 2012, who quickly slotted in to their troops and roles, and our Royal Engineer, Royal Military Police and Royal Artillery Fire Support Team attachments were also firmly in place. In all, the Squadron had amassed a huge amount of training experience and specialist knowledge in the short time available since returning from Canada and we were determined to use these to the best possible effect in Afghanistan. Having successfully completed the initiation week (in the words of one of the outgoing BRF Troop Leaders “the longest week you’ll do in theatre”) some command elements, including the troop leaders were fortunate enough to deploy early the following day on a handover, short-notice operation. This
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gave us a brief glimpse into the way the previous BRF did their business and allowed us to see the mechanics of an operation from the ground. After that our BRF was on its own, the ops board was wiped clean and quickly began to fill up again with future missions. The challenges that followed came thick and fast. We met with early successes such as significant finds in the Arghandab River Valley, which included a prestige weapon system - a Russian AGS-17 Grenade Machine Gun, but were struck blows also. Following an initial operation in Nad-e-Ali, a Warthog IED strike led to Cpl Tom Boney being evacuated from theatre, only to return fighting fit later in the tour. We quickly found that sharpshooters and snipers were our strongest asset to locate the enemy and deployed them accordingly to inflict casualties on the insurgents. As the heat began to build, the tempo of our operations did not lessen and we pushed the very limits of our endurance after a nine-hour operation in excess of 50 degrees while the insurgents laughed in wonder at our audacity (or idiocy). Our operational tempo was exacerbated by additional work that came our way, and I was never sure what new job each day would bring. With the Brigade Ops Company potentially committed elsewhere at times, the BRF were quickly instructed and trained to provide additional support to the Military Provost Service in case of an incident at the Temporary Holding Facility for detainees in Bastion. Mid-way through the summer, Patrol Base Ouellette was suffering a frequent indirect fire threat, and the BRF were tasked to plan
and execute an operation in the area of the ominously named ‘Taliban Town’ to clear any insurgent firing points. This operation involved some extremely rapid training and familiarisation with an Infantry Assault Bridge which the attached engineers tackled enthusiastically. With the redeployment of Task Force Helmand Headquarters from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion, troops from the Squadron were required to escort sensitive equipment and documents between secure locations. In addition, at one point an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) made an emergency landing in the desert and we found ourselves securing the UAV whilst technicians slowly took it to pieces and loaded it into the back of a Chinook. Flexibility was absolutely key and the troops repeatedly proved themselves to be adept at taking on a variety of tasks, all in addition to our core operations to
Capt Mawson conducts a Navigation Check
find and deny insurgent lethal aid in order to protect the force and disrupt the insurgents in depth. The BRF remained productive in this primary role and, despite fierce resistance in areas such as Yakchal and Kakaran, continued to successfully destroy or remove enemy weapons, explosives and IED components from the ground. Before I knew what was happening, R&R had been and gone and the operations were shifting to support base realignment, closure and transfer. We found ourselves forward deployed more often and for longer spells to patrol bases such as Lashkar Gah, Durai and would conduct battle prep, orders, rehearsals, hydrate and finally play volleyball while we waited for go/no go decisions from above. To avoid pattern setting we mixed up our insertion methods and timings, often inserting at night or packing sweaty bodies into the back of the hellishly cramped Warthogs. In late August, elements of 7 Brigade were arriving and by the end of September we were hosting incoming members of the new BRF, formed around a squadron from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers. Our missions remained frequent right up to the TOA (Transfer of Authority) which allowed for two handover opera-
On patrol with Warthog Group
tions of differing incoming/outgoing ratios, one of which tragically saw the loss of LCpl Jay Brynin R Sigs. By the final month of the tour we found ourselves to be the instructors and as our predecessors did with us, sat down the incoming troops at all levels and gave them as much information as we could about the role, the planning process, the ground, our tactics, techniques and principles and anything else they wanted to know. Once handover was complete we were confident we had given the incoming squadron everything they needed to move forward and wished them the very best of luck for their tour. For 1 BRF, only a brief stopover in Cyprus re-
mained before returning to the UK and some well-earned leave after an incredibly taxing year. In the New Year the BRF troops will go their separate ways after an extremely successful and productive operational tour.
On patrol with the ANSF
‘A Little Fish in a Big Pond’ A Junior Officer’s Impression of Life in ISTAR Gp HQ by Captain M D de B Wilmot, The Blues and Royals
didn’t want to believe the rumours of the RAF always bodging up flights. However, I can now confirm that they are true. After arriving promptly at RAF Brize Norton for our flight to Afghanistan, which was due to depart at 2100, Capt Tom Long and I didn’t have wheels lifting until 0930 the next morning.
riosity of encountering the unfamiliar. Capt Long however is a seasoned pro, now on his third tour of Afghanistan, and as a result has the ability to nap in the most inhospitable of environments.
Upon arrival in Camp Bastion, we were immediately occupied by the Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (RSOI) programme. The long days of RSOI had little to break them up, each lecture This was my first tour of duty - and I beginning and ending with the classic had the inevitable excitement and cumilitary phrase of ‘Sirs, Maams, Ladies and Gents’ (we counted 31 in one day), followed by asking for a show of hands of ‘who’s been here before?’, where nearly every war hero in the room raises their arm whilst I sat there feeling like a complete crow. To pass the time Capt Long took prolonged loo visits, returning with a new Chuck Norris fact Capts Jordan, Long and Wilmot after an aerial after each trip (when recce of Central Helmand Alexander Graham
Bell switched on the first telephone, he had four missed calls from Chuck Norris), and to stay focussed we would record the number of times we heard confident speakers give ‘facts’ about Camp Bastion only for the next lecturer to change the statistic (the perimeter fence is either 27km, 27 miles or 37km around, and there are anywhere between 8,000 and 80,000 soldiers based there). As a result of the tedium of RSOI, when the England vs Wales Six Nations match came around we were pretty excited. After Italy beat the Irish in Brian O’Driscoll’s first last ever match in a green shirt, it seemed only right that on this night of great upset the Welsh should smash the English. We were delighted when the day to fly to Lashkar Gah finally came around. On first attempt, the helicopter was forced to return to Camp Bastion (BSN) because of poor weather, a frustration that would be frequent during BRF operations as the tour went on. By the afternoon we took off for the successful flight. It was amazing to see Afghanistan from the sky, and there were no surprises at just how dry and famished the
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land appeared, even at the start of the summer. Before the helicopter’s wheels had even touched the tarmac in Lashkar Gah its passengers were tearing off their seatbelts and standing up; everybody ready in case something goes wrong but also minimizing the amount of time the aircraft spends on the ground. If only commercial flying were this efficient! There were some pretty decent suntans that passed us in the other direction; their six-month tours complete. Our bedroom for the next six months was in a building known as the ‘Crack House’ and we were lucky not to be accommodated in one of the pod tents in ‘Grenade Alley’, so called because of the single wall that separates it from downtown Lash. The Crack House is a Soviet relic, a long rectangular building made up of a single corridor with rooms either side, formally housing an agricultural college. Our box room was a muddle of military issue camp beds, old rusty bed frames with real mattresses, wardrobes with the doors missing and a self-carpentered table. With our Hooters calendar on the wall, the small worn Persian rugs on the floor were the only clue that we were not in an American high school movie. Lash is the home of Task Force Helmand (TFH) HQ, the engine room behind the British presence in Afghanistan. On the map Helmand province is just a small corner of Afghanistan but it’s also where a lot of badness exists, which is why the majority of British efforts are focussed here. Lash houses both the HQ that control the British operations in the country, as well as a regiments worth of soldiers that are responsible for the surrounding area. There were also civilians; contracted to help with provincial reconstruction and some Danish Special Forces. HQ TFH sits in a standalone compound within the one-mile perimeter of Forward Operating Base Lashkar Gah (FOB LKG). Inside the main warehouse there are about a hundred desks where staff officers deliver their expertise to the wider battle picture, be it engineering; artillery; intelligence or signals. There are TVs dotted around with everything from SKY news to the Southern Hemisphere’s Super Rugby tournament playing in the background. We were lucky, as our small ops room was an independent space off the main floor plan. Out of the way, we were unlikely to be bothered by the frenzy behind us. Outside, the Queen’s Royal Lancers had built the ISTAR Mess; some benches made out of scrap wood sitting within an open ISO container. It was good to see that our predecessors had made this little corner of the desert feel as familiar and homely
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as possible. Since February 2013 there had been very little activity by British troops in Helmand after a soldier was shot through the hand on an operation. The politicians in Westminster, rightly or wrongly, were not willing to have any more serious injuries or deaths as we prepared for our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Part of me felt disappointed that we wouldn’t be as active as I had hoped. However, perhaps this meant that Britain has succeeded in Afghanistan. Or perhaps this is just the picture that parliament wants to portray; the reality being that Helmand is still a very dangerous place. After a lengthy build up, the remainder of the Regiment, focussed around B Squadron, arrived in Afghanistan back to old hunting grounds, but to a campaign that has changed enormously since the Regiment first deployment to Afghanistan in 2006. We were taking over in Helmand during the relatively calmer and cooler Spring ready for the much warmer, and decidedly busier, Summer season. The Household Cavalry would be leading the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Reconnaissance Group (ISTAR Gp). ISTAR Gp HQ, led by the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Jim Eyre, has overall responsibility for intelligence; technical ISTAR (cameras that fly), the domain of Capt Tom Whiting; and ground manoeuvre (troops deploying on the ground), led by Capt Tom Long. To keep our colleagues in 1 Mech Bde HQ on their toes, the Chief of Staff for the latter half of the tour was also called Tom! The rest of the team was made up of a number of officers, ably supported by CoH Graham-Green as the Information Manager. Maj James Howell took the post of Chief of Staff, later to be replaced by Maj Tom Giffard. Capt Tom Long led the ground manoeuvre team, with the author as his 2IC. The intelligence team consisted of our very own Capt Henry Jordan, with support from Lt Joe Chmiel of the Intelligence Corps and Capt Louis du Plessis led the Battle Captains, controlling the movement of our troops whilst on the ground. In this role he saw a number of junior officers from a range of cap badges support him over the tour, from the RTR to the RDG. Our job in the ground manoeuvre cell started with Capt Jordan and Lt Chmiel who trawled bottomless pits of intelligence for credible targets. Once a target, or some immediately actionable intelligence, had been confirmed, Capt Long would take over the planning and, ably supported by his assistant, we would
Chief ISTAR looks on as soldiers from the Brigade Ops Company conduct a training exercise at Camp JUNO
resource each operation - from Chinook helicopters that would take troops to target; to sniffer dogs; Royal Engineer Search Teams; US Army Paladin teams, who not only find but also destroy explosives found on the ground; and Afghan Security Forces Tiger Teams. On the day of the operation, Capt du Plessis would man the ops room in LKG, providing real time information to any oncall supporting assets such as Apache helicopters and medical support helicopters. His calm and confident tones were a consistent boon for all of our subunits throughout the tour. Beyond the BRF, the ISTAR Gp had ground tps from the Irish Guards, in the form of the Brigade Ops Company (BOC); the RTR, who made up the Warthog Group; the Estonian Protective Mobility Company; Armoured Infantry from the Fusiliers; and towards the end of the tour a Troop of Danish Tanks. This multinational band of warriors made for a ferocious force - and as the tour went on we saw just how effective deploying our troops was in disrupting the insurgency and protecting the force. Brigadier Rupert Jones, in Command of 1 Mech Bde, was much more willing to utilise our sub-units than the tour before us, and in April the drought of operations was over. By May we had boots on the ground almost every other day; and conducted nearly double the number of operations that we did in April. Whilst this kept us busy up in LKG, it is nothing to the hard work that the soldiers were doing on the ground, often in temperatures of over 50C with over 50kg of weight. The routine of life in Lash came pretty
quickly. Each morning we got up at six and went to the gym. ‘Op Massive’ and ‘Op Bronze’ were important parts of any soldiers’ tour of duty, and I was willing to take them seriously over the next six months, occasionally even combining the two when running around the helicopter landing strip in the midday sun. The heightened ‘insider’ threat meant that we had to carry our weapons at all times, even when going for a shower or to the gym. We often found ourselves in the Ops Room until late into the night, or early hours of the morning, making time spent away invaluable.
COS ISTAR show his creative side; helping Maj David Brooks with a quick trim
After a week with limited activity I was keen to get out of Lash. I’d heard about an RAF officer who was going to Kabul for some meetings in the next week and immediately began to conjure up reasons why I should be on the trip. Combat tourism has been massively stamped down on in recent years. If it isn’t beneficial to the campaign then, rightly so, we shouldn’t be wasting money on it. However, if there was a flight to Kabul and there were empty seats then my bottom wasn’t going to cost the military a penny. Unfortunately, a day before I was due to depart the COS nosily enquired as to who was going to the meetings in Kabul, and Flt Lt Harca unwittingly put her foot in it by giving up my name. I was taken off the roster. No trip to Kabul. Fortunately for me however, the Chief of Staff, for all his gifts of leadership and command, is a mong when it came to Windows. A deal was struck. I would fix his computer if he let me go to Kabul. Suddenly my name was back on the nominal roll. Myself, Flt Lt Harca, a US Air Force Master Sgt and a US Marine Corps Sgt all met at Bastion ready for the 90 minute
flight to Kabul. A few days earlier Capt Tom Whiting had asked me to pull up a sandbag as he told me of how back in 2009 he had been sitting on a C130 Hercules to fly to Kabul, waiting for a VIP passenger to arrive. Eventually the US General Stanley McChristal rocked up and was escorted straight The author in Kabul with Maj Gen Ed Smyth-Osbourne LG to the cockpit where he sat for the duration of the flight. If seen in the number of coup d’etats that General McChristal can sit in the cockpit overthrew monarch after monarch. One then why can’t anyone else? So, seated of the principles of counter insurgency on our C130 Hercules, waiting to fly to is winning the hearts and minds of the Kabul, I ask the RAF LCpl if the pilots local population, and our offer of prowouldn’t mind having one extra with tection is a tough sell when the Taliban them up front. After a short wait I got offer the same service, sometimes in a the thumbs up and headed to the front more attractive guise. By playing their of the plane. I was invited to take my game, on their home ground, we have body armour off and take a seat looking a real challenge to win the support of straight down the runway. The pilots the population. So where can we find were charming and gave me a headset an advantage? I wonder if we had takto listen in to the control tower. We en the same military mentoring model took off as the sun starts to set over the and applied it to schools, building new foothills of the Hindu Kutsch. After a education centres and supporting the short while the pilots put the C130 onto development of teachers and classroom autopilot and invited me to sit in the assistants; or building hospitals and front seat. I felt like I did as a kid, flymentoring doctors, dentists, nurses and ing away on holiday, in the days when physios. Surely the Taliban can only be you were allowed to visit the pilots on a seen as an enemy if they are destroying British Airways flight, except this time I a medical centre that brings so much was in the driving seat and the pilot was benefit to the community? We have a making me a cup of coffee. I was fasfantastic example of a field hospital in cinated by the many dials and lights in Camp Bastion, but this isn’t replicated front of me as well as the tactics to flying anywhere else in Helmand. Whilst the in a conflict zone, and as a result bommilitary campaign has been superbly bard the pilots with questions. Appardelivered, I feel that Britain plc may ently I asked the right questions as one have missed a trick when looking at the of the pilots asked how much I’d flown. wider picture, certainly in Helmand. “Only commercial”, I answer. My only thought was that he must have assumed I had a private pilots license because suddenly they were switching autopilot off and I was in control of a C130 and the sixty soldiers sitting to the rear. Throughout our time in Afghanistan, the enthusiasm and professionalism of the soldiers stood out as an impressive constant, particularly when considering the hostile conditions and nature of daily business. It was a great privelege to work with troops of all nationalities, but most of all to know that our activities did make a difference. We saw the tangible results of our operations, in the successful hauls of exposives and ammunition removed from the ground. Ever the optomist I am hesitant to criticise the campaign in Afghanistan. However, it does strike me that by focussing our efforts on the military we are missing a trick. The Afghans are excellent at fighting and have a long history of warfare - an easy example of this can be
C130 ready to depart from Camp Bastion
Over the six month period HCR has contributed to making Helmand a safer place, removing thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives from the enemy. Most notably however, we have seen for the first time the Afghan National Security Forces genuinely taking responsibility and delivering security in Helmand. That is not to say the insurgent has gone, but the balance has definitely shifted, and we leave Helmand a better place, where peace has a real opportunity to flourish.
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SHQ in BATUS: The Trooper’s View by Trooper Elliston-Jones
y story goes back to a frosty Monday morning in February, and I had managed to escape from the hangar in order to stand around the NAAFI smoking cigarettes and eating bacon sandwiches. Those of you reading this who know me will understand that this is not uncommon. It was at this point that my mobile rang and it was the Orderly Corporal, the ultimate nightmare of any good skiver enjoying respite from the tank park. Whilst hastily conjuring up an excuse I contemplated pressing the answer button. Four hour work parade, show parade in best drill order? No surely not, I had only been gone 10 minutes and am well versed in excuses, so I took my chances an answered the call. ‘E-J, orderly dog here, you’re needed in the NCO’s mess, just take a seat in the bar when you get there’. This I can tell you put me in a royal funk. Surely a wind up, or worse still: whilst the rest of the Squadron would be heading off Afghanistan to give the good news to the heathen hordes, I was being offloaded into the mess. I paced over there quick sharp, my head spinning with ideas of how to put up a good protest at being left behind, as this I had decided was the only possible reason for my summons. The only other thing it could mean was being handed a pair of stripes and a glass of port, which I deemed somewhat unlikely. On arrival, to my surprise, I found the entire squadron seated there, which was initially of some relief I can assure you. I nestled myself in between Tpr Ottewill (who has since been promoted to LCpl) and LCpl Murray, where I noticed the mood was particularly glum. When Tpr Ottewill isn’t gripping a young trooper, and LCpl Murray isn’t on a rant involv-
ing the immediate restoration of the British Empire, something is most definitely amiss. Before I got the chance to find out what was going on, ‘SIT UP’ was bellowed from a senior on the other side of the room, and in strode an equally glum looking Commanding Officer. What followed was a delicately put speech, involving lots of ‘chin up chaps’, ‘totally out of my hands’ and ‘you’ll be first into the next war I can assure you’ etc etceteras. The outcome was the stark realisation that we really weren’t deploying on Op HERRICK, and we were most likely going back to BATUS. After the initial disappointment, it was generally considered that BATUS was probably better than nothing, especially as most of us had already spent our now completely out of reach tour bonuses.
Cam nets up, again!
Fast forward to August 2013. Kit packed, weapons bundled, and a very busy SQMC’s department. We had been given the timings for our coach to Brize Norton; I don’t know exactly how early they were, although I can tell you it was at the usual ungodly hour that military moves inevitably seem to be. I awoke in an unfamiliar West Kensington flat at about 2:30am and it was a miracle that I made it to Windsor on time. By ‘on
Tpr Elliston-Jones hard at work (as usual!)
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time’, I mean in mufti, kit half packed, three minutes before the coach was due to leave. Luckily for me, there had been some delay in getting aboard, so by the skin of my teeth I jumped onto a coach and found an empty seat, taking care to pass the Cpl Maj on the way in order to assess whether or not a bollocking was to follow. Happily it wasn’t, so pillow out, iPod in, and it was off to South Cerney. To those of you who haven’t experienced South Cerney, I could easily spend a paragraph or two detailing how awful it is, but I fear I will run out of room so you shall have to take my word for it. The flight was pleasant enough, despite the air hostesses’ refusals at my frequent requests for gin, but they were easy on the eye and happy to dish out plenty of sandwiches and orange squash. After a long coach journey across the vast nothingness of North America, the usual booking in process and allocation of unspeakable accommodation, it was down to the tank park to asses the state of our fleet. I’m not entirely sure what goes on during ‘winter maintenance’ but it looked as though the fleet of scimitars had spent the last 30 years being maintained by an African dictatorship that had been embroiled in a lengthy civil war. After several weeks we eventually managed to get them in a fit state to roll out onto the area. Most of our Local Overseas Allowance having been spent on provisions from the ‘Crowfoot Café’ (where a burger and chips costs the same as a three course dinner at Simpsons in the Strand!), we were just about ready to roll out. A few more lectures on field craft, first aid and vehicle maintenance, and ‘PRAIRIE STORM 3’ had arrived at last, six weeks on the
Tprs Day and Newton proud of their handiwork
prairie loomed. For a number of reasons which I won’t spend too much time on here, I had found myself no longer in the Gun Troops, but with what I thought to be the rather cushty number of ‘Ambulance Driver’. I had spent three months in Canada as a Scimitar driver once before, so was quite happy at the thought of spending my time reading Flashman novels and smoking cigarettes whilst the troops honed their skills on the live ranges. Unfortunately this was not to be. Day one, first leaguer, and before I had even had the chance to find my lighter, ‘Oi, SHQ, close in on the Corporal Major quick time’. What followed was a series of lessons which were to remain a theme for the next few days. Putting the ‘penthouse’ and full cam system up in under seven minutes was first on the agenda. Many of us had not been in SHQ before, so our first attempt came in at something like four and a half hours. After several full days of ‘SHQ up, SHQ down, up, down’, we had just about cracked it. Surely time for a cup of tea and a fruit biscuit? No such luck. Next it was onto dug-in sentry positions, comms lessons and everything else a good SHQ trooper needs to function without finding himself on an extra stag or with a
shell scrape to dig. Live ranges followed shortly after the initial CT1 phase of training, and rather than kicking back, enjoying a cheroot and a good book, I spent the next week on stag whilst LCpl Thomson (the ambulance commander) manned the net, and the medic sat poised to go to the rescue of a potential casualty. Happily this never came, and it wasn’t long before we were into the TES phase. This involves a load of electronic equipment being fitted to the vehicles in order to simulate firing and being fired upon - think ‘laser quest’. Despite SHQ vehicles being lucky enough not to be fitted with the TES kit, this by no means kept us out of the war. The Sultans were constantly going from point to point trying to establish Comms with the troops whilst avoiding discovery by the en-
The SCM firmly stamping out the reading of gentlemen’s publications
emy, meanwhile our Ambulance was regularly dispatched to deal with either simulated or real casualties. More of the same continued, until the long awaited last day on the prairie had arrived. After our triumphant arrival back to camp and a quick turn around of vehicles in order to hand back to BATUS, which is no easy feat I can assure you, a thoroughly deserved knees up in the other ranks mess was organised. Not having had a taste of alcohol in six or seven weeks, this was met with much enthusiasm. It is easy to gauge that the majority of the blokes had not had an awful time, due to the fact that the Light Dragoons Commanding Officer, under whom we had been, made the rather silly mistake of asking drunk soldiers how their time had been. The fact that he got out of there without being chest poked, four finger pointed, or anything else, is enough evidence that it can’t have been that bad. Upon return to the UK and a nice little stint of leave, everything was back to how it was at the start of the year. So it shall remain, until C Squadron’s next adventure; and although I will have moved on by then, I have every faith it will be met with the usual C Squadron gusto and wish them the very best of luck.
Exercise IRON DIADEM C Squadron’s Adventures in Italy
by Lance Corporal of Horse Aspland-Monger and Lance Corporal John
n Thursday 6th June (69th Anniversary of the D-Day landings), 43 of C Squadron's finest set off for Ex IRON DIADEM, a two-part Exercise, consisting of a battlefield tour of the four battles for Monte Cassino and Adventure
Training, including hill walking and mountain biking, altogether it would last eight days. We left in the early hours on Thursday morning, to get to Gatwick airport for
the two flights that would take us to Fiumicino airport, just outside Rome in Italy. However, going through Easy-Jet check-in one of the late nominations/ name changes, hadn’t been booked on to the flight manifesto, so poor Tpr Jack
The Squadron overlooking Monte Cassino
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Little, was unable to come, and made his way back to Windsor. After everyone else had checked in, half of the party had to rush through passport control and the terminal, not having much chance to get breakfast or anything, before their flight at 0645 hrs. The other half of the party having plenty of time, as their flight wasn’t until 0910 hrs. The tables were turned at the other end in Fiumicino while the first half waited for the second flight to arrive. In this time our battlefield tour guide Frank De Planta flew in from Leeds airport. Once everyone had arrived in Italy, and the small matter with the hire car company had been resolved, meaning that our minibuses had been replaced with, eight cars and one nine-seater van (party bus); we headed off on our 140km plus road trip to Cassino. Every car had an Officer or Senior Rank as a Commander in it, with the exception of the lead car which had Frank the tour guide as Commander and LCoH ‘McLaren’ Dimbylow driving. We all arrived at Cassino safely in the late afternoon/early evening and went straight into the battlefield tour. Frank really knows his stuff about the battles for Monte Cassino, and had put some of this knowledge into a study pack that accompanied us everywhere. These study packs were a good inch and an half thick full of A4 pictures, maps, fact sheets, documentation, battle plans and a programme of events; complementing these was Frank’s knowledge second to none and he didn’t mind sharing it with us. Frank’s tours are normally given to Officers and Warrant Officers in command of big formations or units; this was one of the reasons why C Squadron (HCR) was doing this battlefield study, because our jobs as formation Reconnaissance is to understand the higher commander’s intent, know how he would see a problem and pass timely and accurate information up the chain of command and for them to make decisions on what lays in front. Every man in a (CVRT) has different perspec-
tives and if he knows what he should be looking for then he may see something that the rest of the crew has missed. The good thing about the battlefield tour for Monte Cassino is the landscape, unlike most battlefield tours where you have to go to lots of places to see small parts of the battlefield; at Monte Cassino you can see the whole battlefield and ground from all of the stands (view points), allowing you to see the huge task the Allied Troops had in front of them and how the landscape favoured the defending Army.
On the first day we went to two stands; the first by the hill that the Allies had their Observation Posts, gave us the first look of the ground that the Allied troops would have to advance across in the months between January and May 1944. The second was of the Rapido River which was another huge natural obstacle that the allies would have to cross to get to the Gustav line (the German’s main defensive line that ran the entire width of Italy). After these two, we stopped en route to the hotel at one of the Commonwealth Cemeteries, which was a small reminder to all of us how many soldiers gave their lives for the world we live in today. We all paired up at the very nice Hotel Rocca which was just over a kilometre from the main bars and restaurants of Cassino. We were booked in at the hotel to have dinner and breakfast every day except for one night where we all went out for a Squadron meal. On the Friday we went to five more stands culminating at Monte Cassino Monastery which dominates the whole area; everywhere you go you can see the Monastery over looking you. At each of the stands, we were given a ground brief to help orientate us, and an explanation of what happened at the different battles, using our study packs to help understand each battle from different viewpoints. After every explanation from Frank we were given time to ask questions and admire the landscape. We had three more stands before returning to Hotel Rocca, one of them being the Polish cemetery; it was quite incredible what lengths some Polish soldiers went to in order to join the Allies so they could fight the Germans. To understand this and the rest of the battles for Monte Cassino you will need to go on a Casino battlefield Looking at Cassino Town from the old German tour with Frank De positions - thinking how we would have attacked Planta yourself.
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Visiting the Polish Cemetery beneath the Abbey
Saturday was our last full day of the battlefield tour where we had a further five stands that were some distance apart. The difficultly of driving around the landscape on tarmac roads only adds to the amazement of how hard it must have been for our comrades some 69 years ago. They did it without any good roads and bridges and under the consistent watch of the Germans and their artillery fire. Our battlefield tour came to a close, back at Hotel Rocca on Sunday morning, when Frank gave us a last run through of all four battles for Monte Cassino and verdict in the breakfast room under the hotel. The rest of Sunday was spent by going to the coast and having a relaxing day in the sun on the beach. For those who wanted they could go for a walk around the town or old Fort overlooking the harbour and beach. Others just chilled out in the sea and worked on Operation Bronze.
Cycling uphill ... again!
After the lovely chilled out day we had at the beach came the second part of our Italy trip. Adventure Training which started off with a small hill walk up to a small cave complex with a few bats in, before we collected and checked our mountain bikes for serviceability and comfort. After this was done, everyone was looking forward to a nice lunch with lots to eat. However our Italian bike guide’s friends had a little surprise up their sleeves. Not one lunch, but three lunches, but not the sort most of our hungry bodies were after, as these three stops would be at Vineyards with plenty of different wines to taste and some little nibbles to help. The wine and the little amount of food were lovely and didn’t last long. As our Italian
The C Squadron ‘Wine Experts’: Tprs Speaight, Yarrow and LCpl John
guides didn’t say how many stops (Vineyards) there was going to be, most of us were thinking it was just one so we tried to make the most of it before our next bike ride up and down some long hills. So when we stopped again, we made the most of the very welcoming host at his Vineyard. The Italian people we met where all very pleasant and couldn’t do enough to help even letting us taste a wine still in a barrel. After empting our glasses we set of on the road again unfortunately on our way one of the mountain bike leaders took a nasty tumble on some gravel which would have put most people off the road. However LCoH Wincott is made of stronger stuff and carried on like the true Centurion he is. Everyone made it safely to the last Vineyard which was just around the corner from where we collected the bikes. By this stage a lot of us were feeling the effects of an active day of walking and bike riding, along with hardly any food and a liquid lunch. But lucky for us we had a 28 km cycle ride back to the hotel. Just under half of this distance would be up hill on some nice steep and winding tracks. The only good thing about going up is that “what must go up must come down” and that is great fun. Tuesday we took the bikes by van to a starting point just over half way up a very long and steep hill. We left the cars and van and started to cycle slowly up the long and winding hill. We cycled around some lovely scenery only stopping for water and bike repairs until we meet up with Tpr Caven who was at a pre arranged stop with pack lunch (after the day before we decided to arrange some pack lunches with the hotel). However, our Italian guide must have heard us speaking about the lack of food the day before because when we stopped this time at a small cafe they had put on a fantastic spread buffet so
our pack lunches where not needed. After lunch, we had a short lecture on the local type of bag pipe and how theirs are different to the Scottish and others from the area. Once everyone was refuelled we carried on with our bike tour to a little town called Scapoli and to a museum on the Second World War in Italy. The owner of the museum had stayed up half the night before getting ready a new exhibition for our visit.
At the Bagpipe Museum
The museum and exhibition where fantastic so much effort and time had gone into collating and setting up everything. It was fantastic to see everything but even better was that you could reach out and touch it as most of it wasn’t behind glass or locked away like in our museums in the UK. After our visit to the museum, the Mayor of Scapoli very kindly treated everyone to an ice cream or a hot beverage. As time was getting on we had to make our way back to the hotel as it was a long journey. This journey was made even longer as wear and tear on the bikes was meaning frequent stopping for repairs and tiredness was also creeping in among the lads, making the casualty lists even longer. Eventually we all got back to the Hotel Rocca a 2120 hrs, which resulted in everyone having very little time to get ready for the Squadron meal at 2200 hrs, amazingly everyone made in on time and vast amounts of pizza was ordered! Whilst
everyone waited for their food they enjoyed a bottle of wine. The food and wine went down a treat, however, due to the strenuous day and free flowing wine it went to some of the lad’s heads more than others. The next morning we had a late start due to the proceedings the night before. We took the bikes out for a final ride before checking them as we had to return them that afternoon.
A new set of Gladiators enter the Coliseum (Tprs Mardon, Davey and Hawkins)
Our final day was spent in Rome where we split down into smaller groups and spent the day wondering around the wonderful sites of Rome, the Vatican city and surrounding area. After a very hot day taking in everything, we headed for the airport for our evening flight home. However due to air strikes in France, Easy-Jet cancelled our flight home just as the last three lads were about to check in. As luck would have it Lt Seccombe worked his magic and managed to get everyone flights home the very next day, which resulted in us staying an extra night at a very nice hotel filled with Harley Davidson enthusiasts. Our Italian trip was a great success and everyone learnt something new during the battlefield tour and was pushed outside their comfort zone at some point during the Adventure Training.
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Exercise ROUGH RIDE In the Wilderness of Brokeback Country by Trooper Yarrow
The next day we tracked up to the highest point one could get up on horse back and the views were amazing! That night the cowboys made a cowboy style BBQ which was out of this world, the steaks were of a very high quality and all the trimmings were just as good and it was all washed down with a few well deserved beers.
The great outdoors
hist in Canada waiting to deploy on Ex PRAIRIE THUNDER 3, Troopers Mills, Healthfield and I went horse riding in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, cowboy style. The adventure training package was six days long, two days were used getting to know your horses and how to ride but being all Cav lads and all having served time in Knightsbridge, this was not a drama for us. And so the other remaining four days was spent up in the Rocky Mountains, it took eight hours to travel to the small ranch they stayed at up in the mountains.
Cowboys in the Rockies - the Brokeback Mountain moment
The riding was pretty tough going at some points and short sharp breaks were well needed to say the least, crossing some of the most scenic terrain any of us had ever seen it soon came apparent why this AT package was like gold dust and hard to get on and we soon appreciated the opportunity we had been given. When we finally arrived at the ranch we dismounted, sorted our horses out and were given our tents to
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stay in for the next few days. Even the Cowboys have the same rule as the Cavalry: my horse, my kit, myself! Some of the other lads and girls from other regiments struggled with this order but it was second nature to the ‘Cav Lads’ and we showed them the ropes. Each day there was a different activity but obviously on horse back. On the second day in the mountains we started off by having breakfast which was cooked by Tpr Heathfield finally getting to put his everyone taking it in turn to cook the Knightsbridge skills to good use sausages, bacon and beans etc on the So after our time up in the Mountains big camp cooker, with some interesting it was time to make our final trek back results. Once breakfast had been eaten to the main AT camp, on arriving back it was time to collect the horses which at the camp we were extremely happy were running free in a open paddock/ with our experience and chance to see tree line and, as those who have tried to the sights we all took in over the six catch horses up in Melton will certainly days. The final day was left to say good know, this is no easy task but again the bye to the good old reliable horses that ‘Cav Lads’ nipped it, well what can I served us well and hand back the kit say! So once the horses were caught they etc. Then it was time to set sail back to would be watered, groomed and tacked Camp Crowfoot, in good mind and orup ready for that day’s tracking. That der to start long and hard exercise we day we trekked to a nearby lake which, had awaiting us. being September and in the mountains, was going to be cold and it was not a good idea to go swimming in as Trooper Healthfield found out very quickly! On the way back from the lake we stopped by a real life Indian teepee village which was still lived in by the ‘First Nations’ people, this was awesome to see particularly arriving on horseback! Once we were back at the ranch we got into the usual routine of untacking and feeding off the horses and then setting them loose into the paddock for the night; we would then kick back and cook dinner for the Tpr Mills thanking God that he was not sent climbing instead evening - true cowboy living.
Never Too Far From Home: Celebrating Fiji Day in BATUS by Lance Corporal Veramu
Moving together in unity to ensure a prosperous Fiji’ was the theme of this years Fiji Day celebration, as Fiji commemorated its forty third year of independence, an event celebrated by Fijians all over the world on 10th October every year, marking a significant milestone in the development of the Republic of the Fiji Islands. Historically, it is the date when two milestone events happened in Fiji’s modern history. It was the day in 1874 when Fiji was unconditionally ceded to Great Britain by Fijian chiefs, led by the Vunivalu (Warlord) of Bau and Tui Viti (King of Fiji), Ratu (Sir) Epenisa Seru Cakobau. This started the tradition where the 10th of October was celebrated as Cession Day. It gave the people of Fiji an opportunity to showcase their heritage prior to becoming a British colony. Exactly ninety six years later in 1970, Fiji gained political independence from Great Britain and once again Fiji’s leaders began to chart the course of Fiji’s history as an independent nation. Back in Fiji, the celebration is celebrated in all Government administration centres, towns and cities with a flag raising ceremony, a short speech on the dates of historical significance from a senior Government official, the re-enactment of historical events from Fiji’s past history and then morning tea is served. While Fijian’s all over the world celebrated this special day, it was no exception for guys of 12 Mechanical Brigade who were deployed on exercise to BATUS, Canada. Despite five long weeks out in the prairie, followed by a week long of roll backing vehicles,
cleaning weapons and other serialised kit, they still managed to come up with a last minute decision to go ahead with the celebration anyway. The celebration was simple yet very humble and for Fijian soldiers across the battle group, it was a time off from work to remember this special day. It started with the Veiqaraqaravi Vaka Vanua (traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony to acknowledge the presence of the chief guest) to the Royal Welsh Commanding Officer who was chief guest followed by his speech. We were reminded of our loyalty while serving in the British Army and being part of that larger family that lives on its ethos and strives to be the best in the world; and also the importance of preserving our culture even though we were thousands of miles away from home. Afterwards, the Fijian National Anthem was sung, before the padre said the last few words of prayer followed by three cheers. This was followed by the best part of the evening, tucking into a variety of Fijian cuisine which was cooked in a ‘Lovo’ (earth oven). Officers were also invited to try ‘Kava’, the traditional drink of Fiji, a plant that takes at least a year to grow before it is harvested, pounded, mixed with water and ready for serving. Despite its not so pleasant brown colour and bitter taste, officers pretended to enjoy it, obviously going with the flow, leaving some of them rather numb while Capt Woolf couldn’t resist how tasty traditional food was and went for seconds and thirds. The Squadron Leader, however, was having a tough time on his own struggling to cross his legs and join everyone else who were sat on the floor, so he opted to sit on the sofa.
Capt Woolf, Sqn 2IC, getting the taste for Kava shortly before falling over
The rest of the evening was spent socialising with the officers and answering their never ending questions on Fijian culture and tradition, and for us it was just a break from the tight schedules of work from the tank park and an opportunity to relax a bit and to just have an informal conversation. Furthermore, it was an opportunity for Fijian soldiers to showcase part of their culture, tradition and religious background, whilst reminding themselves that they were once part of the British Empire by giving something back, fighting for freedom and peace alongside their British Counterparts and they’ve proven themselves before and that’s exactly what they are going to continue to do.
Exercise COCKNEY MONKEY C Squadron Trip to St Anton by Lance Corporal of Horse Perry
n 10th February 2013 a small group of C Squadron departed to the Austrian Alps for a week’s alpine skiing, being instructed by QMSI Gibson and LCoH Perry. Before leaving Windsor, transport had to be allocated and we were given two combi vans and a very nice looking Land Rover Discovery, so it came as no surprise when the officers Lt Campbell and Lt Carefoot pulled rank, securing their places in the Disco, as they would
only travel in luxury in true Cavalry officer style. Having allocated places on the transport, all of the bags were loaded and we set off for the Eurotunnel on our mammoth 20-hour drive, leaving a cold wet Windsor behind. After reaching France with no trouble and driving for a few hours, we pulled in for our first of many fuel and pit stops, but immediately came across a problem; no one had been given the pin numbers for the fuel cards. So we had to wait until we managed to get hold of someone from
MT to tell us the pin numbers: being a Sunday this took a lot longer than was liked. Once we had managed to eventually fill the vehicles up we were back on the road. After many more hours and stops, we eventually made it to Austria just after midnight, arriving at the Austrian army barracks Walgau Kaserne in the Alberg valley about 45 minutes from St Anton. I don’t know how, but QMSI Gibson managed to sleep for the whole duration of the trip from Windsor constantly reminding us of his presence
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LCoH Perry: “Follow Me!”
Tpr Forster not looking so sure…
with snores escaping from his sleeping bag, so it was a relief to escape from the van. Everyone being extremely tired from the journey was relived to be able to get a shower and their heads down ready for the first days skiing in the morning.
the snow with little danger of sliding too far and fast away. Once they had had honed there sliding, skating, stepping, turning and climbing techniques they were all sweaty, hot and bothered and a bit shocked at how hard moving about on skis could be, but they would all later come to thank me as everything they were taught was going to keep them safe on the slopes. After a quick water stop we hit the nursery slope, a gentle gradient with a rope lift to the side to get them up the slope with out having to climb, which was a welcome relief as I think they were now fed up with climbing. All of the group got the hang of the rope pull with ease apart from LCpl Staniland who, for some reason, could not find his balance and kept falling off it and sliding backwards, taking out half of the group and other people on the slope, which gave everyone a few laughs. Once the rope lift had been mastered, we spent about an hour on the slope mastering the snowplough and snowplough stop. I was impressed with how quickly they all picked it up. After a short lunch break I received an extra addition to my group; LCoH Hullatt had been relegated as he could not handle the skis he had asked for earlier and was complaining he was going too quick. The afternoon flew by and it did not take long before my group were all snowplough turning in some form or another. After a while, Tpr Forster seemed to be bored of snow plough turns and I still don’t know how he suddenly decided to start pirouetting down the mountain out of control doing 360 degree turns not falling over and then coming to a complete stop; when I skied over to him to check he was ok and ask what had happened he said he was not sure just he kept turning and turning. I was actually quite jealous, as it had looked very impressive. After a hard day of skiing, both groups met at the bottom of the mountain for the first of many Après-ski beers.
Waking up refreshed, and having had breakfast, we departed for a small ski resort Sonkenph about 20 minutes down the road for our first day’s skiing of the week. Before we could get skiing, the ski hire and lift passes had to be taken care of. Fortunately, the ski shop was very efficient in sorting out all of the boots and skis and spoke excellent English. LCoH Hullat was not happy being given the basic set of skis and, having been skiing before (a couple of days), wanted the fastest set they had; he would later come to regret this decision. Once the skis and passes had been sorted, we split the skiers into two groups. LCoH Perry took the group who had never skied before and QMSI Gibson was given the group who had skied before to do some continuation training with. Both groups would work towards achieving the Ski Foundation 1 qualification, as the Joint Services Ski Scheme had only recently changed and is now aimed at getting skiers eventually Ski Touring so QMSI Gibson’s group would have to prove they could ski off piste, something later on Lt Carefoot was going to find a little tricky. Having eventually got all of the groups and equipment sorted, we headed up to the top of the mountain where, apparently, a very good beginner’s area was located. Upon reaching the top, Toney Gibson took his group off and I was left with my group of complete beginners, who were now slipping about on the snow like Bambi. The top of the lift was actually a very good beginner’s area, with a large flat area and small slope areas perfect for getting my group used to putting all their skis and boots on and off and learning how to move about on
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On Day Two, we headed to St Anton
which was going to be a bit of a shock for my group as it is not the easiest place to ski. Both groups took the Gampon lift half way up the mountain where there was a beginner area for my group. The other group had one warm up run and then disappeared; we would not see them again until later in the afternoon at Taps bar near the bottom off the mountain. My group had a good day and started to get the hang of skiing fairly quickly except Stan, who was finding it a little tough. So I strategically left my group to have a hot chocolate and spend some time one on one getting him up to speed, which did not take long. After a few more hours skiing and a bit of lunch on the mountain, we decided to head down to find the other group at Taps bar. I did not realise that the blue runs down were a little tricky to negotiate later in the day and had been churned up into moguls, so not great for a beginner group on Day Two; all started to struggle, nothing like being thrown in at the deep end. A few of the group had sense of humour failures after falling on the bumps a few times. Upon reaching the bar where the other group were waiting, a well-deserved beer was had by all. Taps bar was to become our regular Après-ski bar in St Anton, as the tunes were banging and the beer flowing, “nothing like dancing on the tables in Austria with your ski boots on”. After a few hours hard partying we headed back to the barracks for some well earned food and rest ready for the next day’s skiing. The following day, QMSI Gibson’s group headed back for St Anton “nothing to do with the Après-ski!”; I decided to take my group to a different part of the valley I had skied at before in the little exclusive resort of Lech. Large motorway runs, empty slopes, heated seats on the chair lifts and powder to die for on the side of every run, ‘heaven’. The group I was teaching had a fantastic day skiing, progressing easily as the runs were so empty and wide giving them the confidence they needed without worrying about making their turns or being knocked over. By lunchtime everyone had progressed to plough parallel turns and some were starting to match their skis and almost parallel skiing. During the afternoon I was very impressed with their skiing and decided to introduce them to their first experience of powder and off-piste. It made me laugh watching them all stack it into the powder and sink into the snow. That evening we stayed in the barracks and experienced our first night in the Austrian Mess with the very hospitable Austrians getting drunk on Schnapps. There were a few sore heads and bleary eyes the next morning. After having such a good day skiing in Lech, it was decided to go back
with both groups to enjoy the wide open runs and fresh powder. After a few warm up runs, both groups split again. I then took my group for some more off piste techniques which they all started to pick up well, apart from Tpr Yarrow who seemed to like burying himself in the powder. After realising how much effort it took to keep picking himself up, Yarrow started to get the hang of skiing in powder; lumps, bumps and all. By the end of the morning my group were skiing really well, so I decided to take them down an itinerary which is a marked off piste run. The itinerary was not the easiest run to ski being fairly steep and lots of bumps starting to form into mouguls. It took some coaxing to get the lads to ski down but once they found their legs they all skied really well. After meeting up with the other group and my group boasting they had just skied an itinerary, Lt Carefoot decided he would come and ski with the group and see what all the fuss was about. I took the group back to the top of the itinerary we had
just skied before lunch and all started to ski down. After a few turns, we stopped to check everyone was ok, I looked up the mountain and saw Lt Carefoot was still at the top and not moving and was frozen to the spot. I tried to coax him down but he was embarrassed that a group of beginner skiers were watching him and he insisted we left him to make his own way down slowly. My group nicknamed the run Crowfoot Mountain after Lt Carefoot. The next day was spent skiing back over in St Anton, consolidating all the skiing techniques learnt over the last few days and finishing off in the legendary Taps bar for some well earned Après-ski action. The last day’s skiing was spent back over in Lech, where both groups spent most of the day skiing together showing off all the techniques they had acquired during the week and a few runs in the ski park doing some small jumps. Later on that day everyone was given the choice of doing their own
CoH Eade, LCsoH Perry and Hulatt have another hard day in the office!
thing as long as they stayed in a small group. Some made the most of the last few hours skiing and some decided to make the most of the Après-ski in the sun, lead by LCoH Dimbylow. No one was looking forward to the long drive back the following day, realising that it had all come to an end and we were all due to be on a dismounted exercise in a few days. A great week was had by all and for some it was their first experience of winter sports and being in an alpine environment.
Exercise IRON SPIRIT C Squadron CT0 Training in Dartmoor 4-8th Feb 2013 by Lance Corporal of Horse Thomas
he very mention of exercise on Dartmoor is enough to make the weakest men trundle off to the medical centre for a sick chit, however throwing it in to the mix in February was nothing short of a man test. Having only bad memories of a previous exercise there in 2004 with C Squadron, my advice to the junior call signs in the Squadron was “Pack socks, socks and some more socks”. The idea behind the week’s training was low level navigational skills and personnel administration; no training area available to UK troops could test both of these more fiercely. However, the news that it was to be a low key affair without weapons and being non tactical was music to everyone’s ears, as the only thing we would really have to contend with now would be the weather and terrain. The Squadron heads off into the heart of Dartmoor
We deployed from Windsor on a cold
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kind, or so we thought. As we climbed the terrain up on to some of the higher Tors, we were met with stinging wind and snow to boot. This prompted us to perhaps slightly shave off a corner of our route to make the going easier and getting us out of the elements; this was a great idea and the troop were grateful to the CoH for his forward thinking, I’m not quite sure the Sqn Ldr shared these thoughts on realisOver one Tor and onto the next ing our absence from the route! However, nothing ventured nothing gained, but lesson cerFebruary morning to Okehampton tainly learnt. camp, perched on the edge of the training area, close enough to see the rollWith boots wet, backs sore and brew ing landscape awaiting us. To give the flasks expended, we were now only a troops an idea of what to expect, the Cpl few clicks short of the barn complex. Maj took us on a run as soon as we arHaving taken a short cut, 4 Tp were rived; six miles and a few twisted ankles obviously first to arrive, we stowed our later we returned to camp for a typikit in the barn and proceeded to admin cal army evening meal: roast dinner or feet and get some hot food on. As the curry. Then it was a night of map fabremaining troops began to trickle in, loning, exercise prep and packing more morale seemed very high. The barn was socks, for tomorrow was deployment a massive relief to those who maybe day proper. thought this was to be our reward for our hard day on the hills. “Out the In the morning, after a hearty breakfast barn” came the three words we didn’t and brew flasks fully charged, we met want to hear from outside, confusion in the car park in troops to be released arouse as to why a perfectly good barn on to the area to begin a 20km insertion with ample space for the Squadron to tab. Orders were to cross the ground sleep and admin in out of the elements non-tactically, making sure all members wasn’t going to be utilised. But, as is of each troop navigated a leg each and always the case, there was a plan and were to stick to a pre determined route. the barn wasn’t part of it: the second The more switched on amongst us soon phase of our low level training was a realised that a barn complex was the night back to basics under ponchos. So, RV. This would mean shelter from the with sad faces all around, the Squadelements and a far easier time of things ron began erecting their ponchos, but than doing it under poncho, Result! this proved to be a good bit of training as some of the attempts at a basic piece At fifteen minute intervals, which felt a of soldiering were pretty dreadful and lot longer waiting in the cold wind and not just from the junior lads either. CoH rain in lightweight tabbing clothing, we Ottaway’s poncho was high enough were released to start our tab. 4 Tp led to almost be classed as a hammock, as by CoH Ottaway made steady progress he found out at approximately 0300hrs and soon caught up with the troops to when it blew away. I also had an unour front and actually, as Dartmoor in timely wake up call shortly after with February goes, the weather was being advice that perhaps mine was a little low, the hurricane winds and torrential rain had pushed it against my body and water was seeping through, but in the middle of the night, in the rain and after a long tab I could have been lying in a puddle, I wasn’t moving. I can recall the next morning quite well though: I had decided to admin myself from my doss bag, brew first obviously, but as it turned out my poncho was indeed a little low as my jet boil melted the corner; I now have a hole in my poncho, I should have listened!! LCoH Dimbylow working out where he is, with the help of CoH Mowatt
44 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
Admin squared and orders were given,
more day navigating with checkpoints along the way but with pacing and basic use of a compass for the junior guys as the main effort. The previous day’s weather had passed and we were actually being treated to blue skies. Speaking to all the other troops, we certainly benefited from the training and the fact it was low level without all the added kit and weapons made sure that we could concentrate on what we were doing and little else. We took our time around the course and had ample time for brewing up and found a nice scenic spot to sit down and get some biscuits and peanut butter down us, the corner stone of every soldier’s lunch. On completion of the course and feet now starting to get sore we returned to the area of the barn we weren’t allowed to use and wondered what the evening had in store.
Tpr Forster makes a new friend
As we arrived back, the Cpl Maj broke the news that we would not be under ponchos and designated sections of the barn to the troops. We also had two hours to come up with a skit per troop that would entertain the officers and seniors and also raise the morale amongst the lads. Tpr Elliston-Jones finally found something he is good at with a sensational performance mimicking the Squadron Ldr and picking out his mannerisms perfectly, the fact that he also stayed within boundaries and didn’t over step the mark was even more impressive. Sadly the same cannot be said for LCoH Aspland-Monger, who did the exact opposite and the only thing I can actually remember about the performance was the stunned silence as he set about talking himself out of a good SJAR, luckily for him all saw the attempt at humour. 4 Tp’s poem was neither that entertaining or that offensive but those who wish to hear it again can come and see me. Skits completed, it was a night navigating test next with eight check points to be completed in three hours. Not an easy task over the tough Dartmoor terrain but, with two days training under our belts, it stood us in good stead. There
SHQ enjoying every minute!
was a small discrepancy whether or not our troop hit a key check point, but after our initial faux pars on the insertion tab no one could blame the powers that be for questioning us, but we were definitely on that pile of rocks, Sir. Hot soup and some Tesco Value bread has never tasted so good, as we waited for the remainder of the troops to find their bearings and get back to the barn. Once all accounted for it, was a full night’s sleep before the long walk back across the area to Okehampton camp where dry boots and showers were waiting. After an all-day breakfast and a Kenco
coffee from the ration pack, we set off on our extraction tab, orders from the 2IC were, “Quickest and best chaps” to which we did. It may have been the better weather or the fact Endex was only 20km away, but the journey back was a lot quicker and easier than the way out. We barely stopped on route back for brews or food and the junior lad’s navigation was far improved from the few days training, proof in the pudding! Tpr Little needed to buy some new boots after spending the entire downhill journey on his backside, some light relief from the sore feet and aching back but, with a bergan on his back, I’m not sure
he was laughing himself. Okehampton camp had never looked more beautiful, sat on the high ground sparkling in the afternoon sun as we closed onto it. C Squadron’s visit to Dartmoor was hard work but also had its highlights and will be remembered for its training value and the realisation that all soldiers, irrelevant of rank or experience can always benefit from going back to basics.
Guns for Hire in the Wild West HCR Gun Troops on Exercise PRAIRIE STORM 3 by Lance Corporal Mansfield
n August 2013, C Squadron was deployed to BATUS training area in Canada for Exercise PRAIRIE STORM 3. I was assigned the position of Gunner to 1Tp’s CoH under the command of Ct Murphy and CoH Thomas. After the initial move to Canada, involving a nine hour flight and a three hour coach ride upon arrival, the Squadron spent its time preparing vehicles for an arduous exercise and acclimatising our bodies to the environment through various PT sessions. Whilst doing vehicle prep, a number of vehicles we inherited were found to be in a very poor state and
in need of a lot of love, but this problem proved to be an excellent training tool for a number of junior drivers which, for some, was their first exercise as a CVR(T) driver. The vehicle states gave the new drivers an opportunity to work to a deadline and under pressure which, in turn, prepared them for the pressures of working in the field for the next six weeks in less than ideal conditions. This time in camp was also an excellent opportunity for junior NCOs such as my self to assist and guide the junior troopers in their daily tasks, preparing them for the exercise ahead and also helped in reliving some pressure from the already
very busy Tp CoHs. After the Squadron moved out onto the training area, the first week consisted of level one crew training. This proved to be an excellent opportunity to find and rectify any last minute problems with the vehicles and a chance for new drivers to get used to them and the terrain before moving on to the next five weeks of the exercise. During the CT1 phase of the exercise, the Troop spent a fair amount of time on its own practicing Troop level drills and SOPs. A lot of my time was spent mentoring junior troopers in basic skills and drills, what
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was an excellent and rare opportunity to effectively practice our role on such large scale using large amounts of live ammunition and to really let rip on the weapon systems showing what we are capable of as a unit. Towards the end of the live fire phase the strain on the vehicles was starting to show, with vehicles breaking down and becoming very difficult to drive; my own vehicle began to throw bolts from its prop! A problem my driver had never came across, but together we were able to rectify it in a few hours. The problems we were suffering with the vehicles helped to push drivers to new levels of maintenance experience and gaining invaluable skills, any problems drivers could fix at crew or Troop level was done so as not to add to the REME’s already heavy work load.
1Tp ready to go into action
was required of them and vehicle maintenance. Most evenings, the Squadron was together in a leaguer where more lessons were carried out on a number of subjects such as helicopter landings at night and CTRs or Ops, all in preparation for the weeks ahead.
consisted of a number of initially static ranges before incorporating an advance forward until coming under contact in both day and night time conditions. Ranges started at lower levels in Troops building up to complex Squadron level attacks and scenarios saw us moving up to support the battle group. We were given excellent opportunity to practice drills on moving across the ground aggressively and efficiently crossing obstacles as they came up from Troop all the way to battle group level. The whole live fire phase of the exercise
When getting to the three week point it was clear to see the Squadron as whole pulling together, becoming a closer and more efficient team and the star personalities of the Squadron were starting to shine through and become noticed by not only their peers but by the senior ranks also. When it came to the TES phase, the Troop had suffered at the loss of CoH Thomas due to a broken arm and a number of vehicle breakdowns, including my own when my gearbox blew its internal seals dropping its full quantity of oil all over the transmission and engine compartment which led to one problem after another and causing us to spend a lot of time in the ECCP (the repair facility) with the guys from REME Battalion hanging upside down in the engine, doing their best to get us back on the road. Unfortunately, once
LCoH Wright’s crew look on as the safety staff tackle another fire
Upon the completion of CT1, the Squadron moved straight into the live firing phase of the exercise which began with the zeroing of our vehicles and rifles followed by a live fire dismounted range. The rapid mounted range progression
CoH Eade working out where he is
46 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
CoH Loftus’s planning session gets a helping hand from our BATUS insider, LCoH Semakula
we moved back onto the area there was only four days remaining of the exercise! After the frustration of being stuck in vehicle repair, my crew and I were keen to crack on and get into the fight despite the proximity of ‘EndEx’ looming over us. The Squadron was exhausted but never faulted in their task. They pushed through with professionalism and drive
up to and beyond the end of the exercise. At EndEx, after completing our final Squadron tasking through the night and a final long road move to a leaguer, everyone was then required to sort all serialised kit and camouflage systems; at this point there was a sudden realisation by the junior troopers that the work was far from over! Once the Squadron
had moved back to Camp Crowfoot, it was a series of full days spent in vehicle wash downs and POL points and tank parks with very late finishes but the idea of a hot shower and a warm bed for the night did well to encourage the lads to work hard and give it that final push before the start of vehicle hand over.
Exercise IRON WAVE C Squadron Adventure Training, Devon, May 2013 by Corporal of Horse McGuire
s the coaches departed into the distance and the main body of C Squadron was left looking at an empty, muddy field, a picture to capture the faces would have been priceless as reality dawned that this was to be their home for the next week. Fast forward two hours and the picture was somewhat different after a lot of ‘can do’ attitudes combined well with hard work and enthusiasm, and the tented lay out and field kitchen was all set up and established and the Squadron was getting stuck into games of football and rugby respectively. What helped matters and morale most was the Ashcombe village hall, located at the top of the field, which opened its bar at 1900 sharp and stayed open as long as was required (within reason). This was a cosy little set out and, after a short lesson in various military topics in the early evening, the Squadron was left to its own devices. Regular cinema trips and trips into town were frequent, ensuring as much civilisation as possible was on offer and many of the guys took advantage of this, whereas others were content to relax in their surroundings. As luck
would have it, our visit combined with a local skittles tournament, which frankly raised a lot of eye brows at first; however the Squadron mixed very well with the locals (especially the female type) and Norman, the Lionel Messi of the skittles world, put in a sterling performance and won over everyone. This was also aided by the refreshments of the bar of course. The main activities were surfing, mountain biking, and walking. Also on offer for small groups were golf, which LCoH Dimbylow took on the task of organisation, aided by LCoH Wincott and LCoH Wilcox. The SQMC also took a small crew fishing daily as well. The Squadron seniors gathered together daily, just after evening meal and batted out a detailed plan for the following day’s activities to run efficiently. With two minibuses, limited drivers and pick up and drop off points covering quite a distance, all had to be covered in detail and as a result, the days passed as smoothly as possible with minimum waiting around. However, the walking group from the first day cheated slightly
No amount of cold and rain can prevent surfers from a little posing!
when they opted to take taxis back to the site from the town of Dawlish, some six miles away. The walk into town was pleasant, however when the heavens opened up with rain it was a different story. Ask anyone in that group though and the general feeling was that they were improvising rather than cheating. Surfing was naturally the lead activity being as we were so close to the coast. Lt Campbell took the lead on this and had liaised in advance with the surf school and booked equipment and assistance. There was a mixed level of experience within the Squadron, from the likes of LCpl Murphy, who has surfed for many years with his South African roots, to Troopers newly drafted to the Squadron from London who had never touched a board before. Everyone regardless enjoyed the opportunity to take to the water, though some more than others and some managed to play the numbers right and surf every day. Other than on the first day, which seemed wetter out of the water than it did in it, the weather was thankfully bright. The nice weather combined with the relaxed vibe and
LSgt Tranter and Tpr Bishop, unphased by hypothermia, are finally convinced to come in
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 47
LCpl Bell wondering where his stabilizers are
surroundings was a pleasant experience for all. The other main organised activity was mountain biking, headed up by LCoH Perry and helped out by LCpl Bell. Both carried out proper recces of the routes and the course, which was some distance and a long climb away from the camp. After attempting on the first day to cycle up to the course, it was decided that for the remainder of the week, the transport would drop off at the course. That said, those who biked that day got a very hard workout which is always good after! Though a demanding sport it is also very adrenalin fuelled which appealed to the soldiers, especially the fast downhill gradients. As the general standard of fitness in the Squadron is high, the troops took to this rather well and, mixed in with the enthusiasm of the instructors rubbing off, it was a challenging and fun activity. When neither surfing or mountain biking, or fishing or golfing, another group would set out on a walk after breakfast. Though it may not sound as much fun as the previous, it was enjoyed in a different manner. The chance to get away from Windsor and the built up areas to the pleasant green of North Devon was refreshing and it was nice to stroll and take in the fresh, clean air. It was led by the Squadron Leader and Troop leaders each day respectively and each day a different route was walked. The most adventurous being the route by the Squadron Leader which led to Exeter, some 18 miles away. Though when their destination was reached there was an opportunity to catch up on any lost energy by feasting on McDonalds and the various other culinary delights that Exeter had to offer.
48 â– Household Cavalry Regiment
Adventure training is a great tradition within the Regiment that allows soldiers to bond and discover new skills, whilst at times being slightly out of their comfort zone. Taking a soldier out of his day to day routine in Windsor and releasing him to the great outdoors for a week has positive affects and increases
morale. That was very much the case here in what is already a formed and tight knit Squadron. None the less, a great deal of work was put into the planning of the week to make it a success. All the Squadron instructors of the various activities used their natural flair for their hobbies to rub off on the students. The SQMC worked tirelessly behind the scenes in order to make everything as efficient and as smooth running as possible. This included all the arranging of tents, portaloos, feeding etc before we even left Windsor and carrying on endlessly whilst we were there. The chefs who deployed with us from HQ Squadron worked very hard in their field kitchen and as a result all the meals they prepared were delicious. None of the above could have happened without the land which was very kindly given to us by the immediate family of Lt Campbell. A special mention must be given to the local villages of Ashcombe, who volunteered their own time to work in the village hall to make us feel very welcome. Their kindness was very welcomed and appreciated by all members of the Squadron and as a result, we returned to Windsor feeling nicely refreshed and ready to take on any challenges that come the way of the mighty C Squadron.
Beach + Sun + Surf = Happiness
Pe� P��r�i� & W�l��i�� A�is� www.portraitsofpets.co.uk
Commissions undertaken from photographs email: firstname.lastname@example.org Quote ref ‘HCJ13’ Karen_theArtist
Household Cavalry Regiment ■ 49
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Foreword
By Lieutenant Colonel P A Bedford, The Blues and Royals Commanding Officer, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
fter a relatively straightforward year, 2014 looks set to offer plenty of diverse opportunities for HCMR. Over the last 12 months, the Regiment has been committed to supporting a variety of Defence Engagement activities, which has seen many small bands of merry men travelling as far afield as Kazakhstan in the East to Canada in the West, and from North to South, from Norway to Bahrain. Closer to home, the Regiment has continued to invest in its established links with foreign mounted units, which has included exchanges in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, as well as reciprocal visits from Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Bahrain and Spain. Below in the diary the Adjutant relays more detail of the comings and goings, but highlights for me have been the visit by HM The King of the Kingdom of Bahrain following on from the visit of his son, Prince Nasser, earlier in the year, and the performance of our team on the Cambrian Patrol, winning a Bronze medal (possibly the first ever from HCMR), as well as a variety of individual sporting successes in swimming, free diving, basketball, volleyball, Tug of War, throw down, Cresta and sailing, to name but a few, all of which are covered in greater detail later in the Journal. Of note, the Army Molokai Canoe Team was formally established at the Royal Canoe Club in Teddington this year, with five out of the eight man Army team coming from the Household Cavalry. The impact of the plethora of ‘change programmes’ affecting the wider Army has been relatively painless for the Regiment. However, the combination of supporting HCR whilst on H18 last year and having to backfill certain equine training activities with manpower due to resource constraints at the Defence Animal Centre, made a steady year more challenging than was hoped for - as everybody who has served at HCMR knows, a few men can make all the difference to soldiers’ quality of life and morale. Nevertheless, there have been plenty of other opportunities and interesting challenges to keep people busy. The Band of The Life Guards supported by elements from the Mounted Regiment, undertook a very successful and enjoyable overseas engagement activity at the Basel Tattoo, in Switzerland. More recently, the Regiment has
re-established its links with the Bahraini Ceremonial Company, building on the visits of HM the King of Bahrain, with a small training team currently in theatre developing their mounted capability. Tranche 3 of the Army Redundancy Programme took its toll, taking a significant chunk of experience from the enabling component of HQ Squadron, which will take time to rebuild. However, the Regiment has not been touched by the recently announced final Tranche 4 - which is great news. Recruiting and retention has remained steady, although a short ‘gap in feed’ as a result of a policy which saw a number of ‘too tall’ trainees pushed to other units (but which has now been updated with a more pragmatic policy) caused a subsequent surge in trainees which, combined with the outdoor riding school in Windsor being out of use due to flooding, has put the Training Wing under considerable pressure and forced the decision to post one ride straight to HCR (they will return 20 months later to complete their equine training and serve at HCMR). Looking to the future, recruiting and maintaining a steady in-flow of soldiers to the Regiment is essential for the wellbeing and reputation of the Regiment. It remains everybody’s business, both serving and retired, to influence positively recruits and recruitment, and it is vital that any delays incurred, which may deter likely candidates from joining the Regiments potentially due to problems with the recently outsourced recruiting capability, are highlighted to the Regiment so that every effort is made to mentor aspiring individuals, who might otherwise be dissuaded from joining. The future of Hyde Park Barracks re-
50 ■ Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
mains an occasional topic of interest ever since the Secretary of State for Defence outlined his aspirations in the Army Basing Plan last year. No formal decisions have been made, as the Army is carrying out due process and reviewing what is the most cost-effective way of accommodating the Mounted Regiment in the future, taking into consideration all potential options, without impacting on HCMR’s mandated outputs. The Corps of Army Music (CAMUS) is in the process of restructuring under the banner of the ‘Future of Army Music (FAM)’; the consequence of which is that the LG and RHG/D bands will reform under a wider umbrella as a new Type 64 (64 personnel - no change to current strength) ‘Household Cavalry Band’ with the current aspiration of being fully established and co-located by 2018. There should be no visible change whilst on parade, but the changes should in theory influence the standard of music in a positive manner - somewhat lost on the tone deaf author. However, the final decision on how to co-locate them remains elusive
and a source of concern for some. Although the medium to long term future of the Barracks remains in the ‘lap of the Gods’, there has been a significant amount of effort invested in upgrading some of the infrastructure to ensure that the quality of life of both horses and men is as good as possible. This has seen ‘tweaking’ to the Officers’ Mess, and the WO’s and NCOs Mess, but more importantly significant upgrading of the stables, re-surfacing of the stable ramps and a valiant attempt to waterproof the ramp over the Band offices. Furthermore, work is currently in hand to refurbish the Peninsula Tower as Single Living Accommodation. This will see soldiers having access to SLAM standard accommodation after a short stint in the traditional block, to one of the best views in the World - work is currently ahead of schedule and should be complete by 31st March 2014. The year ahead has plenty of challenges,
as well as opportunities. Work continues to update and formalise the equine training pipeline, to justify and guarantee resources for the future. Winter Training Troop (WTT) after a very successful season, which saw a record number of young soldiers taking part, will re-form at the end of the year in an even more formalised manner, which will give a greater number of soldiers the opportunity to develop their equine abilities in the amazing Leicestershire countryside. Closer to home, the main effort initially is enabling the successful delivery of the Household Cavalry Presentation of Standards on 28th May 2014. The Parade will take place at Horse Guards in a similar format to the one in 2003, but will be followed later in the afternoon by a Garden Party in Buckingham Palace - the day promises to be a memorable occasion for all. This is all whilst concurrently fulfilling our mandated annual commitments to the State Ceremonial Calendar. The annual deployment to Thetford Training Area
follows on in the Summer, allowing the men and soldiers to get back to basics conducting annual regimental training. Of note, the Regimental Open Day is scheduled to take place at Bodney Camp on Sunday 20th July, to which, we hope as many people will turn up and support as did this year. The Musical Ride is forecast to attend a greater number of events than it has in recent years, with the possibility of an exciting overseas engagement in Scandinavia, after returning from Regimental training. The Regiment bids farewell to Captain Spiller on promotion, and Captains Tom Davie, Charlie Fitzroy and Fred Hopkinson to the World outside, as well as Lts Holliday, Maples, De Ritter and Bacon to the Tp Ldrs course. Furthermore, I am delighted to congratulate WO1 (RCM) Robson on his forthcoming commission and his move to HCR in April 2014. The Regiment also looks forward to the arrival of RCM Ireland, formerly RQMC(T) HCR.
Diary of Events
by Captain P J R Chishick, The Life Guards, Adjutant
The mounted band during The Queen’s Birthday Parade
fter the hectic year of 2012 with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games behind us, we had hoped that 2013 promised to be a somewhat quieter year. Somehow, though, with the Armoured Regiment in Afghanistan, the normal State Ceremonial events still managed to keep the tempo high throughout. The Regiment has taken what few opportunities there have been to get people away for leave, knowing full well that 2014 promises to be another busy year with the Presentation of Standards in late May, concurrent with the start of the Queen’s Birthday Parade preparations. The Major General’s Inspection was the new Commanding Officer’s first parade and after the old football pitches had
been turned into a quagmire, the entire parade was re-located at a day’s notice to Horse Guards Parade on a particularly blustery March morning. This all went smoothly in spite of the weather, and the Regiment then went on Easter Leave. The Regiment then moved 'en masse' to Windsor at the end of April for the State Visit of the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. As ever, the move to Windsor is quite an undertaking, as it comprises a move of 170 of our horses and men from Hyde Park Barracks to Combermere Barracks, cramming ourselves in alongside our Armoured Regiment as well as The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. We were
fortunate, however, in that we had recently completed this routine at the end of 2012, so it all passed smoothly. In this year’s Princess Elizabeth Cup, for the best turned our trooper, the competition was particularly fierce. However, one soldier stood out as having gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his kit was without fault. Tpr Duffy RHG/D was presented with the trophy by HM The Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in front of a huge crowd, who had also gathered to watch the Musical Ride perform. In a small break after the State Opening of Parliament in May, we managed to send a large number of our officers and soldiers on exercise to Penhally in order
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment ■ 51
A statue of Sefton was unveiled at the Royal Veterinary College in October. In the picture (from left to right) are Colonel Neil Smith, Professor Peter Lees, Camilla Le May (the sculptor), Professor Stuart Reid and the Commanding Officer. Those with any memory of this valiant old curmudgeon will not recognise these fine features; but he was a gutsy character.
to complete their annual military training and some much deserved adventurous training. With a full complement of horses in Knightsbridge, the workload shot up for those holding the fort. However, this allowed soldiers to enjoy a few days away from the routine of stables to complete their MATTs. The culmination of the ceremonial season was, as ever, the Queen’s Birthday Parade. This year the Life Guards Standard was on parade and Major Nick Stewart LG, on promotion from his previous job as Regimental Quartermaster, commanded the Sovereign’s Escort as The Life Guards Squadron Leader. This parade saw more remounts pass out than normal; six Life Guards and three Blues and Royals horses were added to the roll, having behaved themselves immaculately throughout the parade. After the Garter Service, we started to gear up for Regimental Training in Thetford, managing to get three weeks away with the entire regiment this year, whilst King’s Troop covered Queen’s Life Guard. This was a good three weeks away for both man and horse enjoying the Thetford countryside, and of course, the famous beach ride, albeit not for the Adjutant who managed to break his ankle. We also welcomed our new RVO Capt Nicola Housby-Skeggs who joined us at the end of camp. A lengthy and well-deserved summer leave then followed, with a relatively calm autumn ceremonial season. As usual we sent members of the Regiment out to Spruce Meadows, details of which can be found in the article by Lt Maples RHG/D.
In a departure from the ceremonial side of the Regiment, a team led by Lt Tom Maples was despatched to South Wales to take part in the Cambrian Patrol. Despite a considerably abbreviated training timeline, and limited training real-estate, the team did very well and returned to London with a very well deserved Bronze Medal - HCMR’s first. In early November we had the State Visit of the President of the Republic of Korea, Ms Park Geun-hye, which was on Horse Guards amidst very wintry conditions, causing the Escort to parade in cloaks for the first time for some time. This was followed in quick succession by the Lord Mayor’s Show with torrential
rain and the usual commitments for Remembrance Sunday. It has been a busy year for the Regiment in Defence Engagement, with a visit from our Swedish counterparts from the Swedish Life Guards in May who returned the favour by hosting two of our officers for a mounted orienteering and equitation skills competition in November. We had Capt Joao Barbosa from our Brazilian mounted counterparts, the Dragoes, on exchange for Regimental Training, as well as a team from the Spanish Royal Guard who visited for the Open Weekend. Two members of the Canadian Governor General’s Horse Guards came over for a fortnight in early September and learned about the complexities of mounted bands. Our relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain were strengthened with a visit by HRH Sheik Nasser, Commanding Officer of the Bahraini Royal Guard, in June and then a visit by HM The King of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the barracks in September with a delegation led by the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor of Hever. We then received
HM The King of Bahrain visited Hyde Park Barracks and was shown around by the Commanding Officer
The Regiment formed up on Horse Guards Parade cloaked for the first time in a while to await the arrival of the President of South Korea
52 ■ Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
three members of the Bahraini Royal Guard for a month at the barracks, getting to grips with the complexities of mounted state ceremonial and plan to send the Equitation Warrant Officer over to Bahrain in early 2014. A team went over to Denmark on a recce for the Musical Ride’s potential visit to take part in the Danish Guard Hussars’ 400th Anniversary celebrations in September 2014. The Band of The Life Guards also went to Basel in Switzerland in July to take part in the Tattoo there over the summer, which was a great success. It has been a busy but successful year for the Mounted Regiment and we look forward to the challenges of 2014 and in particular the Presentation of Standards in May which takes place only once
every ten years. There are also several First World War commemorations taking place next year in which the Regiment will play a part, particularly in Zandvoorde in October 2014. It was a particular pleasure to welcome back to Knightsbridge Brigadier Dunn as the senior officer witnessing the recent kit Ride Pass Out.
Brigadier Dunn inspecting the Kit Ride Pass Out, Hyde Park Barracks
The Life Guards Squadron gressed swiftly into preparation for the Windsor State Visit. The move to Windsor went well and the visit was concluded in the usual fine fashion. Back to Knightsbridge for the weekend and then the State of Opening of Parliament took centre stage. Squadron and Regimental drills were swiftly followed by the EMR (Early Morning Rehearsal), culminating in the State Opening itself which took place on the Wednesday. The Musical Ride and those involved in the Royal Windsor Horse Show then moved immediately back to Windsor to take part. The hectic two weeks were then rounded off by a successful Cavalry Memorial Sunday. Maj Stewart and Standard Party, Queen’s Birthday Parade 2013
he Life Guards Mounted Squadron has once again had a busy year. The autumn of 2012 saw the State Visit take place in Windsor and the Squadron then prepared itself for Christmas leave, the Major General’s Parade and the State Ceremonial season that was to come in 2013. Major C T Meredith-Hardy moved on to civilian pastures and command was passed to Major N M Stewart. The horses returned to the Troops in mid January and were soon going under the SCMs tail scissors and the Tp clippers. The Squadron quickly got to work, building the horses’ fitness and re-modelling them back into parade standard ‘Cavalry Blacks’ rather than the woolly appearances that they had chosen to sport on their return from their winter grass. Having been clipped and pulled into presentable Military Working Horses, they were now ready for the build up
to the Commanding Officer’s Horse Inspection. This went smoothly and the Squadron was deemed fit to prepare for the Major General’s Inspection in late March 2013. Throughout this time the Squadron maintained its constant commitment to the Queens Life Guard. With the Major General’s Parade done and dusted, horse inspections finished and the men well prepped, the season began in earnest. The Squadron was boosted by an influx of new soldiers who had completed the winter riding school. This much-needed manpower would have to sustain the Squadron until the tail end of Regimental Training and through to 2014. Easter leave came and went and the same issue of 50% manning reared its usual ugly head. All worked hard to ensure that things ran smoothly and the Squadron entered the mid season in good nick. The Squadron then pro-
The Monday after began another hectic two weeks, as the Squadron supplied half of its manpower to each week as the Regiment deployed to Penally to conduct the mandatory MATTs training. Although this was a quick turnaround, the feedback from the soldiers was roundly positive and the two weeks were a helpful balance of good training and plentiful amounts of time to relax and bond on both the beaches and in the public houses of Tenby. The fun of Penally over, the men switched focus to Escort Guards and the preparations for the Queen’s Birthday Parade (QBP). The EMR kicked off the programme that saw the Squadron complete the two necessary pre-QBP parades: Major General’s Review and the Colonel’s Review. The QBP itself took place this year on 15th June, commanded by Maj N M Stewart who was doing so as the first LE officer in history to have that privilege. The week prior to the Parade was the Beating Retreat during which The Life Guards turned out for Her Majesty as she entered Horse
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Guards Parade. The following morning we did the EMR for the Garter Service which, as always, is the day before the QBP. Hectic! Sunday brought a welcome rest; Monday brought the Garter Service and with it the end to what was a very busy first half of the ‘silly season’ for all.
LG Squadron paint ball 2013 LG Squadron ready for the ‘Cav Charge’
Now the focus turned towards the necessary preparations for a successful Squadron outing at Regimental Training, held this time not in the usual hallowed grounds of Bodney, but in the rather more discreet West Tofts Camp. Although not in the usual location, Regimental Training was a productive and enjoyable break from the usual Knightsbridge mould. After Op TRYOUT was conducted and tweaked, the men and the officers were able to wind down and concentrate on the fun aspects of riding with the addition of Troop Tests which made a welcome return to the ‘Summer Camp’ calendar. Needless to say, the Squadron had famous victories over our neighbours from upstairs including; joint first place for 2 & 3 Troop on Troop Tests and four out of the top five places went to SHQ (Squadron Ldr, 2 IC, SCM & SQMC) in the seniors show jumping. We were just pipped to the post by the OC Trg Wing Maj Douglas LG who was
riding the Riding Master’s competition horse (we know!). Holkham beach was once again the host for some spectacular photography and the odd bit of slipping and swimming in the cold Norfolk Sea. We had a great day out practicing our ‘pairs fire and manoeuvre’ at the local paintballing site. Some great tactics and paintball bruises to take home. The Squadron returned from Regimental Training having improved their equine skills and generally having had a good time. It was now time for summer leave that was to be the subject of another 50/50 manning block of work and rest, but once again the men worked hard and were able to enjoy themselves over their summer leave away from HCMR. During this period, 18 Troopers were sent up to Melton Mowbray where they completed the B2 course, furthering their understanding of working with horses, all the while the vast majority of the horses were enjoying time away from the Squadron, up at grass in Melton Mowbray. The horses returned
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With the State Visit under our belt, the Squadron provided No.5 Detachment to the marching detachments on the Cenotaph parade for Remembrance Sunday. At the same time members of the Squadron took part in a Remembrance ceremony at the Menin Gate, in the town of Ypres in Belgium. The soldiers later escorted some of the soil taken from Flanders back to London where it was to be interred in the new Flanders Memorial garden within Wellington Barracks. This fine event was the culmination of the Squadron’s State Ceremonial output for 2013. The Squadron can now look forward to a welcome Christmas break. The horses will return in mid January and the men will then begin the task of preparing them for the forthcoming State Ceremonial season. We have had a number of the Squadron who have represented the regiment on various sporting endeavours; Lt De Ritter led the Swimming Team to victory: LCpl Williams and Tpr Gardner took part in the LONDIST ‘Throwdown’ competition (a series of weight lifting and sprints) which they won. LCpl Williams was also successful in his first year in the Cresta by winning the novice cup and LCpl Romankiw also qualified for the Army’s downhill skiing event, but sadly he injured himself. We wish them good luck again this winter. We also have Tpr Marchant currently based with the Army boxing team, where he is putting up a good fight.
SHQ Show jumping 2nd-5th place
Tpr Martin riding Capt Ashby
soon after the soldiers and the preparations began again for the State Visit of the President of South Korea due to take place in early November. The remounts continued to be trained and named with this year’s intake being the ‘N Reg’. This was fortunate for SCM ‘Nudger’ Newell as we now have a new Standard horse which shares his name (Nudger - not Newell).
LCpl Raats and Elliott standing tall on QLG Mount
There are always movements in and out of the Squadron and this year there
have been many. Capt F Hopkinson moved on to yet more hunting, albeit this time in the civilian capacity. Capt G Ashby took over as LG 2IC and Capt R Gordon-Dean returned for another dose of HCMR replacing Lt E Holiday in 2 Troop, who moved to Dorset to complete the Troop Leaders’ course. The Christmas period will see Lt TDA De Ritter move on to a Troop Leaders’
course too and Lt J Campbell and 2Lt CE Lewis will move into the 1 and 3 Troop spots on completion of their Riding School training. CsoH are in a constant rotation and this year saw CoH M Williams move to ATDU as a SCpl, CoH Stafford took up the position of HCTW SNCO and CoH Rawasa embarked on civilian life. We welcome CoH Mowatt back and CoH Snoxell here for
his first time. There was also change in the SQMC department as SCpl S Chinn handed over to SCpl A Slowey. All in all, a successful term for The Life Guards Squadron and we will now await the challenges that 2014 will bring.
The Blues and Royals Squadron
Guards are no match for us, with five of the six finalists coming from The Blues and Royals Squadron. A particular mention must go to Tpr Duffy RHG/D, who single-handily blew the rest of the competition out of the water. Lt Maples RHG/D took the top three competitors to the Spruce Meadows International Horse Festival in Canada, where much fun was had by all. With Squadron and Regimental drills completed and the end of May approaching it was time for the Queen’s Birthday Parade and rehearsals. The Sovereign’s Escort was under a Life Guards Standard while the Squadron was led by Capt Rawdon-Mogg as the Serrefile Captain, with Capt Hills and Ct Maples leading the divisions.
he Blues and Royals Squadron has had yet another busy year, though more traditional compared to the two previous years. The Squadron has, of course, conducted its duties to the highest of standards and thanks must go to all for making this happen. The Squadron received two new officers; Ct Bacon to replace Capt Fitzroy (on retirement) and Ct Maples to replace Capt Owen (posted to Afghanistan as Adjutant of the ISTAR Group). The early part of the year saw the grass horses return in a particularly dishevelled state, resembling woolly mammoths. After a monumental effort from all, a quick wash and scrub behind the ears and a ‘short back and sides’, order was restored. The Squadron then set about the task of building the horses up in preparation for the Commanding Officer’s Horse Inspection and the Major General’s Inspection. The severe weather in March meant that the Major General’s Inspection had to be conducted on Horse Guards Parade. The wind proved to be a test for all, none less than SCM Salina and the Squadron Standard; but, as expected, this was not a problem for him. Having been blown round the parade ground the Squadron was given the seal of approval and preparation began for the ceremonial season ahead.
Dishevelled winter grass horses return
SCM Salina weathers the storm
The season quickly swung into full flow; with the State Visit of The President of the United Arab Emirates in Windsor. After the State Visit the Squadron quickly moved into drills for the State Opening of Parliament; as well as a couple of weeks in Wales in order to complete annual training. The Squadron performed particularly well in the Richmond Cup, proving that The Life
Trooper Lighten in the Richmond Cup Don’t I look smart?
Having successfully completed the Garter Service, the ceremonial season was finally over and the Squadron could set its sights on Regimental Training. The Regiment returned to West Tofts Camp in Norfolk again this year. The Squadron’s time in Norfolk allowed for a comprehensive Op TRYOUT, made more entertaining by the addition of streetliners for the first time. This gave a platoon from No. 7 Company, Coldstream Guards, a chance to test their mettle and an insight in how to avoid startled horses and their riders! Regimental Training saw an improvement in equitation skills all round; not without the occasional non-voluntary dismount - seeing the Sqn Ldr himself taking a trip to the local A&E. The Squadron also had the richly deserved opportunity for both horses and men to relax, with rides through the countryside and beach rides at Holkham. The Troop tests went particularly well, with a strong effort from 3 Troop RHG/D. Regimental Training culminated in the Open weekend which was highly successful this year, seeing record numbers attend with fun had by all. On returning from Norfolk the Regiment enjoyed a well-deserved leave period, with each soldier receiving three weeks leave and the majority of the horses going to grass at the Defence Animal Centre. The LG Band performed at Basel in Switzerland and a group under CoH Cowen went to look after The
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cort with a Standard of The Blues and Royals. This was to be Maj Deverell’s final parade before moving on to new pastures. As usual the Squadron took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show and the Cenotaph Parade on Remembrance Sunday. Simultaneously, members of the Squadron attended the Remembrance Ceremony at the Menin Gate, in the town of Ypres, Tpr Gardner takes it in his stride Belgium. Members of the Squadron later escorted soil from Blues and Royals horses. In October, Lt Flanders back to London where it was Maples and CoH Martin took a team on placed in the Flanders Memorial Garthe Cambrian Patrol, which took place den at The Guards Chapel, Wellington in South Wales - known for its balmy Barracks. At this time we welcomed the temperatures! Unlike other teams who return of Maj Lukas on promotion to had spent months in the Brecon Beacons take on the role of Sqn Ldr. After the training for the event, our commitments state visit, the majority of the horses in London meant that the team had to departed for Leicestershire for a winter train slightly closer to home and only break. Capt Rawdon-Mogg took on the had four weeks in which to do so. On role of Winter Training Troop Officer one particularly cold September morntaking a group of soldiers and horses ing the team could be seen practicing to Melton Mowbray; members of the combat river crossing drills across the Regiment travelled there to complete Serpentine in Hyde Park. As a just reprogressive training and try their hand ward for their efforts, the team returned at Leicestershire hedge hopping while to London with a very well deserved out hunting. Bronze Medal. In summary, the Squadron has had a In November, we returned to normalsuccessful and productive year. Howevity with the State Visit of The President er, 2014 is likely to prove busier with the of South Korea under a Sovereign’s Es-
The 2IC looks lonely
Presentation of Standards on 28th May, as well as the usual silly season. The year has seen a number of SNCOs return to the Armoured Regiment and we wish WO2 Quickfall, SCpl Bonham and CsoH McGuire, Cowan and Preston the best of luck in their new posts. The Squadron also said goodbye to Lt Maples and Ct Bacon, who move on to complete their Troop Leaders’ Course at Bovington, before troop leading at HCR. In return, we welcome Capt Sudlow and Capt Turnor who have spent the last few years as troop leaders at Windsor.
his has been the first year for sometime that our Ceremonial Season resembled anything like a customary year. The Squadron focus has, as always, been to support and administer the Regiment effectively, with all departments working tirelessly to ensure that the Regiment has been prepared and capable of executing another very successful Ceremonial Season.
Regiment to prepare for the numerous inspections that take place prior to the start of the Ceremonial Season. The preparations involved the usual horse and uniform inspections, many overseen by the new Commanding Officer Lt Col P A Bedford RHG/D, where he ensured immaculate standards were set and laid down for the remainder of the year. Much work went into these preparations and the departments are to be The Squadron started the New Year, congratulated firstly on the high standhaving returned from a split Christards achieved, but also for the positive mas break, immediately assisting the manner in which individual soldiers applied themselves. For the Major General’s Inspection, held on Horse Guards due to the poor weather leading the Royal Parks Authorities to ask us to ‘keep off the grass’ in Hyde Park, the Farriers, Saddlers, Tailors and Remount Staff provided excellent support behind the scenes. Other members of the Squadron Fire service rescue demonstration
acquitted themselves well on the parade, both mounted and on the ground as lance markers and security staff. The RAO’s department as always took over
Mundford Cricket Club verses The Household Cavalry
Mundford Cricket Club verses The Household Cavalry - the fan club
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the camp barrack guard. Having completed this first parade successfully, the high standards had been set for the remainder of the year. The new HCTW OC, Maj Warren Douglas, arrived just in time to run the MATTs training period. The usual format was dispensed with; instead a two week bespoke package was arranged and run at Penally Camp, South Wales. Assisted by CoH Todd, in the new role of HCMR Trg SNCO, and a training team including CoH Holliday and Sgt Francis, they covered all the MATT subjects and even found some time to programme in low level AT, including coastal walking, mountain biking and a session at ‘battlefield live’. All who attended, some 190 personnel over two separate periods, the first immediately after attending Cavalry Sunday, agreed that this was a very useful and enjoyable time and should be repeated each year.
‘younger’ mounted Squadrons. SCpl Wood organised a wonderful Squadron day out, firstly Go-Karting, where some of the driving was at best questionable, before a pie and pint at the dogs in Great Yarmouth. The final week of Regimental Training included Ex West Tofts, the first time that ‘Troop Tests’ had been conducted for a few years, and required much thought and participation from Headquarters Squadron members to make it a success. The results were enlightening and have given the Command team, especially the Riding Master Capt Chambers, direction for training in the future, and will see the exercise evolve and adapt for future years. The Potential NCO cadre was run at the same time and saw some very good performances from the Squadron personnel selected to attend. Summer leave was spread over an eight week period; this was due to leave days rolling over for the past few years and
Cpl Simkins Junior Ranks Show Jumping
LCoH Short, Holkham Beach
meant a long and taxing time for those working on each period. Once back to full strength, the remainder of the year was taken in our stride. The interSquadron shooting competition was won by Headquarters Squadron and saw Tprs Flynn and Gillham placed first and second overall. LCpl Harris deserves a special mention for being part of the regimental three man team that won the LONDIST Throwdown competition before getting through to the final of the Tri-service competition. We now look forward to Christmas leave, once the Carol Service, Troopers lunch, QM’s drinks and Brick Hanging have been negotiated.
The Comd Offr at Holkham Beach
Major Douglas strikes a pose
The customary deployment on Regimental training in Norfolk was undertaken in early July and for the second year the Regiment was stationed in West Tofts Camp. We were rewarded for a successful, hassle free deployment with glorious weather. This made our time in Norfolk all the more enjoyable and inspired HQ personnel to cover themselves with glory in the various equine competitions. LSgt Hanley won the junior ranks and Maj Douglas the senior ranks show jumping competitions. The Squadron also won the inter Squadron sports competition to the dismay of the
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LCoH Tingley receives his LSGC from the Gen George Norton with his wife Holly
We have said farewell to the following during the year: Capt Davie, WO2 Hackman, Price, SSgt Ace, CsoH Hession, Kendle, Todd, Wyard, Sgt Kenyon, LCsoH Halligan, Keep, Smith, Tate, White, LCpls Croft, Galloway, Malaney and Tprs Cliffe and North. Padre Beaver Field Service Regimental Training
Finally we would like to congratulate LCoH and Mrs Worsey on the birth of their daughter, Elsa Jean.
Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess by Warrant Officer Class 1 (RCM) D H Robson
he Mess started the year by saying farewell to WO1 (RCM) W D Brown on his retirement to civilian life and welcomed the new Regimental Corporal Major WO1(RCM) D H Robson on promotion from HCR. His first function as RCM was the State of the Nation Dinner, also a first for Lt Col Bedford in the role of Commanding Officer. The Comd Offr had a hard act to follow in the drinking stakes after his predecessor managed to drink one and a half bottles of Champagne from the Badger’s Head whilst delivering his speech on the state of the nation the previous year. While that dubious mark was not matched, however, the traditional sweepstake was more interested in the length of time it would take and not how much was drunk. For once, CoH Todd just about managed to stay awake during the speech! This year the Mess has undergone some much-needed renovations. New carpets and curtains have been fitted throughout. The seats and tables refurbished, and the bar has had new shutters fitted. Even the statues in the entrance had a makeover, repainted head to toe in white. A much needed new lift has been fitted so no more claustrophobia for guests and mess members getting stuck for hours on end while everyone else is enjoying the new beers, bitters and ciders we have on tap from our new supplier Sherpherd Neame. Various members of the Mess were lucky enough to be guests at the Matt Hampson Six Nations Charity Dinner at The Grange, St Pauls, which was attended by various England rugby players including Ben Youngs and Tom Crofts amongst others. Tables at this event were selling for over £3,000. The Mess has continued to host various England Rugby Buffet nights for the Matt Hampson Foundation throughout the year, one of which included Freddie Tualagi performing the Haka for the guests. The Ceremonial Season this year seemed quiet in comparison to the previous couple of years. We had a spring State Visit in Windsor for the President of the UAE and the customary State Opening of Parliament. This year’s Standard Bearer for the Trooping was WO2 (SCM) Newell LG. The weather held out long enough for the Regiment to get back to camp before unleashing a torrential downpour that soaked the off-coming Queens Life Guard. The Parade was followed by a three course meal in the Mess for members and their families. Regimental training took place at West
Tofts for a second year and, with Ex TRYOUT completed it, was time for the annual show jumping competitions, with the RCM and LG SCM the highest placed SNCO’s and the Vet Tech the best placed Junior. The customary Games Night was organised by the Riding Staff and in the absence of the officers, it turned into a more civilised event rather than the win at all cost regardless of the consequences approach it normally takes.
dance the night away to popular cheesy tunes. A dance-off took place with the RCM challenged by LCpl Joyce, who threw down some slick moves and left the RCM standing! It was rumoured the love child of Kanye West and Pat Sharp was in attendance but this was later quashed as it transpired it was in fact the LG SCM in a wig and dodgy shades.
RCM being presented his 6th placed rosette
After summer leave, the Mess held the annual summer ball at the Tower Hotel organised by WO2 (SCM) Salina. The evening was a great success with views over Tower Bridge to the front and St Catherine’s Dock to the rear housing the Queens Diamond Jubilee barge; you could not have asked for a better setting. The prize draw added entertainment with strict rules, countdowns and redraws for some of the best prizes seen in recent years at an annual function. The Mess was the venue for the Brains Trust and Household Cavalry Foundation Charity dinner An Evening with Julian Fellowes. With Warrant Officers hosting tables, the evening flowed through the dinner and auction to the speech by Lord Fellowes on his life as an actor, writer and director. This was followed by a Q&A session on anything the guests wanted to know about him; unsurprisingly, most questions related to Downton Abbey. The Christmas season was seen in with a Flash Dance/80’s theme night. Members of the Mess and their guests donned their best spandex pants, fluorescent headbands and leg-warmers to
LG SCM “he’s got moves like Jagger!”
This year the Mess Dined Out and said farewell to various personalities on completion of their 22 years service in the Regiment. These included WO1 (RCM) McNamara, WO2 (EWO) Hackman, SCpl Parks and LCoH Frampton. The Mess wishes them well in their futures in civilian life. The Mess also said goodbye and congratulations to WO2 (RQMC) Gibson on his promotion to Regimental Corporal Major at HCR. He leaves us after nearly three years as both LG SCM and RQ. The Regiment welcomed WO2 (RQMC) Santi from HCR, who took on the role of RQ. Senior Mess members are: WO1 (RCM) D H Robson RHG/D, WO1 (BM) C Hales LG, WO2 (RQMC) M Santi, RHG/D, WO2 (SCM) K Newell LG, WO2 (SCM) S Salina RHG/D, WO2 (SCM) C Walker RHG/D, WO2 (SCM) C Crighton RHG/D, WO2 (BCM) M Redman LG, WO2 (EWO) S Nicholls RHG/D, WO2 (Farrier Major) N Sherlock RHG/D and WO2 M Peet LG.
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by Captain R Chambers, The Life Guards
busy year again! But then they all are. The year started with a change of Commanding Officers, seeing Lt Col Paul Bedford RHG/D arrive in early 2013 having never served at the HCMR before. The first task was to ensure he was able to command the Regiment on the first parade of the year, the Major General’s Inspection. All seemed to be going well until we had a change of venue. With Hyde Park being waterlogged a switch to Horse Guards Parade was made. It was very much a relief when all went without a glitch; the Commanding Officer was awarded his Mounted Dutyman Certificate by the Major General after the parade to mark the day. The new remounts continue to roll through their training and have been steadily reaching the troops as the year has gone on, this year the registration letter is ‘N’ so names such as Nemesis, Nowzad and Nad Ali are but a few of the names used. There was also a young drum horse passed out at the end of 2012; Churchill was used on the Windsor escort at the end of November and was given the name Adamas, this being the Latin for diamond in the year of Her Majesty’s 60th anniversary year, was quite an appropriate one. Adamas has gone from there to participate in the British Military Tournament at Earls Court and in 2013 was used on the Major General’s Parade and the Lord Mayor’s Show. The Riding Staff has seen a few changes in 2013 with postings and personnel leaving on completion of their colour service. WO2 Gene Hackman stepped off after 24 years and is now working with a polo team. SCpl Griffiths has
Peninsula Ride at Regimental Training
moved to the Household Division, SCpl Betts is an instructor at the Defence Animal Centre delivering training to the future rough-riders and instructors for the HCMR. The Staff continues to compete at the highest level: with the Royal Tournament returning to the normal time of year in June, it was a good chance for around 25 members of the Regiment to try their luck in competition. The senior classes continue to run as qualifying classes towards the Services Jumping Championship at the Olympia International Horse Show. This year saw three members of the Regiment qualify: the Riding Master, SCpl Broom and Sgt Handley the Veterinary Technician at the HCMR. They will be competing on 17th December 2013.
A short visit to Bahrain for the Commanding Officer and Riding Master in September was quickly followed up by a return visit from the Bahrain Defence Force Mounted Company for a month in November. This was to plan for a short term training team to Bahrain in early 2014 to help develop the training of the riding instructors and soldiers for the mounted company. It will also help with farriery training as well as State Ceremonial Parade work. Looking forward to 2014, it is expected to once again be a ‘very busy year’ with the highlight for both Regiments being the receiving of new Standards from Her Majesty The Queen in May.
Winter Training Troop 2013-14 by Captain J Rawdon-Mogg, OIC
here are few other activities on a horse that improve confidence, balance and ability and are more exhilarating than riding across country to a pack of hounds that are hunting a trail. There are few days when the horse box returns to the yard without tales of adventure and derring-do. As the winter progresses, the number of involuntary dismounts increase (as well as the size of the hedges) but the one consistent factor is that each and every day presents the rider with a different challenge. While out hunting the rider needs his wits about him in order to overcome each and every obstacle whilst looking out for the welfare of his horse, and those around him.
With this in mind, the Household Cavalry Winter Training Troop is set up each autumn in Leicestershire for the use of all ranks of the Household Division. This year the Troop is mixing trail hunting with developmental training, designed to improve the riding skills of troopers who have only experienced horsemanship in the Household Cavalry Training Wing. While some troopers do not go hunting, any time that a soldier can spend away from the limited training Hyde Park Barracks is valuable time. The Defence Animal Centre has fantastic facilities including three riding schools, a canter track, cross-country schooling lanes and a full cross country
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course. These are invaluable and can be used to great effect. CoH Lee Golder is the second-in-command of the WTT this year and has been able to make the necessary changes in order to conduct first-rate training. While the troop hunts four days per week, the horses back at the yard have done flatwork, show jumping and cross-country. This will develop in time and will in the future deliver a training course that is currently sorely needed. The riding experience that soldiers gain is only half of Winter Training Troop. Back in the yard, each soldier has real responsibility for the horses. Sound horse management is absolutely vital when looking
after horses that are so active and the amount that soldiers learn from this reaps dividends when their experiences are applied down in London.
The product of winter training is a display of some excellent riding skills!
The Royal Wessex Yeomanry Ride is an annual event that takes place on the Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire. After selecting our fittest horses and conducting various training sessions, we drove the long distance to Badminton to join the field. As always there are two divisions in the race; thoroughbreds and Cavalry Blacks; considering this, we had some excellent results. Three riders finished the race in excellent style, while a couple of our younger horses decided that they did not appreciate Cotswold dry-stone-walling at all! This being said, everyone learned something from their ride and had a good time. We are grateful to the Beaufort and the local organis-
ers for the opportunity. Winter Training Troop has evolved from the days of old when it was purely an officer activity into a forward-leaning training centre focussed on the development of soldier equitation. Looking to the future, WTT still has, and always will have, an extremely important role to play in the life of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and to the wider Household Division. Most importantly it is still fun, something that the Army should strive to keep at the heart of all activities. It is a huge privilege to be the Winter Training Troop Leader and without doubt the most satisfying sight of the season is a trooper returning to Melton Mowbray after a successful day out. Every single time it is smiles all round.
The Musical Ride
by Captain G R J Ashby, The Life Guards
he Musical ride has performed well over the past year but sadly not as often as we’d like to have done. The bad weather and lack of large commercial events early in the season rather crushed the grand plans of the then Musical Ride Officer, Captain Fred Hopkinson. Disappointingly for the show itself and the Musical Ride, the Lambourn Show was cancelled meaning that the Soldiers and horses did not have a chance to test and adjust the performance before performing in front of the Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty The Queen. The Royal Windsor Horse Show was upon them, and after innumerable build up sessions to get horses fit and soldier’s skills honed, they were ready. The Riding Master and his team had put many extra hours in and the stage was set. The pace of the event was certainly a
very welcome break from the daily hustle of the Regiment: CoH Grice had cemented all the elements immaculately. The Ride performed three times during the show. Her Majesty watches the Ride at the show every year and has a beedy eye for detail. Captain Fred Hopkinson asked for permission to carry on and The Queen was happy. A successful start to the season! Every so often the Musical Ride attends a non-annual event, giving a chance for the Household Cavalry’s soldiers to show their flexibility. The Ride’s format did not fit the Berkeley Homes Event which was to happen on Horse Guards Parade. The show had to be done in trot rather than the usual canter. The Riding Master altered the show and the team produced an impressive performance. The Musical Ride was there to show itself as the gem that it is in London’s
Ceremonial Crown jewels. The Major of London, Boris Johnson watched with, we hope, a certain amount of pride that the Grand Finale evokes in every Briton when the Union Flag is carried out at the charge. Regimental Training and the Household Cavalry Open Day was the third and final event in which the Ride took part. The weather was sweltering and the crowd had been pumped up from several other entertaining performances during the day. The conditions were sticky and dusty but it was another performance of which to be proud. The end of the show saw a salute given to the Captain of the Musical Ride; Fred Hopkinson was toasted out of the position and sadly into ‘Civvie Street’! The author will be proudly taking over for 2014.
Household Cavalry Training Wing by Major W Douglas
n March 2013, Capt Tom Davey handed over the reins of the Household Cavalry Training Wing (HCTW). As observant readers will notice the active word is Training, both here in Windsor and at Knightsbridge, with other curricular activities including continuation training and a dash of green thrown in the mix. As soon as I arrived, I was politely informed that I would be required for the Major General’s Inspection as the Escorting Officer. It was one that I would relish, as having not been in the saddle for a while, a Frockcoat and white gloves made the transition that little bit easier.
Over the past nine months as the Training Officer, I have seen nine rides pass through the door. The ‘Too Tall’ policy backfired on the RAC and I found another 15 young soldiers requiring training to add to the already frantic sausage machine factory. The first thing on my agenda having returned from AFV Gunnery School as OC Light Armour, was to firm up and finish off the formal Systems Approach to Training process on paper. Thanks to CoH Burton and Scholes who have continued to provide me with the relevant information to complete the
course folder. One can say that we are now DSAT compliant. As this Journal goes to press, four officers will have passed through the factory and are now in HCMR enjoying duties and no doubt extras! We have seen a mix of Phase 2 recruits, soldiers transferring from other regiments, the Band and the occasional H Div soldier in Windsor. At one point there were 60 Soldiers under Training, all in Windsor and for three months without the outdoor manage due to a waterlogged surface. This seems to be a perennial problem; a ‘statement of need’ has gone
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to DIO to supply a roof to avoid this distraction; we wait to see what money is left in the pot! The SCM, Ride NCOs and the Riding Staff have all worked tirelessly throughout the year providing high standards of teaching, kit cleaning lectures and administration, not forgetting the SQMC who beavers away in the background making the training environment a better place to work. The deployment to Regimental Training this year was particularly rewarding. We took two rides with us, South Africa and Peninsula, and South Africa actually passed off a week before Open Day. It was agreed that the highlight of Regimental Training was the day at Holkham Beach. Most of you would have seen the photograph of Ink Spot, known as the ‘Water Horse’ by LCoH Short, taken that very day; it really summed up one of the best days out during the three week deployment. In late March the Regiment deployed on a MATT concentration to Penally in
HCTW day out
South Wales. This allowed the Regiment to rotate through the training and get away for a week to conduct MATTs in a more relaxed environment without distractions. Although the pain was
WO2 Crighton and LCpl Hockey bird watching
felt by the soldiers back in London, it proved to be a very successful package, so much so that we have booked again for this year. Thanks must go to the very professional training team that deployed. Pay back was a day out sea fishing on the changeover where Sgt Francis declared that he would catch his tea. We caught nothing, so after the trip he went off to the café for cod and chips. As the year draws to a close, we have said goodbye to Capt Tom Davey who had managed to double up as Troop Leader and OC HCTW and left the ship on course, CoH Todd from HCMR Training Wing and CoH Kendle who have both moved on to pastures new and we wish them the very best of luck. CoH Burton has now taken his experience to London replacing CoH Todd and sits in the training wing providing continuity and course booking. CoH Thomas has recently moved into Coach Troop, he will be moving coach and horses to London every Tuesday for continuity training. Training, either equine or green, continues to gather pace; we are raising standards and interrogating our methods for the good and benefit of all.
by Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel J Lewin
013 has seen a new era set in for the HCMR Medical staff, with the first RAMC medic posted in, and the transfer of the Household Cavalry medics across to their new life in the RAMC. Only Tpr Mathews has managed to hang on to his capbadge; for now anyway. CoH (Sgt) Hession has disappeared off to Germany and LCpl Dominey to HCR,
to be replaced by LSgt Kennedy (pureblood RAMC) and LSgt White-Doyle, who managed within the space of a few months to wear four different rank slides, with varying numbers of stripes and crowns. Additionally, there has been a change of RAMC Assistant Surgeons, with Capt F Atkinson departing to begin his GP training, and the arrival
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of Capt P Lewis. LSgt Kennedy has got to grips taking over the running of the Medical Centre, adjusting well to the differences that make Knightsbridge so special. He did get a little confused in his early weeks, thinking we were speaking another language, and has since taken it upon
EUFOR deployment on Op ELGIN. His performance as ambulance driver was somewhat diminished by his inability to prophesy quite what the local drivers could do to further Darwinian selection. The BFA was written off on our first deployment after a collision with another car; replaced with an air-conditioned four wheel drive hire car, we couldn’t really complain. Any complaints we had related to the blatantly unjust decision to fly the Company Group back to UK two days before we earned our EUFOR medals. Some thought was put into whether medical registration would be called into question if the whole company was bedded down for two days, and made unfit to fly.
Blue Squadron Leader and the Adjutant off to hospital, waiting until the Surgeon Colonel had left the training area, and calling in the air ambulance at the drop of a hat.
Op ELGIN - LSgt White-Doyle didn’t want to leave Bosnia without a medal
himself to learn Cantonese. Whether this eases his confusion, it is too early to say, but he seems very happy with his following of attractive Chinese girls (at least we think they are girls...). The linguistic skills of the Medical Centre seem irrepressible as Tpr Mathews has scored highly on his language assessments, and hopes to move on to learn Arabic, after a brief deployment to the exotic charms of Salisbury Plain on exercise. LSgt White-Doyle cheeked an operational deployment, accompanying the Surgeon Colonel and Lt De Ritter, out to Bosnia as part of the Irish Guards
Surg Lt Col Lewin has an audience with the Queens Op ELGIN - The Irish Guards were charming hosts
Summer Camp had its moments of drama, surprisingly not related to the Surgeon Colonel being goaded into riding by Capt Lewis, who herself quickly reached a similar level of equestrian mastery. She also managed to send both
As for the Medical Centre itself, the year has seen a much needed refurbishment, and makeover in a very tasteful blue. Our civilian staff has continued to provide much needed continuity, with Mrs Addison and Sister Cargill holding the fort, and even knitting blue-red-blue stockings to decorate the reception at Christmas.
by Major N Housby Skeggs RAVC
he New Year kicked off with the very successful Cavalry pairs shoeing competition, expertly run by LCoH Bliss and won by C’soH McCabe and Thomas. Later in the year the international shoeing competition was held, where a stunning Damascus knife, made by CoH McCabe, was auctioned for £470 for Cancer Research.
Munoz Hermosa have completed skill at arms courses further bolstering their value within the Regiment. LCpl Dailly has completed his Hazmat training and C’soH McCabe, Thomas and LCoH Bliss have completed fire courses. LCpl Harris won the Army thrown-down competition and LCpl Dailly is in the running for the HCMR polo team!
Hard fought for apprenticeships were secured by LCpl Cooney, LCoH Pettit and LCoH Jones, who joined the forge in April and have made excellent additions to the team since completing their Class 3 Course at the DAC in the summer. LCpl Hansen achieved his Diploma this year as well as his promotion to LCoH and has taken over running the forge in Windsor. Other promotions included LCpl Wade and CoH Tingley, who is currently earning his keep as Farrier for the Winter Training Troop in Melton Mowbray.
CoH Thomas has chosen to take on a new challenge with the Coach Troop in Windsor; a very sad loss for the forge but he has been recently spotted with a hoof knife and is always on hand to share his pearls of wisdom!
As well as a busy year keeping horses on the roads, CoH McCabe and LCpl
Major O’Flynn departed the unit in June following three years with HCMR: during her time with the Regiment she initiated the large animal rescue training, acted as sports officer for all the regimental rugby players as well as caring for all the horses! We wish her all the best as OC 102 MWD Sqn. Big thank yous are owed to Maj Budge
Corporal Major Sherlock - Sparks fly in the forge
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(VO DAC) who covered the very busy interim period following Maj O’Flynn’s departure, and Capt Tannahill who provided cover for the band in Basal. Capt Housby Skeggs took the reins as RVO at the end of July and promoted in November. The veterinary department has
been focussed on retiring some of the golden oldies ready for the remounts to take over during the spring ceremonial period. LSgt Handley, AKA Supertech, has had a lot of success with her partner in crime
Dior. They competed at Royal Windsor and The Royal Tournament qualifying for the services class at Olympia this Christmas. She also won the veterans cross-country running class.
The Band of The Life Guards by Major P C Wilman
n July 2013, after many months of planning, The Band of The Life Guards travelled to Basel in Switzerland to take part in the now world famous Basel Tattoo. Considering the Tattoo has only been running since 2006 it is remarkable that it is now the second largest show of it's kind, second only to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which has been in existence since 1950 and has a pedigree all of its own. The success of the Basel Tattoo is due in no small part to the energy and vision of its organiser Erik Julliard and in particular his excellent knowledge of performers from around the globe whose participation make the show the spectacle it is today.
of key personnel from HCMR who were invaluable in assisting with the day-today stable work and the general welfare of the horses.
Major Paul Wilman, Director of Music of the Band of The Life Guards, has had a close affiliation with the Tattoo for a number of years, having previously performed there with The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland and also having been a guest conductor on occasion. Naturally, he therefore had a desire to perform there with the Band and so the wheels were set in motion to perform as a full mounted band. Many people in the Band would not have known how much effort went into actually getting the band there in the first place, and a great deal of thanks must be given to the Band's SQMC SCpl Alex Groves who used his experience of doing the Tattoo with his previous band The Blues and Royals to great effect. Although the Band is well used to touring abroad, it is unusual to perform as a mounted band and the logistical headache of travelling with horses was evident from the outset. Luckily, we took with us a number
The Basel Tattoo
The Band set off by coach on the evening of 14th July and everyone was in high spirits even though the prospect of a potential 16 hour journey appealed to few. As expected, the journey took its toll and the Band arrived feeling somewhat jaded and ready for a few hours sleep to recharge the batteries. Luckily an advance party had already set up the stables and the horses, having travelled separately, were already settled in. The Band's accommodation for the duration of our stay in Basel was the magnificent Ramada Hotel which, as the tallest building in the city, had commanding views over towards the old town and the Rhine. The hotel had everything to offer and provided a welcome haven from both the smell of the stables and the high daytime temperatures. After a short period of acclimatisation, it was down to work with a full week of rehearsals on the horizon in preparation for the following week's shows. This would see the Band performing The Band of The Life Guards form up at the Basel Tattoo two shows per day,
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one of which was a matinee during the hottest hours of the day. This in itself would in many ways test both horses and personnel to their limits.
Major Paul Wilman leads the Band of The Life Guards at the Basel Tattoo, Switzerland
The rehearsal week was undoubtedly the Band's most testing time during the stay in Basel as we tried to perfect our musical display whilst also getting ourselves and the horses used to the incredible daytime heat. A great deal of time was spent in the arena trying to perfect the logistical elements of our part in the show. As always our trumpeters would take centre stage at some point and the difficulty was finding where exactly to add this as there was already an opening sequence planned with fanfare trumpeters from the other bands. After visiting a few potential scenarios, it was decided that four mounted trumpeters and a drum horse would enter and do a circuit of the arena led by the Director of Music. They would then halt in the centre of the arena and open the show with the fanfare State Occasion followed immediately by the massed bands' opening fanfare sequence. This was a huge honour for the trumpeters even though it meant extra time in the saddle, as the remainder of the Band were not appearing until later on in the show. As soon as the trumpeters had exited the arena
The Life Guards at the Basel Tattoo
following the fanfare they had to swap horses with the clarinet rank, as the grey horses used on the fanfare team were needed for the back rank of the mounted band. This had to be an extremely slick manoeuvre in order to be on top of our horses before the fireworks were set off, as the last place you want to be when this happens is half way onto a horse! We learned quickly and after a couple of days there were no surprises. The Band's display was split into two parts, one of which was a stand alone mounted band display to the music A Cavalry Montage, a selection of well known cavalry tunes arranged by L/ Cpl Ben Ruffer. This was followed by another of L/Cpl Ruffer's arrangements in the form of the theme from Skyfall, made famous by the singer Adele, and sung flawlessly time and time again by Musn Amy Appleby. This part of the display involved Musn Appleby entering the arena on a Cavalry Black and dismounting to perform the vocal number accompanied by a group of Highland Dancers. The second part of our display was in conjunction with the Italian Mounted Band of the Carabinieri,
who were mounted on smaller grey horses and produced a thoroughly skilful and entertaining set of classic Italian tunes. We combined as one mounted band to the strains of Slaves' Chorus from Nabucco before exiting the arena to the stirring sounds of the local Basel march - Wettstein March. Even if the display seemed relatively sedate to us, there were hidden pitfalls. The arena was fairly small and demanded that we turned quite sharply at each end; however, if the turn was made too quickly it could pose a problem for both horse and rider. In these situations experience is invaluable and confidence in our abilities coupled with plenty of rehearsal led to a smooth run of shows. Despite the busy schedule and long hours, the Band took every opportunity to relax and enjoy all that was on offer in this beautiful city. It has to be said that the main attraction was Rhine swimming. We soon worked out that the locals all had waterproof bags into which they put their clothes and valuables. These were then inflated and held onto as you floated down the river underneath the bridges stopping now and
again for a spot of sun bathing or a cold drink at one of the many riverside bars and restaurants. This was also found to be the perfect way to recover from the previous night's excesses! As the second performance of the Tattoo finished late in the evening, we were rarely finished before 11pm by the time we had completed the 10 minute ride back to the stables and turned the horses in. With this all completed, everyone was ready to head back to the arena and into the fantastic cast bar which, as luck would have it, was open most nights until quite early in the morning. It was a truly amazing atmosphere in the bar as each act took it in turn to provide a live band for the evening. A number of the Band have said that the highlight of the entire Basel trip was experiencing the live music performed every night. It really opened our eyes to the wealth of talent that exists in the other military bands around the world.
Musician Amy Appleby sings the theme from Skyfall at the Basel Tattoo
In reflection, I think it is safe to say that the Basel Tattoo of 2013 will live long in the memory of all who took part, not only from The Band of The Life Guards, but also from the other elements of HCMR who made the trip possible. In the world we currently inhabit, where musicians are regularly posted between bands, it is tours like this that make bands what they are and make the musicians within so passionate about the job they do.
The Robin Chapel by Cornet C M I Bacon
idway through Summer Regimental Training, the Commanding Officer, Regimental Corporal Major, the author and a Richmond Cup runner-up from each Squadron were asked to attend the Jubilee Remembrance Service of Lt Robin Tudsbery RHG. The service was to be attended by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. It was to be a poignant service for Her Majesty, as during the early years of World War 2 Robin had been assigned to command the armoured troop that would move the Royal Family to Scotland in the case of an invasion.
This took him to Balmoral Castle, Windsor Castle and Sandringham, in close contact with the family. His charming and kind persona, coupled with the fact that there were very few suitable gentleman of the same age not on the continent fighting, made it only natural that a strong rapport would be built between him and the Royal Family, including the then Princess Elizabeth. In 1944, Robin was posted to 1 HCR in southern Italy for the advance through the country into Germany. Upon the news of his new assignment, The King
presented him with a pair of cuff links with the Royal cypher, remarking that he didn't know why he was giving him such a gift as he would most likely lose them. Robin was the last Allied officer to be killed before VE Day was announced. Worse still, his parents were informed of the tragedy two nights before the end of the war in Europe. While leading his troop through lower Germany, his vehicle went to overtake the leading vehicle when it struck a naval mine that the German local forces had laid as part of their last ditch attempts
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tinue immediately and we found our way around the crater and carried on towards our objective. A ceasefire came into operation about a week later and I made my way back to the site of the explosion with a Regimental Padre and a detachment of men from Robin’s troop. The wreckage of the car covered a large area and the remains of Robin and his crew were difficult to recognise. However, we collected what was left of them and gave them a Christian burial together beside the road. Some years later whilst stationed in Germany I went back to the scene and to the nearest British Military Cemetery where I found Robin and his crew buried together as they had been all those years earlier.”
The Robin Chapel
at halting the allied advance into the Fatherland. The Duke of Wellington was leading the squadron at the time as the Sqn Ldr had gone to receive orders. The Duke recently recalled this incident: "In the spring of 1945 the Guards Armoured Division was given the task of sweeping across the plain of North Germany with its final objectives being Cuxhaven, the German Naval Base and Hamburg. The Division moved north in a two pronged advance with 1HCR on the left and 2HCR on the right. On 30th April Lt Robin Tudsbery commanded the leading troop of A Sqn 1HCR. On that particular day Major Murray Smith, Sqn Ldr of A Sqn 1HCR, was temporarily absent and I was the acting Sqn
Ldr. Our advance was slow owing to the enclosed nature of the country through which we were travelling and the destruction of bridges and culverts by the German defence forces which consisted of a force of German Marines who were laying sea mines and a formation of the Hitler Youth. I was travelling that day in my armoured car with Squadron Headquarters about 200 yards behind Robin Tudsbery’s troop. At about midday there was a tremendous explosion ahead of us and I had an immediate report that Robin Tudsbery’s armoured car had been blown to pieces by a sea mine and he and his two man crew were dead. I went forward in my armoured car and at the scene of the explosion was a huge crater and total devastation of trees and other features. The advance, however, had to con-
Throughout the war Robin kept correspondence with The Princess and his family, quick to play down the events he saw before his eyes and instead always remarking on the need to care further for the soldiers wounded in action. With this in mind, days after the report of his death reached his parents, they began to plan the creation of the Thistle Foundation, and consequently the constructs of The Robin Chapel, in tribute to the full and far reaching life that Robin lived. It is a remarkable chapel, with every detail thought of with care, with many small intricacies that reflect Robin’s life. For any Household Cavalryman passing by Edinburgh, a quick stop to admire the work of the Thistle Foundation and the life and sacrifice of a ‘True Blue’ such as Lt Robin Tudsbery should not be missed.
Bosnia: Exercising with the EU Force by Lieutenant T G A De Ritter
n April 2013, Number 1 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards (1IG) was tasked to deploy to Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide a rapid reaction company to help support Exercise Quick Response Opreh 2.2. The Operational Rehearsal was to be a key event for the Multinational Battalion (MNBN) permanently based in Sarajevo as part of EUFOR. The event would culminate after a period one day short of a month in a Distinguished Visitor’s Day to be attended by the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACE), General Sir Richard Shirreff KCB CBE. Practically, we were to test the integration of a UK Company into the MNBN fold and indeed whether the EUFOR force was ready to respond to a rapid tasking from inside Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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EUFOR Blackhawk touches down
I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed. Also answering the trawl, were two other members of HCMR: Surgeon Lt Col Lewin RHG/D and LCpl WhiteDoyle RHG/D - both presently serving within the HCMR medical centre. Making up the rest of the attachments were an Intelligence Corps analyst, a team from 1IG LAD and a signaller. The attachments complete, the company was fully manned and ready to deploy. So it was on a cold and wet April morning, that the company met up before the weekend’s deployment at Mons Barracks in Aldershot. It was clear that this was going to be a short deployment focusing on key engagement with the MNBN and the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH). We would also be conducting some FIBUA training with the Austrian Armed Forces detachment, currently the lead element in the MNBN.
Exercising Troops Inspection
Arriving in Sarajevo, the Company began to settle in to routine life at Camp Butimir, located a short distance away from the main international airport and historically the frontline during the siege that engulfed the ancient city during the Balkans War in the 1990s. With the first few days devoted to basic planning, some very odd European drill, and administration of the vehicles, the men quickly got to work. Tasked as the Liaison Officer, my first
job was to touch base with my Austrian counterpart and greet the Turkish and Hungarian parties that had newly arrived in time for the exercise beginning at the end of the first week. The exercise then began with a road move down to Rajlovac Camp. After a few days, the soldiers of No 1 Company soon realised that the pace of life working with AF BiH and the MNBN was not exactly akin to the general fast pace tempo of a UK operational battalion. But then we weren’t deployed to test the tempo of the MNBN; we were there to support it. So although at times the pace was slow, when required the men stepped up a gear and demonstrated the capability of a well trained and efficient infantry company. The skills and drills demonstrated and their sheer effectiveness were quickly grasped by the MNBN commanders and the company then found itself mainly confined to an enabling role so as to allow the Austrian, Hungarian and Turkish soldiers to take the lead and benefit the most from the training. The live exercise was concluded with the Austrian Liaison Officer’s favourite catchphrase: the “Dynamic Display.” This involved an array of activities including a Public Order demonstration, some casualties and the Austrian Army’s mad and bad helicopter rescue team, who proceeded to execute one of the most extraordinary manoeuvres in order to extract a casualty from a Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) House. A memory that will stay with most of those that deployed. The final week was spent mainly working with the Austrian Army and the greater freedom this provided allowed for some very worthwhile FIBUA training and was enjoyed thoroughly by all. The setting at Rajlovac provided the perfect backdrop to some hard, gritty room clearances and the benefit of having a large and very complex building all to ourselves shone through as the soldiers got stuck in. With the FIBUA training complete, there was a chance for one and all to get out into Sarajevo and really explore the fantastic city that it is. Culturally very interesting, the city is still affected by the events of the 1990s and some worthwhile museum visits enabled many
of the soldiers to gain a deeper understanding of what had happened during the siege, the historical context to the situation, and further enforced the need for future deployable units to engross themselves in the recent history so that in the event of a rapid deployment all those involved would be able to influence the environment once the situation stabilized. There was also some considerable Adventure Training (AT) and a day set aside specifically for a historical tour of not only Sarajevo but the small town of Gorazde, situated some 50 miles to the South West, which saw some of the heaviest shelling and involved still serving members of 1IG. The tour guide, a very charismatic Bosnian-Muslim named Muki, had himself seen action during the war, attached to British armed forces in the area and gave a very personal and exhilarating tour. With the AT, culture and history boxes all checked, the company got itself ready for deployment back to the UK. Cordial formalities over, the vehicles were reloaded onto the Russian cargo plane, and the RMP team came to stay to ensure that those that had entered BiH did not return with more than they were allowed. After passing the rigorous searches and a month’s worth of good training, breezy exercise conditions and the occasional mine preventing a dignitary from landing now firmly behind us, touchdown at the loveless terminal of RAF Brize Norton brought the men of No 1 Company back down to a sodden and grey England. The coach boarded, we were left to reflect on what had been a very successful month and ultimately, be proud that they had proven the aim was possible: a UK Immediate Reaction Company could be deployed effectively into a MNBN in the event of a decrease in relations between the Balkan states and that all parties would be able to work effectively together towards a successful outcome. From a personal point of view, it was a very worthwhile experience that allowed me to gain an early insight into the world of liaising abroad, and an Infantry company at work.
Spruce Meadows 2013
by Lieutenant T L Maples, The Blues and Royals
n September 2013 the Regiment was invited to send one officer and five soldiers to support the Masters’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows for the 31st consecutive year. The Masters’ Tourna-
ment is one of the biggest show jumping competitions in North America, with many of the world’s top contenders taking part and is hosted by Mr and Mrs Ron Southern. The Household Cavalry
Mounted Regiment’s main role is to form part of the ‘honour guard’ who flank the competitors during the awards ceremony following each cup, and then join them in a lap of honour.
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The Regiment has still never managed to send its own horses out to Canada, for obvious reasons of expense. Therefore Spruce Meadows kindly offer us five of their own horses each year to ride. Unfortunately, ex-show jumpers tend to have a different character and sense of mischief to Cavalry Blacks. This is especially prevalent in their disinclination for crowds, applause, riding in formation, state kit, state bits and jackboots. As one can imagine, this certainly made the two days given to train them before the competition rather intensive! However, by the end of the competition the fear and trepidation of both the HCMR delegation and the Spruce Meadows horses had subsided to a level of mutual trust, allowing the horses to canter in neat half sections around the arena. The three troopers selected to attend Spruce Meadows earn their place by coming in the top three places on the
Richmond Cup earlier in the year. This cup is a competition to judge the best turned out trooper in the Regiment. The Masters’ Tournament was certainly busy, with each soldier being expected to turn himself out up to five times a day in full state kit. Despite the troopers’ achievements on the Richmond, this required much hard work. However, in between these duties there was the opportunity to watch some of the best show jumping in the world. The six bar competition was definitely the most exciting of these, with the final fence being over two metres high! We thoroughly enjoyed renewing old relations with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment, who are our Canadian equivalents, as well as The King’s Troop who attend the tournament with us. We also had the opportunity to make new relations with units such as the Steele Scouts, a mounted irregular ceremonial
unit. After the tournament had finished the soldiers were treated to a well earned break in Banff. Adventure Training activities were organised including a glorious dusty day quad biking in the mountains and an even more exhilarating one day white water rafting grade four rapids on the ‘Kicking Horse River’! The group were proud to be part of an enduring Household Cavalry relationship with Canada and the Southern family that has continued uninterrupted for over three decades. It remains an honour and a privilege to be involved in a tournament with such a high calibre of competition and at the world class venue of Spruce Meadows.
The Cambrian Patrol Competition 2013 by Lieutenant T L Maples, The Blues and Royals
ust before the summer leave period, the Commanding Officer decided that the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment should send a team to compete in the Cambrian Patrol Competition in November. This is an exceptionally demanding competition designed to test a small patrol in a number of challenging tactical skills and situations and takes place in the Brecon Beacons. The Regiment had not entered a team for a number of years and was excited at the opportunity of some ‘green’ training and a rest from ceremonial duty. Owing to the split summer leave plot and other commitments, training for the Patrol could not begin until the beginning of October. This left the team four weeks to transform ceremonial soldiers well schooled in mounted duty and sword drill into a dismounted reconnaissance team adept in patrol skills and section attacks. The first major training obstacle to tackle was the fitness element of the patrol. The busy routine at HCMR allows very little time for organised physical training, but during the competition each member would be expected to carry between 30 and 40 kilograms, over 60 kilometres in arduous terrain. As a result, the build up training had to be slightly merciless. Owing to the aggressive nature of this training, the squad, originally big enough to fill the team at least twice, ended up providing only enough people for one team plus two reserves. The Brecon Beacons training area is
closed in advance of the competition in order to maintain exercise security. However, we got the opportunity to design two 36 hour exercises in Pirbright and Aldershot. This allowed some opportunity to train in navigation, battle procedure and practise one CTR. For the rest of the training we relied on the wealth of operational experience within the Mounted Regiment. These instructors gave up much of their time to train the team to a very high standard in first aid and casualty evacuation, artillery targeting procedures, navigation, signals and patrol report writing. The most notable training, possibly for its cavalry nature in conduction, was the obstacle crossing drills which were practiced on a number of early mornings in the Serpentine! All of this training was undertaken in addition to ordinary ceremonial duties and daily riding. Special mention must be given to CoH Martin, the team manager, without whose hard work and efforts the team would never have made it to Brecon. This rather unorthodox training programme meant that the first time the team would actually be able to practice in arduous terrain was on the competition itself. The team was ruthlessly inspected at the assembly area by a TA corporal and after orders were received, extracted and given, we set off. We had a fully manned team which, despite being armed with iron sights and an LSW, was possibly the most enthusiastic one on the competition. The first day was certainly testing and I
am not sure the team believed my claim that Brecon is “the only place where water runs uphill” until they saw it first hand. Despite their exceptionally positive attitude the team did begin to struggle in the early hours of second day and it was the only time during the patrol where I wondered whether we might not finish. However, once we got to the river crossing and achieved one of the best scores of any team who had attempted it, all these fears dissipated. We certainly performed better than the French who had attempted to catapult their kit over the river rather than waterproof it and swim through! Throughout the rest of the patrol the team conducted themselves with exceptional professionalism and vigour. They were enthusiastic and engaged, even though wet and exhausted, during the final interview with the directing staff about the details of our patrol. This occurred around the 40 hour point. Afterwards we were told we would have to continue for another 12 hours. I must admit that I experienced instant trepidation at this, but the rest were all worryingly keen to continue. One even repeated the immortal line, “anything is better than cleaning kit sir”. On the day of the award ceremony the team received a bronze medal. This is a phenomenal achievement and a testament to the grit and determination of Household Cavalry soldiers who, with minimal ‘green training’, managed to succeed, whilst at all times maintaining that most crucial of the principles of war; morale.
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Images of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
A recreation of times past with a regimental advance
Capt Lukas, Adjt HCR - Ouch! Thankfully both horse and rider were unhurt after this unfortunate incident at the first fence of the 2013 Cavalry Cross-Country Ride
No 1 Box, The Life Guards Christmas Day Guard
Abbey Clancy went down well with troopers and NCOs at Fashion For the Brave
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A Trooper on dawn duty at The Queen’s Life Guard
A trooper going through his drills on the potential NCO cadre during the summer
All in a day’s work
Inkspot thoroughly enjoying a dip in the sea at Holkham Beach
The Richmond Cup winning jackboots worn by Tpr Duffy RHG
The Sovereign’s Escort as they approach Buckingham Palace
Trooper Yates approves of his new orderly at Fashion for the Brave
The Blues and Royals Squadron enjoy a trip to Holkham Beach
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Household Cavalry Sports Round-up Household Cavalry Golf 2013 by Major W Douglas
ike most individual sports within the Services, time and dedication are required to gain results. This is especially true with Golf and if time off the course is prolonged, it is not too long before your skills desert you and frustrations and disappointment can have an effect on your life style! This can’t be said with our Colonel-in-Chief’s Cup team in 2013. For it was an extremely cold April day when the ‘A’ team fought through the ice and snow to gain a place in the final of the Cup to be held in September.
by virtue of being one up as they stood on the 18th tee for the halved match.
Below is an extract from Brig Miles Frisby’s commentary:
It was a fine, rather warm, day at Worplesdon in complete contrast to the snow of the preliminary rounds earlier in the year. The result represents a fourth consecutive victory for the Household Cavalry. Once again individual prizes were generously provided by Smith & Williamson. The trophies and prizes were presented by Robin Malcolm, Captain of the Guards Golfing Society. I hope you would all agree what an amazing achievement this is. Playing were Capt (Retd) Dick Hennessy-Walsh, Maj Douglas, Neil Harman, Lt Col (Retd) Sibley, Neil Flynn and Russ Taylor. My congratulations go to the rest of this special team.
1st Semi-Final. Household Cavalry defeated Irish Guards by narrowest of margins. Holes up were tied, each side had won one match and the countback procedure was used for the first time to decide the one halved match. The Household Cavalry won
2nd Semi-Final. Welsh Guards defeated Grenadier Guards by 12 holes up, winning all three matches. Play-Off for Third Place. Irish Guards defeated Grenadier Guards by 12 holes up, winning all three matches. Final. Household Cavalry defeated Welsh Guards by 3 holes up, winning two matches and losing one.
Colonel-in-Chief’s Cup - the Winning Team
In other golfing news, Wimbledon Common GC arrived at HCMR for a Grand Tour and lunch in the WO’s and NCO’s Mess by very kind permission of the RCM in late November. This reciprocal
Capt (Rtd) Dick Hennessy-Walsh receives the Colonel-in-Chief Trophy from the Secretary
visit is something that we all must do for our kind supporters each year as a thank you; for as long as I can remember we have been playing at Sunningdale and Wimbledon, both historic and sacred places to golfers. Next year, Sunningdale is in the Diary for September and Wimbledon in October, so watch this space. The Wharton Brothers are fine tuning a visit to the Shires in 2014. This was the first Seve Ballesteros course ever designed in the UK and we are all looking forward to playing this long and testing course. There will be plenty more fixtures and competitions in 2014. It leaves me just to say a personal thank you to a true friend and golfing partner, Dick Hennessy-Walsh for propping up the golfing family circle for as long as I can remember. He has been a stalwart for HCav Golf; he has been part of the Colonel-in-Chief’s team for many years and on behalf of all our golfers out there, a massive ‘thank you’ for all that you have done.
by Lance Corporal Gooding, The Life Guards
reediving is the sport of breath hold diving in which the freediver descends under water on a single breath of air. Freediving includes leisure activities such as spear fishing and snorkelling, as well as competitive disciplines which are made up of depth (constant weight), distance (Dynamic Apnea), and length of time (Static Apnea). Freediving has many benefits and can be compared to a martial art. It promotes increased lung capacity, deeper levels of awareness and perception and control over your body.
I first began freediving over 12 years ago whilst working as a scuba diving instructor in Malta. I quickly became hooked on the sport for the simplicity and freedom of it, to dive all of the same sites I would normally only see whilst scuba diving. For many years it remained purely a recreational activity to enjoy diving without all the clumsy equipment needed for scuba diving. Later as an AIDA Freediving instructor, I started to teach it as well as scuba diving. When I rejoined the Regiment I started to train more with my freediving
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and wanted to see how long, how far and how deep I could go. In 2010
LCpl Gooding Diving in Malta
I attended my first competition and later began competing internationally. I trained mostly in Nice or Dahab for deep diving during my leave, and became confident diving to depths of 50m, and holding my breath underwater for over five minutes. In 2013, after the UK Nationals, I managed to secure my place on the British Freediving Team for
LCpl Gooding on deep freedive training on a sled near Nice
the 2013 World Championships. I decided to focus on Dynamic Apnea where the diver swims as far as possible on one breath. Though I’m confident to dive to 50m, without having access to deep water to train regularly, I would not be able to go deeper without risking injury. With Aldershot's 50m pool nearby, it meant I could train most days on Dynamic Apnea. In the final weeks before the World Championships I was confident achieving 150m distance underwater. I was very lucky in that the Regiment helped me during my training and covered my costs for the competition which took place in Belgrade. The competition itself was an amazing experience to dive with the best divers in the world: many world records were broken. Diving at a competition of that scale was completely different to smaller competitions I had attended. Film crews, photographers and large crowds played havoc with my nerves and, in a sport where relaxation is the key, it wasn’t looking too good. On the day of my dive I managed a dive of 136m,
which placed me third in the UK team and about 20th in the competition, a result with which I was pleased. The World Championships were an amazing experience: having reached the highest level in my sport, I would like to thank the Regiment for helping me get there. Now I’m training for the UK nationals again and I hope to go much further in the coming year and push past the 200m barrier.
LCpl Gooding in Belgrade during the World Championships
he Household Cavalry had a busy summer this year, playing for both the Captains’ and Subalterns’ Trophy and the Hackett Inter-Regimental Cup, whilst also strengthening the relationship with Barbour, the team’s official sponsor. The first big game for the team came in early July when they played The King’s Royal Hussars in the semifinal match for the Inter-Regimental Cup. The winner was to play the Royal Navy, another notoriously tough team, in the final at a later date. It was a tough game right from the start, and although both Maj Rupert Lewis and Capt Jack Mann made some splendid plays in a particularly strong 3rd chukka, the Hussars pulled forward in the final chukka, winning 5 - 3½. Next, in the same month, saw the team play for the first time with many of its newest players. What is normally a team of four was split between five, with Capt Hills, Lt Harbord, Ct Bacon, Ct Maples, and Tpr Speaight, who had only recently completed the beginners polo course at Tidworth. With this in mind, the team did remarkably well in its Division, consistently pulling through in the last chukka to win, until it reached the final against the Reserves, where they were soundly whipped. Regardless, it was an immensely enjoyable day for the team, as it was a great opportunity to work on the team dynamic, whilst also experiencing moments of incredibly fast-paced polo. Tpr Speaight deserves
by Lieutenant T L Maples a special mention for his natural talent in playing the game, even scoring a match-winning goal in what was his first competitive play. Later in the summer, the team played again in an exhibition game for the Barbour Polo Cup at the Guards Polo Club. After providing some hands-on mentoring to a slew of fashion editors, the team played a high-goal game against the Great Oaks polo team. Although our kind sponsors did take photos of the team with the newly-minted Barbour Cup, the Household Cavalry team lost in the end, even with the help of Capt Kuku Folarin of the Grenadier Guards.
as a result, it has proven incredibly easy to get soldiers into the middle of a mounted scrap with little to no official polo training. In the arena, where polo is played during the winter months, new players can afford ‘involuntary dismounts’, while the wall around the arena provides a limit to the surprising athleticism of the polo mounts in comparison to the usual Cavalry Blacks. So far it has been an incredible success that has proved very popular and, with the new directive for polo from the Commanding Officer HCR, this will be continued in the New Year. Perhaps the Household Cavalry could be the first Regiment to field an all-soldier polo team…
Towards the end of the summer, as the grass polo seasons closed, the aim of the polo programme s w i t c h e d from playing competitively to recruiting more players within the Regiment. The dual-role nature of Regiment has meant that unlike any other regiment, we have an abundance of soldiers that already know how to ride and, Barbour Polo photo shoot
Household Cavalry Sports Round-up ■ 73
LONDIST Throwdown Competition 2013
he LONDIST Throwdown Competition, a physical challenge composed of a series of weight lifting and sprints, was held at Victoria Barracks, Windsor on 20th March 2013. The Regiment entered a strong team and found themselves pitted against the service Regiment and, we are pleased to say, HCMR came out on top. The event was extremely physical and all competitors should be proud of their efforts. The Regiment looks forward to continued success in 2014.
The winning HCMR Throwdown Team 2013
Results: Winners: HCMR Runners up: HCR
Household Cavalry Cresta Run 2014 by Lieutenant J H S C Harbord, The Life Guards
he Household Cavalry returned to St Moritz in January of this year, to compete in the Army Inter-Regimental Championships on the Cresta Run. Capt P J R Chishick LG was on hand to coach the team for the first two weeks, unfortunately not riding due to a riding injury of a different nature sustained on Summer Camp five months before. The team consisted of a few returning faces in the form of Lts Barnes RHG/D, Harbord LG and Seccombe LG, as well as two newcomers, LCpl Tonkin RHG/D and Tpr Grossman LG. All beginners are required to report to the Clubhouse at 0630 hrs on the morning of their first ride, so as to enable them to attend the infamous “Death Talk” (the highlight of which involves being taken through an amalgamation of x-rays, totalling an entire body, showing the injuries sustained by members of the Club's Committee - it never was clear whether a serious injury was an essential for Committee membership). Having confirmed that their insurance was organised, and been assured that they themselves were entirely liable for what they were about to do, our intrepid beginners stepped out into the morning chill for their first course of instruction, delivered by a 'Guru'. The Gurus are chosen based on their ability, experience and authority; not necessarily their patience. To impress them, you must do exactly as they ask and complete your first run in the golden 70s. Too fast, and you have been reckless and ignored their teachings. Too slow, and you may be berated over the loudspeaker for “WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME”! The trick in these first few runs is to be able to 'rake' effectively. Your rakes are attached to the front of the converted
The Cresta Team 2014 Front Row: Lt Seccombe, Capt Chishick, Tpr Grossman Rear: Capt (Retd) Viney, Lt Barnes, Lt Harbord, LCpl Tonkin
rugby boots and, as you slide down the ice, you must dig your toes in to slow yourself down. Easy to say, but it takes some practice to know really how to do it. After watching our two beginners, the Guru on hand seemed impressed, as was the rest of the team. Something they managed to maintain throughout their time on the ice. There are two main types of toboggan used on the run; all riders begin on a 'traditional'. This is a 40kg lump of steel with a big seat that slides up and down, to aid you in moving your weight. They are fairly cumbersome but a lot of fun to ride. Once a rider is able to get down
74 ■ Household Cavalry Sports Round-up
the run in consistent 48s, he is able to 'convert to a flat-top'. These are just as heavy, but more agile enabling you to hold more speed. The run itself has two starting points: 'Junction', about two-thirds of the way up the run for less-experienced riders; and 'Top'. To qualify for Top, you must be riding 48s on a traditional or 46s on a flat-top. To ride from Top was the main effort for Harbord and Barnes, and both of them achieved it (although Barnes got there earlier than Harbord, something the author was livid about). The Army Junction Championships
The strong pair of the Queen’s Royal Lancers came in first place this year, with The Life Guards’ two fastest riders, Capts Horne and Chishick not riding in this race. Lt Seccombe and Tpr Grossman LG put in a strong performance though and secured 2nd place, with The Blues and Royals’ Pair of Lt Barnes and LCpl Tonkin coming in 4th place. Tpr Grossman stormed the Novice Open championship, winning by four seconds and qualified for Top in his second week in St Moritz; the first private soldier to do so in the past decade if not longer. LCpl Tonkin also did very well but was prevented by circumstances from going to Top, however, he qualified to convert
LCpl Tonkin on the run
were held on the 17th January and consisted of the Novice Open race, Handicap race and the 17th/21st Lancers Trophy, an open race for the fastest Regimental pair. The races were all conducted over two rides, with the lowest aggregate time winning (whether as an individual or a pair for the team race). The pressure did build on race day, but it was fantastic to see so many teams from different regiments, including RIFLES, Scots Guards, SCOTS DG, Queen's Royal Lancers, 9th/12th Lancers amongst others.
An apprehensive Tpr Grossman, first time at top, with Lt Barnes in the background
to Flat Top. This all served as an excellent practice run for the Inter-Services Championship the following week. Capt Horne LG was parachuted in for the Army Team and the other members of the HCav 'squad' not competing in the Inter-Services race stayed out to practice and ultimately compete in the Club Handicap Races, the Harland Trophy (from Top) or the Silver Spoon (Junction). Of note in the Silver Spoon, LCpl Tonkin managed to achieve third, having ridden as the 'scratch-man' (ie. acknowledged as the fastest rider in the race) - a great achievement for a rider in his first season. Regimental Cresta is looking highly promising for the years to come, with interest and success amongst all ranks. The Army team continues to be highly reliant on currently serving riders from the Regiments and it is crucial that this continues. There are now six Household Cavalry Top Riders (over half the Army Squad) and we hope that LCpl Tonkin will make it to Top on a Flat Top next year. Everyone who took part was privileged to have participated in this true adrenaline-rush of a sport. The Regiment still leads the way in terms of Other Ranks involvement amongst the Army teams and, having listened to the reports of the two beginners this year, there is likely to be a lot of competition for spots in years to come!
HCMR at the Household Division Regatta Seaview, Isle of Wight by Lieutenant T G A De Ritter, The Life Guards
he Household Division Sailing Association (HDSA) regatta was held on 26th-27th June 2013 at the Seaview Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight. HCMR sent a team of six down to compete in the event. The two days of sailing were a resounding success, as both the A and B team competed fiercely and acquitted themselves very well in the face of some stiff competition from both the locals and the other participating Household Division teams. The crews were racing in the one design, the three man Mermaid sailing boat; a fantastic boat to learn on for those less experienced sailors among the party and easily crewed. For the racing, HCMR split into two, three man teams. The A team, although perhaps not as fearsome as their cinematic namesakes, were certainly as ruthless in their competition. Skippered by the Adjutant, Capt P J R (Binos) Chishick LG, with LSgt Kennedy RAMC and LCoH Bevan
LG, the Red Mermaid made reasonably light work of the afternoon’s sailing, after much of the morning had been spent relaxing in the yacht club due to the lack of wind. Although disappointing, there was little that could be done and to sail or attempt to race before 1400 hours would have been pointless. It was clear though that with every cloud there is a silver lining, as the men soaked up the dramatic change of pace from life at HCMR, HCR and the incremental companies, relaxing with burger and beer in hand. So with the first few races over and notched up by the Red Mermaid it was time for the B team, much less experienced but no less determined, to try and register some points. After losing out on the key places due to terrible starts (consistently the fault of the helmsman, and consistently pointed out by the skipper of the A team, sitting proud in the helm of his craft with binoculars
snug around his neck), it was plain that a quick condor moment was required and a change of tactics needed. Skippered by 2Lt De Ritter LG, and crewed with Tpr Gardner LG and Tpr Flynn LG, the Yellow Mermaid embarked on a more aggressive strategy. Concurrent to the A team hoarding most of the race victories, the Green Mermaid skippered by members of the Coldstream Guards under the guidance of Maj D’Apice and the Blue Mermaid, skippered by a particularly weathered local sailor, were recording successive second and third placings alike alongside the HCR boat who were also there or thereabouts. The strategy of the HCMR B team became one of indirect copycat sailing with the eventual aim of surpassing the nifty sailors of the other boats by cutting them up in their water. Probably frowned upon, but soon the tactic seemed to be paying off as the B team climbed the rankings and started to fin-
Household Cavalry Sports Round-up ■ 75
ish within the top four places. This was in fact a credit to the two Troopers taking part who never gave up the hope of a finish above the A team and, thankfully, this did come when the wind died and the B team’s craft happened upon the one steady trickle of wind. Good fortune indeed! With the first day’s racing drawing to a competitive but fun conclusion, there was a feeling of great satisfaction amongst the HCMR team as all had progressed throughout the day and the hard work of the morning spent learning the tides, the signals and eyeing up the competition (and the occasional burger and beer) was clearly paying off. The evening saw three of the team compete against the yacht club regulars who kindly gave us the use of a Mermaid. This was a fantastic race, much longer than the day’s previous races and saw the HCMR team come in a credible third place - those fine binoculars once again aiding the helm. Day two was a similar affair and saw the A team record strong finishes, with the
Captains Chishick and Rawdon-Mogg with Tpr Flynn, winners of the RAC Gold Cup and the Commodore's Propeller
B team not too far behind. The two days of sailing were highly successful, even if the attempted night out on the fine Isle of Wight was ended rather abruptly by the lack of taxis - clearly Wednesday was not the night, even though the day had been kind to us. All of the HCMR
team returned home to Knightsbridge content after two days excellent sailing. Thanks must go to Capt Chishick for organising the HCMR participation and to Maj D’Apice, Coldstream Guards, of the HDSA for laying on the event. Inshallah, we can compete again soon.
Tug of War Team by Farrier Major N Sherlock
n 22nd January 2014 the Army Indoor Tug of War Championships were help at the Army PT School in Aldershot. The setting was the main gymnasium and, to be quite honest, the setting combined with the blazer wearing judges bearing the England squad crest, made the situation a little overwhelming. The team we had put together consisted mainly of Forge members but due to weight restrictions we recruited Tpr Moore from 1Tp LG and Tpr Godfrey from 1Tp RHG/D, both are strong lads but of a lighter stature. We returned from leave on 20th January so training time was severely reduced, but we had trained prior to Christmas leave. The drills weren’t going to be a problem; the lactic acid tolerance was the only real problem I could see. On arrival we were ushered down to the weigh-in area and after reducing down to our pants, we found ourselves entered in four different weight categories. These were the 680kg, 640kg, 600kg and 560kg. There was some excellent opposition for us; namely 19 Signal Regiment, who were extremely well drilled and equipped with an Army Team Captain as there Anchorman. They in no way out-muscled us in the 680 kg class
and I believe we were the only team to pull them in our direction at any time throughout the day. Their drills, however, were far superior and they defeated all in this class. We were runners up. In the 600kg and 560kg classes, with some magical adjustments on the scales, we managed to place very strong teams on the mat. With notable victories against our brothers at HCR and also against the Grenadier Guards, we managed to become placed first in both of these weight categories, romping home on both occasions.
those on the mat. We finished the competition as overall winners and it has renewed our vigour to compete in this sport as often as possible. Tug of War is a physical and mental test that can break your will if you let it; but the team managed to stay strong and came away mentally stronger due to there efforts. As team captain I was extremely proud of the team and look forward to competing with these soldiers against all comers in the future.
Much credit has to be given to CoH Holliday and his excellent managerial skills with the team during the day. He was by far the loudest voice within the hall and his drill voice was something that brought the hairs on your neck to attention. He was as much a part of the team as The HCMR Tug of War Team, with CoH Holliday holding the trophies
76 ■ Household Cavalry Sports Round-up
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.
295445 WO2 S A Pugh Served 24 January 1940 to 22 January 1945 Date of death and age unknown
390963 Capt M P Wyndham Served 2 September 1947 to 1 January 1952 Died 10 March 2013, aged 83 years
22992761 Tpr E G Pugh Served 2 February 1954 to 2 February 1956 Died 1 July 2013, aged 80 years
21000077 Cpl D Bunce Served 16 October 1947 to 25 March 1953 Died 26 March 2011, aged 83 years
23222149 CoH W M Nicole Served 31 May 1955 to 9 December 1969 Died 26 March 2013, aged 73 years
377142 2Lt (Emergency Commission) A F S Dean Served 2 March 1947 to 5 March 1948 Died 07 July 2013, aged 85 years
23215488 Tpr H C Ridgway Served 24 April 1957 to 31 July 1957 Died 05 November 2012, age unknown 23595518 Tpr D E Curran Served 5 November 1958 to 5 November 1960 Died 21 November 2012, aged 73 years 22146726 LCpl K Chambers Served 1 June 1949 to 1 June 1951 Died 30 December 2012, aged 82 years 22205819 Cpl J O Ralph Served 17 December 1951 to 25 January 1957 Died 14 January 2013, aged 86 years 23215248 Tpr D A Houldsworth Served 11 April 1956 to 10 April 1963 Died 27 January 2013, aged 78 years 295835 Cpl A W Rowlinson Served 16 February 1942 to 23 February 1950 Died 30 January 2013, aged 89 years 22455885 Tpr W G Grant Served 1 February 1951 to 29 January 1953 Died 3 February 2013, aged 80 years 295538 LCpl D E Cooper Served 1 January 1941 to 31 October 1946 Died 7 February 2013, aged 92 years 23370580 Tpr M G Howle Served 7 February 1957 to 1 March 1959 Died 10 February 2013, aged 78 years 22205838 Tpr D W Taylor Served 15 January 1951 to 15 January 1954 Died 14 February 2013, aged 78 years 23879648 Tpr S Baldwin Served 5 November 1962 to 5 November 1965 Died 7 March 2013, aged 68 years
92 â– Obituaries
296691 WO2 (ORQMC) D A Phillips Served 24 January 1946 to 5 June 1968 Died 30 March 2013, aged 84 years 22205102 FSQMC P Blake Served 18 October 1948 to 23 January 1971 Died 23 April 2013, aged 82 years 296780 (23687366) CoH R S MacKnocher Served 4 April 1947 to 1 May 1965 Died 27 April 2013, aged 83 years 24220246 CoH N W Darbey Served 3 May 1971 to 2 May 1980 Died 3 May 2013, aged 66 years 22205045 Cpl R G Mitchell Served 22 March 1948 to 31 May 1953 Died 6 May 2013, aged 83 years 22205686 CoH K Brady Served 2 April 1951 to 14 February 1969 Died 26 May 2013, aged 80 years 23725467 CoH T J Clark Serve 26 October 1959 to 27 September 1973 Died 7 June 2013, aged 69 years 23215865 WO2 L M Murnan Served 19 April 1958 to 19 April 1981 Died 13 June 2013, aged 72 years 22205710 WO2 (RQMC) G E Skinner Served 23 May 1951 to 2 August 1973 Died 14 June 2013, aged 79 years 24239378 LCpl S Leggott Served 22 August 1972 to 4 August 1989 Died 22 June 2013, aged 55 years 24164769 Tpr M Lucas Served 21 April 1971 to 5 April 1983 Died 29 June 2013, aged 57 years
24096641 LCpl G A Wilmot Served 3 November 1967 to 2 November 1976 Died 17 July 2013, aged 64 years 22556555 Tpr W A Hardaway Served 1 October 1953 to 31 January 1957 Died 18 July 2013, aged 78 years 295285 WO1 I O Jones Served 31 May 1938 to 29 October 1968 Died 22 July 2013, aged 92 years 23215460 Tpr J A Radford Served 4 March 1957 to 3 March 1966 Died 29 July 2013, aged 81 years 23679064 LCpl B C A Goldsmith Served 3 February 1960 to 2 February 1972 Died 2 August 2013, aged 74 years 112858 Col J P Fane MC Served 31 December 1939 to 29 March 1969 Died 11 August 2013, aged 92 years 22774515 Tpr P J Bullard Served 30 November 1951 to 30 November 1953 Died 15 August 2013, aged 79 years 296322 LCpl D W Rutland Served 27 April 1944 to 24 April 1946 Died 31 August 2013, aged 87 years 465577 Lt H B E van Cutsem Served 4 June 1960 to 27 December 1962 Died 2 September 2013, aged 72 years 22205033 CoH L W Burrows Served 1 March 1948 to 31 October 1965 Died 10 September 2013, aged 85 years 24164629 CoH D E Kallaste Served 27 October 1970 to 26 April 1993 Died 13 September 2013, aged 60 years
293875 Capt R M A Palmer Served 29 August 1943 to 1 January 1949 Died 20 September 2013, aged 89 years
22740425 Tpr E J Soanes Served 20 November 1952 to 19 November 1954 Died 21 October 2013, aged 78 years
22556077 Tpr R L Williams Served 1 July 1952 to 31 July 1955 Died 22 September 2013, aged 78 years
24241428 Tpr R D Ayres Served 1 September 1972 to 31 December 1979 Died 22 October 2013, aged 60 years
23302578 LCpl W S Franklin Served 2 April 1956 to 1 April 1958 Died 3 October 2013, aged 75 years 294812 Tpr T Humphries Served 8 January 1930 to 1938; rejoined 1939 to 1 August 1945 Died 4 October 2013, aged 102 years
24096622 WO2 K R Burns Served 11 September 1967 to 11 August 1992 Died 16 November 2013, aged 61 years
19101956 Tpr B G S Hall Served 21 November 1946 to 31 December 1948 Died 15 December 2013, aged 85 years Cpl (or CoH) J Hall (Army number not provided) Served from 1958 to 1967 Died 15 December 2013, aged 74 years 23319563 WO2 G R Digney BEM Served 2 June 1956 to 1 January 1988 Died 17 December 2013, aged 75 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. 23685281 Tpr P L Rushbrook 1RD Served 25 November 1958 to 25 November 1964 Exact date of death unknown, aged 72 approx 24256129 LCpl P Lukowski RHG/D Served 9 May 1972 to 24 September 1977 Died 3 April 2011, aged 54 years 14468304 Cpl E F J Corfield 1RD Served 15 October 1947 to 12 July 1952 Exact date of death unknown, aged 84 approx Lt Col the Reverend C J Comyns 1RD Served 1 May 1955 to 31 December 1958 Died 26 December 2011, age unknown 23969267 Tpr P K Winterburn RHG Served 1 January 1964 to 31 December 1969 Died 30 August 2011, aged 64 years 306292 Cpl S E Platt 1 HCR and RHG Served 19 August 1943 to 18 April 1950 Died 6 February 2012, aged 87 years 306256 Tpr W B Pooley RHG Served 1 June 1943 to 1 June 1947 Died 12 May 2012, aged 87 years 411809 Lt Sir David Money-Coutts KCVO 1RD Served 1 January 1950 to 1 January 1951 Died 25 June 2012, aged 80 years
24125835 LCpl M Brashill RHG/D Served 9 September 1969 to 11 May 1978 Died 11 January 2013, aged 58 years 23222132 Tpr J M Crust RHG Served 18 May 1955 to 27 January 1967 Died 13 January 2013, aged 71 years 24263233 Tpr B M Gough RHG/D Served 7 December 1972 to 10 August 1979 Died 30 January 2013, aged 55 years 24056435 Tpr M L Rougvie RHG Served 1 August 1965 to 1 January 1972 Died 9 February 2013, aged 62 years 240132 General Sir Richard Worsley GCB OBE Served 1942 to 1982 (CO The Royals 01/01/62 to 31/12/65) Died 23 February 2013, aged 89 years 305301 Tpr C A Clifford RHG Served 4 November 1937 to 1 February 1946 Died 7 March 2013, aged 93 years 23586729 Tpr F C Wilson (74) Served 8 November 1957 to 8 March 1964 Died 11 March 2013, aged 74 years
22205875 Cpl W Davis RHG Served 16 February 1952 to 15 February 1959 Died 12 April 2013, aged 80 years Mr Prendegast RHG Died 13 April 2013, no more information available 22341055 Tpr R F W England Served 9 March 1950 to 24 March 1952 Died 10 May 2013, aged 81 years Capt E G Smith 1RD Served 1 January 1944 to 31 December 1947 Died 14 May 2013, aged 91 years 424820 Maj D Miller 1RD Served 6 September 1952 to 17 May 1978 Died 24 May 2013, aged 83 years 23365993 WO2 A K Stephenson RHG/D Served 17 January 1957 to 31 August 1979 Died 24 May 2013, aged 77 years 24773173 LCoH M J Hutton RHG/D Served 17 July 1987 to 11 July 2002 Died 3 June 2013, aged 42 years
LCpl R W Houghton RHG Served 1 March 1953 to 1 March 1956 Died 16 March 2013, aged 79 years
24769464 CoH P M Faiers RHG/D Served 1989 - was still serving Died 18 June 2013, aged 45 years
387205 Lt Col A R Price 1RD Served 4 January 1948 to 19 March 1950 Died 27 October 2012, aged 84 years
306270 CoH W J Timms RHG Served 1 July 1943 to 31 December 1947 Died 20 March 2013, aged 88 years
14386496 Sgt N F Fews 1RD Served 4 April 1944 to 5 May 1955 Died 2 July 2013, aged 89 years
22135101 Tpr R Harris RHG Served 1 May 1949 to 1 May 1951 Died 1 January 2013, aged 81 years
23969279 WO2 K Law RHG/D Served 2 October 1964 to 4 December 1986 Died 26 March 2013, aged 68 years
22205119 J E McKowan RHG Served 5 July 1948 to 3 July 1955 Died 10 July 2013, aged 90 years
Obituaries â– 93
22205568 WO2 (SCM) J C W Cooper RHG/D Served 19 August 1950 to 19 August 1972 Died 10 July 2013, aged 81 years 217588 Maj G C H V P Paget, (The Marquis of Anglesey) Served 15 November 1941 to 30 August 1946 Died 13 July 2013, aged 90 years 22954259 LCpl J T Brooker 1RD Served 5 May 1953 to 8 November 1959 Died 16 July 2013, aged 77 years 23215815 FCpl D W Wilkinson RHG Served 30 August 1958 to 17 October 1966 Died 18 July 2013, aged 79 years 24562644 LCpl A Singer RHG/D Served 1979 to 1985 Died 12 August, 2013 306865 CoH J G Spencer RHG/D Served 1 January 1947 to 1 August 1969 Died 16 September 2013, aged 84 years
22333427 Tpr J Collins 1RD Served 2 February 1950 to 24 February 1952 Died 23 September 2013, aged 82 years 23865712 WO2 R J Anslow RHG/D Served 22 January 1961 to 21 January 1983 Died 24 September 2013, aged 71 years 446260 Maj T N P W Burbury RHG/D Served 28 January 1956 to 10 January 1975 Died 10 October 2013, aged 76 years 24253744 CoH D M Rushton RHG/D Served 1 January 1971 to 20 October 1986 Died 26 October 2013, aged 60 years
Capt A Smith-Maxwell 1RD Served 1 January 1946 to 31 December 1949 Died 22 November 2013, aged 85 approx 305595 CoH R W Barrett RHG Served 1 July 1940 to 1 July 1947 Died 23 November 2013, aged 93 years 22952161 Tpr R Milhench RHG Served 1 December 1953 to 1 December 1955 Died 24 December 2013, aged 81 years
22556656 Tpr R A Tilling RHG Served in Cyprus 1953 to 1956 Died 26 October 2013, age unknown 492951 Maj H St John Holcroft RHG/D Served from 14 April 1972 to 17 August 1991 Died 3 November 2013, aged 62 years
General Sir Richard Worsley Late The Royals with the assistance of The Daily Telegraph and The Times General Sir Richard Worsley, who took command of The Royals in 1963, has died aged 89. He was an outstanding officer over a 40-year career that spanned wartime battles in Italy to preparation for the Falklands conflict. Richard Edward Worsley was born at Ballywalter, County Down, Ireland on 29th May 1923. Always known as Dick, he was educated at Radley where he was in the First XV. He sprang from a family of notable cricketers, his father H H K Worsley being the brother of first-class batsmen A E and C E A Worsley. He enlisted in 1940 and, in 1942, was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade and posted to 2 RB in the Western Desert. Richard Worsley’s talents as a staff officer showed early, when he was appointed Adjutant to 2 Rifle Brigade during the desperate battles for Italy in 1944. He saw hard fighting during the slog northwards up Italy. In the fierce battle for the hilltop town of Tossignano, near Bologna, his battalion took such heavy casualties that it had to be amalgamated with 10 RB. The successful merger of the two formations was an early indicator of his gift for organisation and he was mentioned in despatches. He had shown he was also a soldier acutely conscious of history, who in 1944 had made his men pause in St Peter’s Square in Rome to savour the Eternal City’s recapture. The end of the war found him in Austria and then, for a period of six weeks, his company managed a jail in Hamburg. It was full of war criminals and, on one occasion, having learned
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24540960 LCpl P J Coombs RHG/D Served 3 June 1982 to 30 June 1994 Died 15 November 2013, aged 62 years
that a breakout was being planned, he ordered the Bren Gun platoon to fire four magazines down the length of a corridor. There was no more trouble. He spent much of the first 10 years after the Second World War in Germany, first as a company commander in 2nd Rifle Brigade, then in 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade in BAOR in 1952, and as GSO2 to the reformed 11th Armoured Division. Even in a campaign his country would rather forget, Suez in 1956, the then Major Worsley maintained morale in bruising situations, an ability for which he had already gained praise in Italy. Worsley was at the elbow of the British commander Lieutenant General Sir Hugh Stockwell on 6th November as Stockwell made his last hazardous mission at Port Said, hoping to receive the enemy’s surrender. Alas, neither he nor Stockwell knew that politicians in London were about to lose their nerve and call the whole endeavour off. With the Anglo-French forces close to victory in regaining the canal from the Egyptian insurgents who had seized it, Worsley, who was the General’s GSO 2, and Hugo Meynell, the General’s ADC, procured a landing craft and escorted Stockwell and his French deputy, General André Beaufre, from the HQ ship HMS Tyne to the shore to discuss terms. But not all the enemy were so minded. “We were machine-gunned,” Meynell said later. “Quite a lot of the woodwork disappeared between Dick Worsley and me.” Nevertheless luck attended the unflappable Worsley as the General gave up on securing a surrender, and having given orders for offensive operations to continue, started back in a commandeered assault craft at nightfall for the blacked-out HMS Tyne moored beyond a harbour breakwater. “Major Worsley exercised his somewhat limited knowledge of the Morse code with an Aldis lamp to attract someone’s attention”, the disgruntled Stockwell reported. Soon after, they saw a light high up, and, after manoeuvring close in, managed to get on board, despite the sea-swell, up ladders let down the side: “a stroke of luck for a temporarily lost commander,” Stockwell observed (the incident is recorded in Suez 1956 by Barry Turner). Immediately on their return, the party, who had been out of radio contact for five hours, received London’s urgent signal: “Ceasefire at midnight.”
With the snatched-away victory vanished much of Britain’s remaining international prestige. Worsley was one of those who went on in the 1960s and ‘70s to salvage what was left. After commanding a company during the Malayan Emergency and instructing at Staff College, he was GSO1 at the HQ of 3rd Division in the early 1960s, Worsley demonstrated his great aptitude in such demanding roles. Based at Bulford, Wiltshire, he was largely responsible for the speed with which units were dispatched overseas. The illness of his divisional commander placed great responsibility on his shoulders, but his efficiency and ability to engender cooperation allowed him to achieve the highest standards of staff work. These qualities saw him reach the heights of the Army Board, culminating in his appointment to Quartermaster-General. In 1963 he assumed command of the 1st Royal Dragoons. Worsley’s success in converting the Regiment from armoured cars to tanks led to his first senior command, that of 7th Armoured Brigade in BAOR. He was then Chief of Staff Far East Land Forces from 1969 to 1971. His primary task there was to close down the British presence in Singapore while keeping morale at a high level. In 1972, Worsley became GOC 3rd Division and, in 1974, he moved to the MOD as Vice QMG. He became Commander 1st (British) Corps in BAOR in 1976, Quartermaster-General in 1979 and retired in 1982. He was Chairman of the Rifle Brigade Club from 1986-93. After retiring from the Army British industry was eager to snap him up, and he joined Pilkington Group, staying till 1986, as chief executive and then chairman of its electro-optical division, and chairman of its then subsidiary Barr and Stroud, makers of tank sights and binoculars. In 1983 he was made a Freeman of the City of London, and after leaving Pilkington, he served as chairman of Western Provident Association from 1989-96. He was Vice-President of the Cavalry & Guards Club from 2003 to 2007. His vineyard at his home near Reading also gave him a great deal of pleasure producing about three tonnes of grapes a year which went to a local co-operative making English white wines. He did the planting himself, and took pride in his vines’ straightness and exact spacing. He died on 23rd February 2013. He was appointed OBE in 1964, knighted in 1976 and advanced to GCB in 1982. Dick Worsley married, first (dissolved), Sarah Anne (Sally) Mitchell in 1959. He married, secondly, in 1980, Caroline, Duchess of Fife (née Caroline Cecily Dewar). He is survived by his first wife and their children Henry, a serving officer in the Rifles and a former Comd Offr of 2RGJ, and Charlotte, and by his widow Caroline and his stepchildren, Alexandra and David.
Colonel Julian Fane Late The Life Guards
with the assistance of The Daily Telegraph Colonel Julian Fane, who has died aged 92, was Commanding officer of The Life Guards in 1962 - 64. In his early service in the Gloucestershire Regiment in the Second World War he was awarded two Military Crosses and the Croix de Guerre.
Julian Patrick Fane, was the son of Colonel Cecil Fane of the 12th Lancers and was born in London on 17th February 1921 and educated at Stowe. With the outbreak of war imminent, he completed the short course at Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Gloucestershire Regiment. In April 1940, Fane was serving in the 2 GLOSTERS in Belgium. The following month he was one of the few survivors of a desperate rearguard action to delay the German advance and enable the bulk of the British Army to escape from Dunkirk. The Battalion was ordered to hold the strategically important hilltop town of Cassel, north-west of Lille, to the last round and the last man, an order he was surprised to receive so early in his service. They were surrounded by the enemy and fought off several assaults under aerial bombardment, artillery fire and tank attacks. On 28th May, they received message to make a break for it and head for Dunkirk. Fane, at the head of a small group of 12 men, managed to slip away in the darkness. He was wounded in the arm by a mortar bomb as they scrambled through hedges and over ditches, guided by flashes of guns on the coast and the light from burning farmhouses. At 3am they hid up in a barn and grabbed some sleep. During the day, the Germans arrived and the farmer climbed up a ladder and whispered to them to stay concealed under the straw. The next night, Fane and his men crept past the enemy bicycle patrol which was fast sleep under a hedge beside a towpath. On 2nd June, after covering more than 20 miles of enemy-held country, he was standing in the doorway of a small terraced house close to the beach when a bomb fell nearby. The house collapsed and he was blown into the street. His party reached Dunkirk in time to be evacuated back to England. Fane received the first of his MCs for his initiative and courage in his part in the fighting withdrawal. On his return to England after the evacuation from Dunkirk, he joined GHQ Liaison Regiment, known as Phantom, a forward reconnaissance unit that provided up-to-the-minute battlefield information directly back to senior commanders. He served with them on the Dieppe raid, in North Africa and in Sicily. In Tunisia, following the capture of Bizerte, which fell on 13th May 1943, he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre in recognition of the skill demonstrated by his Phantom patrol. In late 1943 he left Phantom and rejoined 2 GLOSTERS shortly after D-Day, serving as a company commander in the campaign in northwest Europe until the end of the war. On 20th January 1945, Fane’s company was ordered to clear both sides of a street about 100 yards in length in the village of Zetten, near Nijmegen, Holland. The Germans had barricaded themselves in the houses and were well supplied with automatic weapons and bazookas. Fane moved between the two platoons he was commanding and by his personal disregard for danger encouraged his men to close with the enemy. Blazing away with his Sten gun, he led them in a determined assault that resulted in the street being cleared of opposition.
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His bravery and outstanding leadership was recognised by a Bar to his MC. After the war he transferred to the 12th Lancers and served in Palestine and Malaya. In 1951, he was attached to the embassy in Cairo as the military attaché. As a fluent French speaker, he subsequently served as a liaison between the British and French during the Suez Crisis. When the 12th Lancers merged with the 9th in 1960, Fane was seconded to The Life Guards and served as a senior Major until he assumed command in 1962, taking the regiment to Germany and to Cyprus. He felt the need to bring on the officers of the Regiment, and demonstrated and encouraged improvement. This was exemplified by his design of a military concentration way to the south of Germany in the French zone. Planning started many months before. Attached to LG for the visit were the Queen’s Dragoon Guards Recce Flight, and a detachment from 1 (BR) Corps workshops to assist in repairs, and about twenty-five ten-ton lorries from 119 Company, RASC, and a three-ton ambulance from 11 Fd Dressing Stn. The total strengths were Men: 942, Vehicles 210, and the whole was to be administratively self-contained for petrol and rations and, of course, drink. It has been estimated that the Regiment drank 20,000 bottles of drink of various types between 13th and 27th June. The weather was extremely hot throughout and most soldiers got very brown. The distance from Herford to Lake Constance, our destination, is about 450 miles, covered in three parts - Alsfield, then on a United States Air Force base near Stuttgart, then on to Lake Constance. Vehicle casualties were surprisingly light, and most trouble was provided by the ten-tonners. At Lake Constance, the Regiment split into two groups: RHQ, HQ Squadron and the LAD lived under canvas in the Barracks of the 7th Chasseurs d’Afrique, an A.M.X. tank Regiment, on the outskirts of Friedrichshafen. The Sabre Squadrons camped about 8 miles away on a sports field near a Squadron Barracks of the 5th Hussars and within 200 yards of the Lake. Both camps had their own Officers’ Mess, WOs’ and NCOs’ Mess tent and a Troopers Canteen, all of which were well used. The French were hospitable, but the language barrier proved a great difficulty, particularly to the Quartermaster, Lt Col Dennis Meakin who was heard to say to the French Commanding Officer at the formal cocktail party held for the hosts, clutching some of the beer he had brought with him having no taste for wine, “It’s no use talking to me mate as I don’t parlez-vous.” A two day exercise took place between the Lake and the Danube against the 5th Hussars: both sides learnt a great deal from each other, not least that the French were always keen to stop for lunch for two hours. In the requisite football match against the French the score was 4-4, which was a fortunate result in many ways, the referee being a Frenchman. RHQ received a most touching send off as the 7th Chasseurs d’Afrique invited their guests to drink Champagne at 9.30 in the morning before departure. Then the 5th Hussars met them complete with Band and Regimental Mascot (and old Shetland-type pony) in the woods by their Barracks and offered more Champagne. The band played the Regimental March of the Royal Horse Guards as the column set off; which was considered unintentional. His next appointment was as SO1 London District before being promoted and seconded to the US Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1968, Fane left the Army and joined Samuel Montagu, the merchant bank, as director of personnel. At a time when the city was generally not good at managing its staff, he made an immediate impact. Messengers and doormen looked smarter, telephones were answered more quickly and junior managers learned how to manage. His impact was noted and within a
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year, he was made a director. When the Midland Bank bought Samuel Montagu, he joined Orion Bank as a main board director. He retired in 1984 and settled in a village in Berkshire. He was a good shot and enjoyed his fishing. Julian Fane married first, in 1949, Lady Ann Mary Lowther, who predeceased him. He married secondly, in 1959, Diana Ewart Hill, who survives him with a son and a daughter of his first marriage and a son and a daughter of his second.
The Marquis of Anglesey Late Royal Horse Guards
with the assistance of The Daily Telegraph The 7th Marquis of Anglesey, who died on the 13th July 2013 aged 90, came from a family of distinguished soldiers, and honoured the memory of his ancestors by writing a magisterial eight-volume History of the British Cavalry, 1816-1919.
When the first volume of this magnum opus was published in 1973, a reviewer wrote: “If you think it funny that a Marquis should sit down in his remote island to write the history of the British Cavalry... you’d better wipe that smile off your face. It is a work of astounding ability.” As each successive volume emerged from Lord Anglesey’s ancestral home, Plas Newydd, in Anglesey, the reviews gained in appreciation what they lost in astonishment. “Valuable and entertaining,” said The Sunday Telegraph reviewer of Volume I. “The definitive history,” he said of Volume II. And of Volume IV: “He is now unquestionably established as one of the great historians.” The entire eight volumes, remarked Nigel Nicolson, represent “an achievement comparable to Gibbon’s”. Lord Anglesey combined a nose for a good story with academic rigour, taking enormous trouble to be accurate in his facts and balanced in his judgments. He established a perfect combination of tactical assessment and personal reminiscence, drawing on memoirs, unpublished diaries and letters, regimental histories and official archives to formidable effect. The cavalry was placed not only in its military but also in its social context. He revealed, for example, that in 1830 the uniform of an officer of the 15th Light Dragoons cost £134 13s 6d, the equivalent of nearly 10 years’ pay of a lieutenant on 9d a day. While he did not stint on exuberant and romantic tales of heroism and dash during great set piece battles such as Waterloo, Balaclava, Omdurman and smaller skirmishes in mud, veld, desert, dust and snow, Lord Anglesey did not underplay or sentimentalise the evidence of incompetence or the terrible suffering of war. The horses, inevitably, had it worst. Volume IV included a ghastly account of their condition after the capture of Bloemfontein in 1900: “These wrecks of war, this flotsam and jetsam of human passions and strife, these helpless victims of a policy of the grossest cruelty and gravest injustice, were dying by hundreds.” A diffident man, Lord Anglesey described the project which occupied him for 25 years as “an amateur hobby in which I
happen to have indulged”. He was inspired to write, he once explained, simply because it was a gap in our military history that needed to be filled and he had an interest in how men and animals behave in peace and war. George Charles Henry Victor Paget was born on 8th October 1922. His father, the 6th Marquis of Anglesey, a farmer and sportsman, had served with the Royal Horse Guards during the First World War and later as assistant military secretary in Ireland and as Lord Chamberlain to Queen Mary. His mother, the former Lady Victoria Marjorie Manners, was the eldest daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland. The marquisate had been created in 1815 for George Paget’s great-great-grandfather, William Paget, Lord Uxbridge, an outstanding cavalry commander, in recognition of the crucial part he played in the victory at Waterloo, in which he famously lost a leg. According to tradition, Uxbridge exclaimed to the Duke of Wellington: “By God, Sir! I’ve lost my leg,” to which the Duke is supposed to have replied: “By God Sir! So you have.” After the battle, he had the leg coffined and buried under a commemorative plaque, and was fitted with the first articulated wooden leg ever made, which is now an exhibit in the Household Cavalry Museum on Horse Guards Parade, and is shown below exhibited by the late Marquis. Later he distinguished himself as an able and liberal administrator. He served two terms as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, showing impartiality to Catholics and Protestants and inaugurating and fostering a comprehensive education scheme in a country which had hitherto possessed virtually no schools at all.
on the brakes, shouting something like ‘Germans ahead!’ and then reverse in a terrifying but hysterically funny way to the delight of his children and the disapproval of his wife. One wonders if his wartime encounters reflected on his navigation skills. His Commanding Officer is reported as saying ‘”Henry Uxbridge is a great leader of men; the only problem is where he will lead them to.” He was gazetted Major in 1946 at the comparatively young age of 23, leaving later that year. The following year he succeeded to the marquisate, on the death of his father following an operation. His first task on coming into his inheritance was to clear a massive bill for death duties amounting to some £2.5 million of an estate worth around £3.5 million. Of the family’s 650,000 acres, he sold all but 40,000, disposing of land and property in central London and Staffordshire. In 1976 he made over Plas Newydd, the family’s magnificent neo-gothic house overlooking the Menai Strait, to the National Trust, though he continued to live there. It was undoubtedly his fascination with his illustrious ancestor, the 1st Marquis, which drew him into a wider interest in military history. At Plas Newydd the family had assembled a small military museum containing, along with substantial family archives and other effects, the 1st Marquis’s trouser leg, still stained with the blood and mud of Waterloo; the hat he wore during the battle; and the famous wooden leg, which was patented during the First World War as the “Anglesey Leg”. The 7th Lord Anglesey’s first book, published in 1955, was The Capel Letters: 1814-1817, consisting of the edited correspondence between the 1st Marquis’s sister in England and his nieces, who were living in Brussels and enjoying the attentions of young cavalry officers engaged in the war against Napoleon. His second book, One Leg (1961), was a meticulous biography of the 1st Marquis. Although Anglesey refused to allow his judgment to be blurred by family piety, and treated some of the stories about his forebear with the scepticism they deserved, he did not question his extraordinary physical bravery.
Henry Paget was educated at Eton, from where on 15th November 1941 he joined the Army, and went into the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues). He served with both 1 and 2 HCR in Italy and NW Europe. It was reported that while the armoured car squadrons drove from Bagshot to Tilbury for embarkation in an eight-mile column round London, which was out of bounds, he - as Regimental Signals Officer - took the unit’s command vehicle through the centre, standing up in the hatch conducting an imaginary orchestra as it made its way down Piccadilly, pausing only to wave at the doorman of The Ritz. He defended his action since his vehicle had broken down, and only by cutting through the centre of London could he catch up, and everyone who was anybody knew the Head Porter at The Ritz. He carried one story from his time in Italy into his children’s education. Whilst his squadron of armoured cars was screening the Allied advance up Central Italy their orders were to drive up the very narrow, winding mountain lanes and report any contact with the enemy but not to engage. Coming round a bend a German 88 opened up on them from a mountain village. Having no possibility of turning round they had no option but to reverse, using periscope mirrors only, at high speed, back down the precarious road with no crash barriers. When driving his family through the narrow lanes of Anglesey, he would sometimes suddenly slam
One of the most striking and revealing passages in the book was his ADC’s report of the 1st Marquis’s nonchalance while having his limb amputated: “He said quite calmly that he thought the implement was not very sharp. When it was over he did not appear in the least shaken and the Surgeon observed his pulse was not altered. He said, smiling, ‘I have had a pretty long run. I have been a beau these 47 years and it would not be fair to cut the young men out any longer’: and then asked us if we did not admire his vanity.” Anglesey’s history of the cavalry won the Chesney Gold Medal of the Royal United Services Institute for military history in 1996. At the ceremony, troopers clattered down the stairs of the Institute in their historic accoutrements; trumpeters blew a salute. As one of those present remarked: “The gathering was of such distinction that a bomb detonated among them would have kept the obituarists busy for months.” Lord Anglesey took his place on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords, but took a relaxed view of his duties. He never spoke and only voted once; on whether there should be an oil terminal in Anglesey. “It’s very important that peers should not turn up all the time,” he observed in 1996. “They’d soon abolish the Lords if we were all chattering away. Some of us are half-witted.” He did, however, believe strongly in the value of a part-hereditary upper house: “The important thing is that the Lords has a smattering of experts on all sorts of problems. [It] has little effect on big political issues. It basically amends ill-thought-out legislation.”
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Anglesey was active for years in the conservation of ancient buildings. He was the founding president of the Friends of Friendless Churches and served, variously, as president of the National Museum of Wales; chairman of the Historic Buildings Council for Wales; vice-chairman of the Welsh Committee of the National Trust; and as a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission, and a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society. He was Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd from 1983 to 1989. He married, in 1948, Shirley Morgan, who became well known in her own right as, among other things, chairman of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, and of the drama and dance advisory committee of the British Council; she was also a vicechairman of the Museums and Galleries Commission. They had two sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Lord Uxbridge, born in 1950, succeeds to the Anglesey title.
Captain M P Wyndham Late The Life Guards
by FM the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL
Michael Wyndham was destined to be a soldier and a Life Guard. Both his father, Colonel The Hon E H Wyndham MC known as Col Humpty, and grandfather, Captain The Hon Henry Wyndham, and five of his uncles were Life Guards three on his father’s side - Lieutenant The Hon Charles Wyndham, Lieutenant The Hon W R Wyndham (Reggie) who was killed in action on 6th November 1914, and Colonel The Hon E S Wyndham DSO (Edward) - and two on his mother’s Colonel P R Astley CBE MC (Philip) and Captain Sir Richard Vincent Sutton MC, 1st Life Guards and Guards Machine Gun Regt who died on active service on 29th November 1918 in the great ‘flu epidemic.
and Hugh singing a repertoire of Noel Coward songs. An interesting light is shed by a secretary, who in her handover notes to her successor said: “Captain Wyndham is the one who continuously needs to rest his legs (on the desk). Do not object to this, but if you would be so kind as to note each morning whether he is or is not in possession of his spurs, you would be doing Captain Wyndham, The Life Guards, and the Pentagon Stationery Office a great service. The spurs are necessary to prevent his feet from sliding off the desk.” After Washington and a brief stint in Germany, Michael was posted to Egypt, to Alexandria. Here he found the army accommodation rather short of expectation, so in typical style he acquired a yacht, in which he set up lodging with a fellow officer, Tony Chiesman, and their soldier servants, and which he moored in the harbour. Michael enjoyed reflecting that he was the first British Army officer to command troops from offshore since Lord Cardigan in the Crimea War. Michael was the Adjutant and responsible for the performance of young officers. Not easy, as most were doing their National Service and would have preferred to be elsewhere. Sir Philip Beck records how Michael had the great gift of protecting young officers, both from the fury of their Commanding Officers, and from themselves. “Former subalterns who served under Michael Wyndham can testify to his kindness, wisdom and patience with none too well behaved young officers. I was with him in Wolfenbuttel and in Suez, and even at a distance of 60 years can remember his amused half smile when something happened that would have angered Colonel G Leigh!” His final posting was as an instructor at Sandhurst before a career in financial public relations. For 55 years Michael organised The Life Guards’ Club Dinner, and as Chairman retained the responsibility for purchasing
He had many other family military connections which he was intensely proud of. Perhaps the most notable was Captain Henry Wyndham, of the Coldstream Guards, a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, who was with the men who shut the gate at Hougoumont, and was Michael’s great, great uncle. The Duke of Wellington remarked “No troops but the British could have held Hougoumont, and only the best of them at that.” Michael’s grandmother used to say, when she found herself in a draught, that no Wyndham had been capable of shutting a door since Uncle Henry shut the gate at Hougoumont. Michael, known to his friends as Tich, was commissioned into The Life Guards in 1948. He was initially posted to Windsor, before going to Malaya to pursue Communist terrorists. To his surprise, he was extracted when deep in the jungle, and to his delight posted to Washington as ADC to Air Chief Marshal Sir William Elliot, Head of the British Joint Services Mission. Michael - as a handsome 23-year-old bachelor - was in much demand as an escort for unaccompanied females on the diplomatic circuit. Many, particularly the Americans, were confused by the breeches, boots and the three ‘Stars’ of his Household Cavalry uniform into taking him, despite his evident youth, for a 3-Star General from some unspecified South American country. In Washington, Michael, together with Os Cecil and later Hugh Cubitt representing the Naval element, and Tony Bethell the RAF, shared a house. This entourage was widely known as ‘Follies Union’ and had a reputation for giving wild parties, which usually culminated in the male guests, no matter how senior or important, being required to progress to the basement ‘den’ by sliding down the stairs in a tin trunk, there to be entertained by Michael
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Pentagon, Washington DC, 1952 Left: Captain Michael Wyndham, ADC to Air Chief Marshal Sir William Elliot, Head of the British Joint Services Mission. Centre: Hugh Cubitt, Flag Lieutenant to Admiral Sir Cyril DouglasPennant, Head of the Naval Element Right: Tony Bethell, PA to Air Vice Marshal Breakey, Head of the RAF Element
wines and cigars. It is interesting to note that, in the early days, the Committee seemed to be far more concerned with the quality of the vintage champagne, port and cigars, than the claret. Gradually, however, Michael’s view prevailed. By the early 80s, he had established a tradition that excellent claret, of a quality that only a few officers could afford for their own cellars, would be purchased every year for future drinking at annual dinners. Last year, Michael selected the claret to be drunk at the 2029 dinner, at which his successors should drink his health in the year in which he would have reached his century. A few years ago the Colonel, FM Lord Guthrie, suggested a joint dinner with The Blues and Royals, to which he replied: “Over my dead body, they are certainly not sharing Life Guards’ wine, and they have nothing whatsoever in their cellar to offer us.” He tried to resign from the Committee in 1972, but it was decided by one and all that he shouldn’t. Last year he tried again, but having taken some soundings, the Colonel told him he could not and that he should view his appointment like the Pope’s, i.e. for life. Unfortunately, Pope Benedict undermined the Colonel’s position by resigning at the time Michael’s health was deteriorating, and in typically prepared form he announced that he would be retiring and had briefed his successor. Another of Michael’s great commitments was at White’s, where he was still affectionately known as Captain Wyndham to distinguish him from his cousins Henry and Harry. Michael was involved with the management of White’s for many years, became Chairman in 1993, and saw the Club through its tercentenary and some major changes. When he took over the Chairmanship, the financial situation was precarious, and under his strong leadership this was turned around. He had to make some very tough decisions and his popularity with the club staff can be directly attributed to the fact that they could always count on his support. Michael Wyndham will be much missed. He had so many admirable qualities, was fun to be with, loyal, and enhanced all our lives. He leaves a wife, Alison, and two daughters Samantha and Georgina, and six step-children.
Major Harry Holcroft Late The Blues and Royals with the assistance of The Times
Harry St John Holcroft was born in Birmingham in 1951 and educated at Downside where the art teacher, a onearmed monk, encouraged his artistic talent. He read development economics at Hertford College, Oxford, and studied art at Ruskin School of Drawing. Born on 2nd May, 1951, he died after a fall on 3rd November, 2013, aged 62 when painting in India. Harry was a soldier, adventurer and writer who painted the world’s rainforests and trade routes, but will be known in the Household Cavalry as a man of charm and wit who was more at home with a paintbrush and a drink in his hand than being in a turret with a pressel switch. He served for 23 years in The Blues and Royals, serving at Windsor, Hyde Park Barracks and Detmold, Germany, with tours of Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Germany, before being invalided out with osteoporosis. Laissez - faire by nature, he was a problem solver with a flexible approach. While
being positively horizontal on the laid back scale he was able, sympathetic and widely talented. While never much enjoying riding, with regular falls at Summer Camp, he enjoyed being in London in the ‘70s as this gave him plenty of opportunities to paint, his penchant at the time being cartoonish animals in human activities. On leaving the Army he chose to paint full-time. A widely travelled artist, he was as much at home in the insect-infested jungle as he was in the rolling countryside of Provence where he lived. He painted the botanical and animal life of the world’s great tropical rainforests of Central and South America, Africa, India and Southern Asia. His pictures sold well. During the 1970s he received commercial commissions for companies as diverse as Drambuie, Bear Stearns, BP Oil and The Economist, and in the 1980s he painted many watercolours of the Middle East. Above all, it was for his intrepid jungle expeditions and paintings of desolate rainforests that he is best known. His adventures were all the more impressive because from an early age he had suffered from osteoporosis, the degenerative bone disease. During his life he had four hip replacements. Although a family man he was a free spirit, with a solitary streak. He loved travelling and painting the world. He would take with him little more than his ‘toybox’, a blue briefcase, containing sketchbooks, watercolours, pencils and the silk cocoon in which he slept. During his travels in the rainforest he often snacked on local delicacies such as red ants. In one Brazilian tribe the children fill the hollow centres of palm stalks with palm oil and leave them out overnight to attract ants. Next morning when the stalks have turned pink with the ants, they pick them off and enjoy them like popcorn. Harry joined them and found the ants peppery. He was a thoughtful, kind and courteous man and made friends easily. Good-looking and stylishly scruffy, he charmed everyone he met. He painted the rainforest because he was haunted by its devastation and attracted to its subtle changing light, vivid colour, feeling of space and primeval chaos. As an artist, he felt challenged by the impenetrable jungle landscape that offered no perspective or horizon. Over the course of his travels, he witnessed the dwindling of the forests of Central and South America and Borneo owing to deforestation. He made five trips to the Amazon. His paintings drew attention to the plight of the world’s forests and his work was shown in the West End, New York, Los Angeles and Provence. He was also comfortable in the searing heat of India. His parents had married in Assam, where his mother’s family had been tea planters and colonial administrators. He had spent the past two winters as artist-in-residence of Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, central India, the family seat of his friend
Borneo, The Danum Valley
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Prince Richard Holkar. Harry had spent much time drawing and painting the Narmada river and helped in teaching art to children at the local school. He was also an accomplished writer. He was particularly inspired by the example of Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, the True Blue and his 19th-century exploits. Burnaby had explored Asia Minor and beyond and Harry, following in his hero’s footsteps, travelled across Europe to China to trace the 15th-century Silk Route, keeping an illustrated diary along the way. This journey, in three trips, took him three years. His illustrations accompanied by his lively text were published in The Silk Route in 1999. His other published works include: The Spice Route (2000), The Slave Route (2003) and Rainforest: Light and Spirit, a collaboration with the botanist and ecologist Professor Sir Ghillean Prance (2009). The Prince of Wales, who wrote the foreword, referred to it as a “call to arms”. Carrying little more than his briefcase, Harry travelled across desert, mountain, oceans and jungle, while researching his books. He was writing a book on the South Seas and the Pacific when he died suddenly in India after falling down a flight of steps. Harry was first married to Joanna, with whom he had two daughters, Olivia and Samantha. Secondly, he married Sarah Jane Brooks, the daughter of Christopher Brooks and Patricia Matthews, the late Viscountess Rothermere, in 1988. She survives him with their two sons, Christopher and Harry.
Lieutenant Hugh van Cutsem Late The Life Guards Hugh van Cutsem, who has died aged 72, was a passionate conservationist, countryman and horse-breeder. Hugh Bernard Edward van Cutsem was born on 21st July 1941, the son of Bernard van Cutsem, a champion trainer and bloodstock breeder, of Northmore Farm, Exning, Newmarket, and his first wife, Mary Compton. The van Cutsems were Roman Catholics of Flemish origin who had moved to Britain in the 19th century. After leaving Ampleforth, 465577 Lt HBE van Cutsem served as an officer in The Life Guards from 4th June 1960 and retired on 27th December 1962. A popular man in country sports and conservation circles, Hugh was a founding member of the Countryside Movement; an assiduous fundraiser for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; chairman of the Countryside Business Trust; and possibly the only pro-field sports candidate elected to the council of the National Trust after it introduced its ban on stag-hunting. His methods of managing his land - so that game birds proliferate in a habitat teeming with their favourite diet of grubs, insects and seeds, while enjoying protection from foxes, stoats and crows - had remarkable results, including a recovery in the population of English partridge and a boom in the population of the stone curlew, one of Europe’s rarest birds. In 2001 he had 35 pairs of the birds on his Norfolk estate. “Properly managed shooting is the most vital conservation tool,” he explained to The Daily Telegraph. He was one of the finest shots in the country. For several years the van Cutsems (Hugh and his Dutch-born wife Emilie) were Sandringham neighbours of the Royal family as leaseholders of Anmer Hall. After the lease expired, the van Cutsems moved into a magnificent new neo-Palladian country house on their own estate at Hilborough, near Swaffham, built in the Norfolk
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flint-and-brick vernacular and designed by Francis Johnson from a rudimentary drawing by van Cutsem. On leaving the Army, Hugh became an investment manager at Hambro’s, before setting up his own firm. Later he bought a data storage business and also developed a number of other business interests, including the transfer of his father’s stud farm to Hilborough. In 1994 he won a Country Landowners’ Association award for the restoration of a dilapidated brick and flint barn whose architectural style became the ‘signature’ of his stud. His friend HRH The Prince of Wales presented the award. The van Cutsems were regular worshippers at the Roman Catholic church in Swaffham, and van Cutsem was appointed a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1993. Next to his new house he also built a private chapel to be used for family services and by visiting priests. He died on 2nd September 2013. He married, in 1971, Emilie van Ufford, who survives him with their four sons, one of whom, Nick, is serving in the Regiment.
Warrant Officer Class Two G R Digney BEM, Late the Life Guards Roy Digney first joined The Life Guards in the 1950’s while doing his National Service. Early in 1965 he re-joined the Regiment as a regular soldier. After completing his training at Windsor he joined C Sqn and went with the Regiment to the Far East in early 1966 where he joined The Life Guards Air Group serving in Sarawak Borneo and Malaysia. While in Malaysia he was promoted to Lance Corporal, and on return to the England he continued serving with the Regiment, becoming WO’s/NCO’s Mess Manager; this job found Roy his forte. Following His time as Mess Manager Roy went to the Army Careers Information Office at Leeds, and on his return he became Officers’ Mess steward, where he was to spend the remainder of his service with the Regiment. The photograph shown here is of LCpl Digney in Singapore 1967 as a member of the Air Tp, LG. Roy Digney was an irrepressible character who played a central role in the Officers’ Mess of The Life Guards for six years in the 1980’s. He was a much loved tyrant as he instructed young officers in the way to behave as an officer of The Life Guards and what they might or might not eat. For instance, he forbade the serving of baked beans, or presence of Heinz Tomato Sauce in the Officers’ Mess. He did much at Detmold to encourage spirit within the Officers’ Mess as he ensured outstanding support to the many events in the Mess. He was also renowned for greeting visiting senior officers with tales of their previous meetings on visits to the Regiment, laced with compliments and approval of their entirely deserved advancement, perhaps implied if not stated. As a result, visitors always left the Mess in high spirits, pleased, and thinking well of the Regiment. Before leaving the Regiment he was awarded the BEM for his work. On leaving the Army Roy Digney joined the catering firm Searcy’s, being their travelling butler, to be seen in livery tailcoat with black and yellow waistcoat, ready to carve and direct his staff. He often worked in St James’s Palace and other such high profile places: his imposing and accomplished manner inspired confidence in staff, hosts and customers alike.
On retirement he moved to Lincolnshire with his family. The latter months of Roy’s life were spent battling cancer of the spine. He and his wife Pam took this as an opportunity to highlight to the media the deficiencies in care. Pam cared for her husband who was, in his final months, paralysed from the waist down. They worked alongside Macmillan Cancer Support in the call for greater support for cancer carers. Our sympathies go to Pam and his children.
Tom Humphries Late The Life Guards Tom Humphries was born in Lancashire in 1911. He was one of six children, having four brothers and a sister called Nellie. At the outbreak of World War 1 Tom was seven years old. As many kids of this time Tom lived in poverty. He said he would be sent to the local pawn shop with small bundles of cloths and rags which his mother would gather, they would be given 3/6 for each bundle. At 14 Tom left school and went into bricklaying with his Dad for 10 shillings a week. One day the boss came over and asked Tom if he would like to learn how to hod carry; he was spotted because at 14 Tom was 5ft 9in tall. With his father’s permission Tom went on to train as a hod carrier, where his wages went up to £2 per week. He did this for a couple of years, but unfortunately he found himself on the dole. One day in Warrington he was tapped on the shoulder by a man who asked “How tall are you lad?” Tom told him and he asked “Ever though of joining the Army? You’d be the right height for the Guards.” Tom went along for the interview and was asked “Can you ride a Horse?” No was Tom’s answer. He was then told with his height he would make a good Life Guard and he was lucky as a place was available for him to join. This is how Tom found himself standing at the gates of Regents Park Barracks in a cap muffler and wooden clogs to report for training. At this time riding school took nine months. On completion he faced the excitement of his first Queen’s Life Guard. The story he told is that he and his friend Harry were sent ahead of the Guard to Horse Guards, as moving from Regents Park was a much longer journey than from Knightsbridge. They were given directions and set off but, as Tom put it, London was a very big and busy place and they missed the left turn onto Horse Guards and kept going up The Mall. By the time they had realised their mistake and retraced their steps, the Guard had arrived. In the late 1930’s Tom and the Regiment were back in Knightsbridge, where he was a Drill Instructor. He also spent a year on the Musical Ride and performed in front of The Queen at Windsor. At the outbreak of World War 2 the horses were evacuated by train to the country and Tom was sent to Yorkshire to train for the Guards Armoured Division. After the war he was based in Germany in 2 Troop B Squadron. Corporal Tommy Humphries served in The Life Guards from 1936 to 1947 when he transferred his allegiance to the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) later to become the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) and more latterly the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC).
At the end of his army Career Tom went to work at Ascot race course and could be seen standing next to HM The Queen while she presented the Gold Cup on many occasions. He also worked in Pinewood studios and met most if not all of the old greats, for example Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to name but two. He eventually rose to be Head of Security. Tommy eventually retired and went to live in a nursing home at Wexham, Slough. On 4th May 2011 he reached his 100th birthday and it was decided to hold his birthday in the Warrant Officers’ and Non Commissioned Officers’ Mess in Windsor. Many of his family flew in from Australia to attend. Later, on the 4th May 2013 Tommy celebrated his 102nd Birthday and two NCOs in best drill order were present to wish him well on behalf of the Regiment. Sadly we received news of his passing in October 2013. At his interment, members of the association attended and CoH Carl Johnson laid the Association Wreath.
Sir Colin Davis Late The Band of The Life Guards In 1945 a young Colin Davis joined the Army as a musician, joining the Band of The Life Guards. He served for three years under the Director of Music, Maj Albert Le Moine, who was later to become the Army’s Principal Director of Music. Colin Davis was born on 25th September 1927 in Surrey. His father, damaged in the First World War worked in a bank, and the family of seven children lived under the threat of the bailiff. He joined the Royal College of Music when he was 16 to study the clarinet. It was after this that he determined to join the Army, it is assumed to enable him to have a paid position for a few years to gather his strength before launching his musical career and become a conductor. His failure to master the piano resulted in the Royal College of Music refusing to entertain his conducting ambition. He taught himself by observation from the orchestra pit at Glyndebourne, and conducting local choral societies. He achieved all his ambitions, being an acknowledged and accomplished conductor for nearly 50 years, the pinnacle being his time at the London Symphony Orchestra. Awarded the CBE in 1965, being made a Companion of Honour in 2001, and receiving the Queen’s Medal in 2009, he may be the most decorated man with civil honours ever to have worn the uniform of The Life Guards. He died on 14th April 2013.
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Information for members of both The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals Associations Communication Correspondence for both Associations should be addressed to: The Honorary Secretary (LG or RHG/D Assn) Home Headquarters Household Cavalry, Combermere Barracks Windsor, Berkshire SL4 3DN Gen office: 01753 755297 LG Assn Secretary: 01753 755229 RHG/D Assn Secretary: 01753 755132 Fax: 01753 755161 E-Mail for Home HQ is: email@example.com E-Mail for Secretary LG Assn is: position vacant E-Mail for Secretary RHG/D Assn is: firstname.lastname@example.org Recruiting and Admission procedures for In-Pensioners Royal Hospital Chelsea The Royal Hospital Chelsea are currently reviewing their recruiting and admission procedures as they now believe there may be some senior citizens with military experience who might be eligible to become InPensioners but who are not aware of the eligibility criteria or what being a Chelsea Pensioner means. To be eligible for admission as a Chelsea Pensioner, a candidate must be: • •
Over 65 years of age Either a former non-commissioned officer or soldier of the British Army; or a former officer of the British Army who served for at least 12 years in the ranks before obtaining a commission; or have been awarded a disablement pension while serving in the ranks. Able to live independently in the sheltered accommodation (known as Long Wards). The Royal Hospital does not usually accept direct entries in to the Infirmary. Free of any financial obligation to support a spouse or family.
If you are in receipt of an Army Service Pension or War Disability Pension you will be required to surrender it upon entry to the Royal Hospital. Please note that if your Army Service or War Disability Pension does not meet a minimum threshold you will be required to ‘top-up’ to that amount, providing it does not place you in financial difficulty.
If you have access to the internet more information can be found here: http://www.chelsea-pensioners. co.uk/becoming-a-chelsea-pensionerbrochure Or you may ring for more information on 020 7881 5204
Household Cavalry Information site run by Peter Ashman: www.householdcavalry.info
Change of Home Address Members are requested to inform us, through Home Headquarters Household Cavalry, of any change in your address. Every year both Associations lose touch with a number of members who have failed to notify us of those changes. Any correspondence returned will result in that member being placed in the non-effective part of the database.
1st Royal Dragoons www.1stroyaldragoons.org Contact Mr John Atkins e-mail: email@example.com Tel: 01952 813647
Your E-Mail Addresses Notification of changes to your E-mail address is as important as changes to your postal address. Please keep us informed of these also. Regimental Items for Sale Various items with the Regimental Cypher are available from the PRI shop at Combermere Barracks. The shop manager can be contacted on 01753 755271. The Household Cavalry Museum Shop at Horse Guards can be contacted on 020 7930 3070 or you can visit their web site at: www. householdcavalrymuseum.org.uk Websites The Household Cavalry Foundation Website is up and running at www. hcavfoundation.org The ‘Official’ Household Cavalry Website can be found at: www.army.mod.uk/armoured/ regiments/26869.aspx ARMYNET ArmyNet is the serving Army’s private Web site to which Association members have now been given access. To open an account with ArmyNet non serving members must first register with Captain R Hennessy-Walsh on 01753 755229 or email that request to him at firstname.lastname@example.org www.theoldoaktree.net A website for former members of The Life Guards. To register follow the link above. www.theseniorcavalryclub.proboards.com A Bulletin Board for former Household Cavalrymen. To register follow the link above.
Household Calvary Association - Dorset Squadron Dorsetsquadron@aol.com
The Queen’s Birthday Parade & Reviews The Queen’s Birthday Parade will be held on Saturday 14th June 2014 (Grenadier Guards Colours) with the Colonel’s Review on 7th June and the Major General’s Review on 31st May. A limited number of tickets for the Inner Line of Sentries (standing only) will be available for members through your respective Honorary Secretary. Tickets cannot be purchased through Home Headquarters Household Cavalry. Applications to attend the Parade in the seated stands should be sent in January and February only to: The Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX. Combined Cavalry Parade and Service The 90th Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Parade and Service will be held in Hyde Park on Sunday 11th May 2014. 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 available from your respective Honorary Secretary. Helpful Contacts The following is a list of organisations which members may find useful for future reference. The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund www.operationalcasualtiesfund.co.uk Veterans-UK (0800 169 2277) www.veterans-uk.info email@example.com Royal Windsor Visitors Information Bureau Enquiries: 01753 743900
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Accommodation: 01753 743907
SSAFA Forces Help SSFAF-FH 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 website at: www.ssafa.org.uk.
Those visiting Windsor, either for Regimental functions, or any other reason, may wish to know that a Travelodge is now open offering rooms at very competitive rates. They can be contacted on 0871 984 6331 or their website at: http://www.travelodge.co.uk/ find_a_hotel/hotel/hotel_id/329/ WindsorCentral We are in the process of identifying ‘Friends’ of the Household Cavalry who might be willing to offer up a bed or two during Association Dinners. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission 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 ESHRA (Ex-Service Homes Referral Agency) The role of ESHRA is to supply information and advice on both private and ex-Service 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. Tel: 0207 839 4466. firstname.lastname@example.org 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 exOfficers 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 or their website at: www.officersassociation.org.uk 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 TRBL branch near you (number in the local phone book), or the national Legion help line on 08457 725 725 or visit their website at:
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SSAFA Forces Help – Recruitment SSAFA Forces Help need more volunteers from each Association to be Casework Supporters who are visitors, treasurers, administrators and fundraisers. SSAFA Forces Help volunteers are there to provide practical help, advice and friendship to all serving and ex-serving 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: Branch Recruitment Office 19 Queen Elizabeth Street London, SE1 2LP Telephone: 020 7463 9223 who will put you in touch with your nearest team or make contact through
SSAFA Forces Help Housing Advice Service Provides housing information and advice to Ex-Service personnel and their dependants. For further information contact them at 01722 436400 or www.ssafa.org.uk/housing.html
Veterans Accommodation Fund This is a £40M one off fund and seeks UK wide projects which offer access to accommodation for Veterans with a housing need. This could include homeless hostels; homes for the wounded, sick or injured; and long term care facilities. Further details about the Fund, including criteria and application form, can be found at the following address: https://www.gov.uk/ government/publications/veteransaccommodation-fund
8HJ Telephone: 01264 385415 Mil: 94391 Ext: 5415 Haig Homes 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 or through www.haighomes.org.uk The Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (Combat Stress) For nearly 80 years it has been the only organisation 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 website 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-Servicemen who lose a leg after Service. For more details contact them on 020 8590 1124 or visit their website at: www.blesma.org St Dunstan’s 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 5021 or visit their website: www.st-dunstans.org.uk. Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) Contact no is: 020 7321 2011 or at www.rfea.org.uk
Action: Applications to the Fund are invited up until 13th June 2014 with a value range between £10,000 and £10,000,000.
Veterans Aid Previously known as the Ex-Service Fellowship Centres (EFC) whose aims are is to relieve distress among ex-servicemen of all ranks and their widows or widowers who, at the time of application for assistance, are unemployed, homeless or for reasonable cause in need. They can be contacted at 020 7828 2468. Their website is at www. veterans-aid.net
Information contact: Mrs Kim Hudson, SO2 Covenant Army Headquarters, PS4(A), DPS(A), Level 2, Zone 2, IDL 428, Ramillies Building, Marlborough Lines, Monxton Road, Andover, SP11
Ministry of Defence (MOD) Medal Office There is now one Medal Office, which covers all three Services and they can be contacted as follows:
Service Personnel and Veterans Agency Building 250, RAF Innsworth Gloucester GL3 1HW Email: JPAC@afpaa.mod.uk Fax: 0141 224 3586 Free Phone: 0800 085 3600 Overseas Civ: +44 (0) 141 224 3600 For additional information about medals visit: www.veterans-uk.info Veterans Badges Men and Women who enlisted in HM Armed Forces between 3 September 1945 to date are entitled to a Veterans Badge. There is no qualifying length of Service. You can download a form from the Veterans Agency Website at www.veterans-uk.info/vets_badge/ vets_badge.htm or can obtain one by telephoning the Veterans Agency Help line 0800 169 2277 Army Personnel Records and Family Interest Enquiries Historical Disclosures The Ministry of Defence (MOD) keeps the records of former members of our Armed Forces for administrative use after their discharge. A Subject Access Requests (SAR) form needs to be completed in order to access records for all ranks in the Army that served after 1920. The following address should be used for ex-soldiers wishing to access their personal records. Army Personnel Centre, Disclosure 2, Mail Point 515, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX Tel: 0845 600 9663 The following address should be used for family members wishing to access records of deceased soldiers
Army Personnel Centre, Historical Disclosures, Mail Point 400, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX The following personnel Service records have been transferred to the National Archive (formerly the Public Record Office) and are available for public access. -- Royal Navy Officers commissioned prior to 1914 -- Royal Navy Ratings who enlisted prior to 1924 and First World War records for the Women’s Royal Naval Service -- Royal Marine Officers commissioned prior to 1926 -- Royal Marine Other Ranks that enlisted prior to 1926 -- Army Officers commissioned prior to 1920 -- Army Other Ranks that enlisted prior to 1920 -- Royal Air Force Officers that served prior to 1922 -- Royal Air Force Airmen that served prior to 1924
Service records which pre-date those held by the MOD have been transferred to the National Archive and are freely available for public access. However the National Archives is not resourced to carry out searches. Enquirers are instead welcome to visit, or hire an independent researcher - see the National Archive website for further details at: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ militaryhistory The Sandhurst Trust The Sandhurst Trust (formerly the Sandhurst Foundation), is open to all who have been through RMAS,
whether Regular, Reserve or Late Entry and provides a good method of keeping in touch with your course-mates, keeping updated on Sandhurst matters, receiving the opportunity to attend events and using the grounds for special events (summer wedding receptions are particularly popular by the lakeside after a Royal Military Chapel service). If you have not already done so, I do urge you to consider joining. The annual fee is not large and details can be gained from email@example.com The Veterans Oyster Photocard You can travel free at any time using your Veterans Oyster photocard on: Bus - Travel free at any time on buses within London Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground showing the TFL symbol You can apply for a Veterans Oyster photocard if you are: •
Receiving ongoing payments under the War Pensions Scheme in your name (this includes widows, widowers and dependants)
Or receiving Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in your name (this includes widows, widowers and dependants)
Transport for London will not issue a Veterans Oyster photocard if you live in London and are eligible for the Freedom Pass. Visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ tickets/14424.aspx or Oyster photocard team on 0845 331 9872 for further details and application.
he 7th Cavalry Brigade (Household Cavalry), consisting of the 1st & 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards, relieved the 6th Cavalry Brigade at Zandvoorde on October 27th 1914, holding it until October 30th when intense German pressure finally forced them to retreat from the ridge. Their trenches were completely destroyed by artillery fire and they suffered heavy casualties before and during their retirement. The memorial, unveiled on 4th May 1924 by Lord Haig, commemorates 120 men of the 1st Life Guards, 114 men of the 2nd Life Guards, and 62 men of the Royal Horse Guards, the majority of whom were killed defending the ridge at Zandvoorde. On 19th February 2014 Lord Astor, presently Under Secretary of State and the Lords Spokesman on Defence since 2003 and responsible for commemorations in the MoD, and a former officer in The Life Guards, placed a wreath at the Household Cavalry Memorial at Zandvoorde, whilst on a recent visit to Belgium. The memorial, erected on the place where Lt Charles Pelham’s (Lord Worsley, who commanded the Machine Gun section of The Blues) body was found, was put up at the instigation of his and other families in memory of their lost loved ones. Lord Worsley was married to Lord Astor’s great aunt and the memorial was unveiled by his grandfather, Earl Haig who was Colonel of The Blues.
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Support for Construction and Maintenance of the Flanders Memorial at the Guards’ Chapel The 1914 - 2014 Memorial Garden Book of Donors is being collated now until Remembrance Sunday 2014 when the Memorial Garden is opened at the Guards' Chapel. The Memorial Garden Book of Donors lists all who make a donation to the Memorial Garden Fund. Donations of all sizes are welcome, even the most modest being vital for completion and maintenance of this particularly special memorial.
All have an opportunity to make a donation and have their name recorded for posterity. The Book of Donors will eventually reside in either the Guards Museum or the Guards' Chapel for public viewing. Donations should be made to the 'Guards Museum Trust' in the case of cheques or through the Just Giving Website - Guards Museum. Alternatively
please email the Curator of the Guards Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those interested in making a larger contribution, their attention is drawn to www.flandersfieldappeal.com where other options are offered. The address for correspondence is: Curator, Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6 HQ. Thank you for your support in promoting and securing this unique memorial.
Visitors to the Guards’ Chapel will see that there is a project to replace the kneelers, many of which date from the rededication of the Chapel 50 years ago and are wearing out. The new kneelers have the Regimental cipher or badge on them, and a name or set of initials chosen by the sponsor on the front if they wish. We are looking to increase the numbers of new Household Cavalry kneelers: the regiments are currently under-represented!
Names on kneelers made to date include Household Division organisations, Regimental Associations and Branches, individuals (living or deceased) and charities or Livery Companies which support the Household Division or individual Regiments. Kneelers have also been sponsored by those getting married in the Chapel in order to remember the occasion, and indeed by a father and his daughter to commemorate the latter’s Christening (both their sets of initials appear on the kneelers in these cases). Those with a direct Regimental connection qualify for the Regimental cipher, star or badge on the top, other sponsors may be accorded the Household Division star.
If you would like to sponsor a kneeler - the current cost of the new kneelers is £150.00p - please send an email to the Treasurer Household Division Funds (email@example.com) or write to him at Headquarters Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX, and the Kneelers Project Officer will respond.
Household Cavalry Association - Dorset www.householdcavalryassociationdorset.com
Email: Dorsetsquadron@aol.com President The Rt. Hon The Earl of Normanton - formerly The Blues and Royals Vice President Mr George Dugdale - formerly The Life Guards Chairman Mr Raymond D Peck - formerly The Life Guards
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Secretary and Treasurer Mr John Triggs BEM - formerly The Blues and Royals Committee Lt Col Mick Harding - formerly The Blues and Royals Mr Fred Kemp - formerly Royal Horse Guards Mr Gary Matthew - formerly The Blues and Royals Mr Brian Murray - formerly The Blues and Royals
Mr Bill Stephenson - formerly The Blues and Royals Mr Barry Woodley - formerly The Life Guards
s we entered our 32nd year, Mr Winter joined us in all his strength with ice and snow. The Committee being made of stern stuff did not let this deter the plan for the year, “more of the same please” and making sure they got it right for the membership. Contracts argued and agreed with the hotels and
we were off for the first event of the year - the Spring Dinner and Dance - which again incorporated the Winter Warmer Draw. We host two draws a year and the balloon race and the profit made from each is used to subsidise the annual dinner, thus making the event as affordable as possible to members. So come the weekend centred on Saturday 9th March saw members and friends assemble from the Thursday night onwards at the Hotel Celebrity in Bournemouth. Friday night was the ‘Meet n’ Greet’ night where the comments of “I haven’t seen you since 1967!” and “what ever happened to ???” were heard around the restaurant as 44 souls gathered and enjoyed dinner and a later disco. Come the day and 67 members and friends gathered for the Spring Dinner, and a much enjoyed informal dinner was complemented with good food and the most excellent of company. Our sincere thanks to our Gentlemen Trumpeters - Messrs Sid Dodson, Bruce Worthy and Steve Hyett for the most rousing note perfect Mess Call and for looking the part - both immaculate! We did have a ‘special guest’ (attracted to men with brass instruments), and ‘she’ agreed to a quickie photo with our Gentlemen. The ‘Winter Warmer Draw’ drew some anticipation as the three prizes of short breaks and tickets were most attractive. Again, very special thanks to Tony Prynne who out-sold his previous efforts himself by producing £150 of ticket sales - many thanks Tony! Member Tony Allsop took some good photos and these can be seen on the Association website at www.householdcavalryassociationdorset.com - it is what it says on the label!
the muster and the Service of Remembrance followed by refreshments in HCMR and many thanks for the privilege. And the author of Barmy Army Rag Mag and member Peter De Cosemo presented to WO1 (RCM) Danny Robson a cheque for £1,500. This grand sum was the proceeds from the sale of the Barmy Army Rag Mag going to the HCF - Operational Casualties Fund. Association members and friends sold £266 worth of this total. Many thanks to all who purchased or helped with the sales of the Rag Mag. Copies are still available, contact the Secretary on 07817 115690.
On Sunday 12th May 2013 Committee Member Barry Woodley again laid our wreath at the Memorial to the Fallen in the Hyde Park Bombing in 1982. After the CCOCA Annual Parade, many members assembled on the day to join
The Balloon Race tickets were sent out with the April newsletter and come the launch day on Saturday 7th September the Helium Crew assembled at Schloss Peck to taste the wine for the annual dinner and launch the balloons. A blustery
32nd Annual Dinner Top Table Rear row, left to right: Lt Col Stuart Sibley MBE, Maj Gen Sir Simon Cooper GCVO, The Earl of Normanton, Mr Ray Peck and Lt Col (Retd) Malcolm Torrent Front row, left to right: Lady Cooper, Mrs Paula Peck and Mrs Isobel Torrent. Tpr Lugg LG, Tpr Bramell RHG/D
The Gentlemen Trumpeters and ‘friend’ enjoy a joke before announcing dinner
day had the balloons off in a North Easterly direction and that was without the help of the wine. The ticket that travelled the furthest distance and, therefore, the winner was found in a pub car park - again! This time, the Barley Mow in Oakley near Basingstoke, Hampshire. So congratulations to Sarah Bullock of Horstead Keynes on winning the £150 prize and Mr Jack Moody of Oakley for finding the ticket - a £10 note was sent to him as Finders Fee. The Annual Dinner was held earlier this year on Saturday 28th September, and following the model of 2012, the dinner was held in The Queens Hotel while most diners were accommodated in the Hotel Celebrity some 150 yards away. The economics had this as the preferred option of the Committee, in that it kept the dinner costs to the minimum while maintaining the standard we expect and demand. Again, the Thursday night arrival numbers increased as 18 members took advantage of this special offer and, come the Friday, they were joined by another 67 and a cracking good informal night was enjoyed, with the items of the 2013 Auction, (in favour of the HCF), laid out for members to examine. The disco took us into the witching hour and many stayed on past that to enjoy more than the night air. On the Saturday morning, the selfservice full English was well received but the Between the Piers swim didn’t attract any takers this year, so the status quo was maintained! The soup ‘n sandwich lunch set the taste buds off and was most appreciated; this set
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too was well replied. The Chairman rounded off the ‘talk-talk’ element of the dinner with a toast to The Ladies. It was then time for a welfare break and diners were asked to take their seats again for the HCF Charity Auction element thereafter. The Secretary then warbled on and kicked off the auction. Members had been extremely generous of their time, art, skill and donated some excellent items of specific and general interMichael Shillabeer RVM with a Royal Horse Guards wreath and est for fund raising. A Bill Stephenson with Dorset Squadron wreath either side of Ron total of 13 items went Bell, ex Life Guards, at the Menin Gate, Ypres in Belgium under the hammer, the anticipation for the evening event. and with donations from Mrs Anne Come the hour, members assembled in O’Gorman and Harry Maplesden, we the Hotel Celebrity for the AGM and happily raised £1,550 for the HCF. The fifteen minutes later all the business disco along with poppers, blow-outs of the day was achieved. Pre-dinner and torpedo balloons moved the event drinks and photography was conducted into party mood and had the dance floor at the Hotel Celebrity too this year to full. At 1am the event officially wound avoid the crush at the dinner venue up but many members took the party and worked well. Come 6:40pm our back with them to the Hotel Celebrity Gentlemen Trumpeters of the night, just across the road and continued the Messrs Steve Hyett and Bruce Worthy movement till the wee small hours. gave a resounding call to dinner and diners obliged by adjourning across Remembrance Sunday and Armistice the road into the Palace Suite at The Day saw members commemorate the Queens Hotel. There were many good occasion in their own way around the comments about the layout and good world. Bill Stephenson joined Michael table displays. The Rules of Engagement Shillabeer RVM on a journey to the were explained and then the top table WW1 memorials and war graves in Belwas paraded into dinner to tremendous gium and at the Menin Gate at Ypres paapplause and vigour. Grace was raded and Bill laid a wreath on behalf of uttered and once seated the Gentlemen the association. Trumpeters gave us a full Call to Battle to much applause and appreciation. A Finally, in December members attended grand dinner was enjoyed complete the Freedom of Windsor parade and with cheeseboard to round off the meal, and with five bottles of wine per table, that helped the meal go down and the mood mellow. Come the moment and the President read the Salutation to Her Majesty and Her kind reply, he then proposed the Loyal Toast which was well joined by all. Regrettably, Major General EA Smyth-Osbourne CBE, General Officer Commanding London District and Major General Household Division, was unable to join us but the Chairman introduced Lt Col (Retd) MJ Torrent LTCL, LGSM, psm and late Director of Music for the Band of The Life Guards who gave a most illuminating talk about his career and in particular the current and future situation of the Household Cavalry Bands. He concluded with a toast to the Household Cavalry and this
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witnessed the Medal Presentation ceremony, celebrating the safe return of all the troops involved. Later that month we celebrated the annual Christmas Lunch with over 50 members, family and friends enjoying the tradition seasonal meal in excellent company; we were nobly entertained at the Hotel Celebrity again. After the raffle we held the 32nd Annual Draw for three cash prizes. With much anticipation the Third prize of £100 was drawn first and Chris Whittham was the winner. Moving swiftly on, and a big stir up of the tickets - the Second Prize draw for £200 took place and Harvey (Satch) Rumbelow was the winner here. Another twirl of the tickets and you could smell the tension like a week-worn pair of denims - £300 is a tidy little sum on an ordinary day, and at Christmas time it goes down very well with all the added expenses. The winner of the First Prize of £300 was Mrs Marion Bright, well done to all the winners. Again, Tony Prynne out sold himself this year with a massive £255 tickets sold - very many thanks again Tony and well done - and well done for all who took part, thank you too! Since 2009 this association has generated over £15,000.00 for the HCOCF/HCF to assist in providing support to those killed and injured and the families. On the AGM it was proposed and unanimously carried that for 2014 we will now be supporting the two regimental associations equally, who provide direct and indirect assistance to all Household Cavalrymen and their families. As we move into 2014 the Association is most thankful that the Op HERRICK18 troops arrived home safely and look forward with anticipation to the Standards Parade in May. Uncertain times still seem ahead for the Army but we will continue with pride, relish and comrade into the year and beyond.
Members and friends enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch
Household Cavalry Association North Staffs Branch President: Lt Col (Retd) H S J Scott - formerly The Life Guards Vice President: Capt P V R Thellusson - formerly 1st Royal Dragoons Chairman: Mr B A Lewis - formerly The Royal Horse Guards Secretary: Mr I J Taylor - formerly The Royal Horse Guards Treasurer: Mr R Adams - formerly Royal Horse Guards Annual Report 2013 e had the usual slow start to the year, it would seem winter weather be it cold and wet, or both, is not welcomed by old bones. However, a head count showed members were all up for another year of activities, albeit at a slower pace than previous years. We planned the events that we hold every year hoping to keep up our activities in high profile so the locals are well aware of the Household Cavalry presence in the area. We welcome the occasional new member that joins our ranks, and extend the offer to all nearby. Despite putting the word around, it’s surprising how few former Household Cavalrymen in our area know of us.
The AGM in March was chaired by our Vice President, who passed on news of our serving colleagues from our President, and serving Branch Officers were re elected. After our first Social Evening in April, we were looking forward to our visit to Windsor for the RHG/D As-
sociation Dinner in May. The weekend of 15th/16th June was our annual Waterloo weekend, with a social evening for former Royals on the Saturday night and a Service on the Sunday morning was conducted by our Branch Chaplain.
ing in her younger days, was not slow in choosing a mount and received a comment from Debbie Machin, owner of the riding school, that she was a natural. What ceremonial dress would be suitable for a mounted Chaplain?
One of our members, along with a farmer colleague, announced that he was arranging a Classic Vehicle Rally and BBQ on behalf of the Branch in June. This was a new venture for us to be involved in, and the organisers decided that all profits would be passed to the Branch to forward on to The Household Cavalry Foundation (HCF).
July was our second social evening when we could relax and look back at the busy month of June, much to talk about. In August we were pleased to welcome a new member to our ranks; Mr Ken Healey was made most welcome.
Although the day of the rally on 20th June was overcast and damp, the rain kept off for most of the evening and there was a most pleasing turnout of classic vehicles, from tractors, motorcycles, a group of Austin 7’s and some members from the local Triumph TR Club. Older vehicles included an Armstrong Siddley saloon and a Rolls Royce, but the star of the show was the 1913 Crossley, 100 years old and still arriving under its own power. While folk were admiring the transport extravaganza, Branch member Simon McKnight who had helped organise the event, was busy over a BBQ serving up hot dogs and burgers, a great time was had by all, and the money donated to the HCF was over £500. Let’s hope we can do the same next year. Our Branch meeting in June was held at the Endon Riding School, home of Riding for the Disabled where, in addition to there being more food than we could possibly eat, the riding school was open for any lapsed riders, or anyone who thought it never too late to start riding. Our Chaplain, who had done some rid-
We were now on the run up to our Annual Dinner in October. We managed a full house again, and it was a pleasure to see several members of the Cyprus Veterans join us again. Our guest speaker was Lt Col Stibbe OBE and he did his homework on the area to crack some jokes, perhaps only understood by locals. All guests received an engraved pen as a memento of their visit, the raffle was successful and raised more funds to present to the HCF to add to that raised at the Classic Vehicle Rally in June. Our final meeting of the year held in November was the time to look back on another successful year and suggest provisional dates for our calendar next year. It is hoped that we may have some more surprise events, like a repeat of the Classic Vehicle Rally. The Branch Christmas Dinner early in December brought the end to another year, to which we had invited along our friends from the local Riding for the Disabled, and we were able to present them with a well deserved donation. So ends another very full year, we wish all our members, colleagues, serving and retired, Peace and Joy this Christmas and success in everything you do in 2014.
Cars on show, very old and old, at the Classic Vehicle Rally and BBQ held on 20th June 2013
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Reunion of the 1st Royal Dragoons by Mr John Atkins, formerly The 1st Royal Dragoons
The annual reunion of the members of the 1st Royal Dragoons was held again this year at the Fradley Arms, near Lichfield on the 15th and 16 June 2013. During the weekend of the reunion, Mr Brian Allen organised a collection, amounting to £218, which was donated to the North Staffs Branch for any remedial or repair work carried out by them at The Blues and Royals
Memorial Garden, not included in the maintenance contract already in force between The Blues and Royals Association and the private contractor. This donation was at the request of the Rev Ann Taylor to be given to the Household Cavalry Association Branch instead of presenting her with a bouquet of flowers for officiating at the Service at the National Memorial Arboretum, which she kindly carried out on the
Ex Royals attending the Annual Reunion and Service at the NMA
Sunday morning. Unfortunately, this year we did not have a large turn out, but the weekend was, I believe, enjoyed by those that attended. This year we did a collection which amounted to £220 for the St Clare Hospice in memory of Pat and Derek Leese; this was added to the money raised at the funeral of Pat who sadly passed away this year.
A donation cheque is presented to the Household Cavalry Association N Staffs Branch, L-R: Mr Brian Allen, Mr Barry Lewis (Branch Chairman) Mr Ian Taylor (Branch Secretary)
Household Cavalry Association North East President Capt (Retd) P B A Townley - formerly The Blues and Royals Chairman/Secretary Mr Ken Rowe - formerly Royal Horse Guards
nce again the year starts with our Annual Dinner. Our guest Chairman was the Regimental Adjutant, Lt Col Harry Scott. WO1 (RCM) Danny Robson from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment also attended and provided us with two Dutymen, which is always appreciated and who are always well received by our guests. Other guests included The Right Worshipful Mayor of Sunderland and the Mayoress. Also there were the grandparents of the late LCpl Sean Russell Tansey, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. They were overwhelmed with the welcome from our President, Captain Peter Townley. 17th June once again saw several members visit the Mayor’s Parlour. Our Chairman presented the Mayor with a certificate making him an Honorary Member of the Association Branch, continuing our links with the City of Sunderland.
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August 8th was a lovely summer day and saw several members and their wives visit Newby Hall, near Ripon, North Yorkshire. This is the workplace of Ex-SQMC’s ‘Gunner’ Mardon and Paul Thomas. ‘Gunner’ gave us a tour of the magnificent gardens and grounds. Mrs Mardon laid on a lunch Members with the Mayor and the Mayoress In the for us and tea and Mayor’s Parlour, Sunderland sandwiches before Forthcoming Events: we left. Many thanks for a really lovely Annual Dinner day. Saturday, 29th March 2014 Visit to Newby Hall - TBA Thanks again must go to Ken Wright Eden Camp and Denis Sayers for cleaning the Sunday, 7th September 2014 Household Cavalry accoutrements in Remembrance Weekend, Sunderland the Mayor’s Parlour and Geoff McIn8th and 9th November 2014 erny, our Branch Standard Bearer. We had 15 members on Remembrance Sunday who marched behind our Branch President, Captain Peter Townley. The Standard was escorted by two Dutymen, which always draws magnificent applause throughout.
Finally, I would like to express the feelings of all the Association members and thank the outgoing Regimental Secretary, Major Paul Stretton, and the outgoing Assistant Regimental Secretary, Captain Dick Hennessy-
Walsh, for all their help over the years and wish them good luck in their forthcoming real retirement.
‘Gunner’ showing us his garden
Members and their wives, with ‘Gunner’ and Julie Mardon, on visit to Newby Hall, North Yorkshire
Household Cavalry Association North West and West Yorkshire President: Lt Col The Hon R C Assheton TD DL Chairman & Treasurer: Mr David Simpson firstname.lastname@example.org Vice Chairman: Mr John McCarthy email@example.com Secretary & Webmaster: Mr Rob Mather 07818 828286 firstname.lastname@example.org Events: Mr Kev Thompson email@example.com
e are pleased to announce the recent rebirth of the Household Cavalry North West and West Yorkshire Association branch, also welcoming south Yorkshire, to be known as ‘The Tudor Squadron’. We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Lieutenant Colonel The Honourable R C Assheton TD DL as our branch President. We would like to hear from all of our old friends and comrades from both The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals so we can keep in touch and inform you of a range of events, dinners, drinks nights, lunches, quarterly newsletters, and more. You can purchase your membership on our website www. householdcavalry.net, for the small fee of £10 per year, where you will also find a range of resources including assistance with finding employment, welfare issues, ex forces benefits, along with a well stocked Amazon affiliated shop selling a range of regimental
merchandise, military clothing and accessories, plus a fine selection of wines and spirits. All funds raised from membership fees are invested back into the branch, and 10% of merchandise sales are donated to the Household Cavalry Foundation. Forthcoming events; in addition to the above we will be holding an annual Pig Roast on 3rd May 2014 in Lancashire and the annual Manchester Trooping event in June, which is mostly a liquid lunch to watch the Queen’s Birthday Parade and meet up with old friends. There will also be a Summer Ball on 26th July 2014 at The Haydock Thistle Hotel, along with a variety of other events listed on the website. Please email or ring the Secretary for tickets. Phot. Pictured from left to right are: Lenny Key, Peter Ditcham, Rob Mather, Kev Thompson, John McCarthy at the Warrington Remembrance Service, 2013.
Useful contacts and links Branch Website: www.householdcavalry.net Twitter:
We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
Pictured from left to right are: Lenny Key, Peter Ditcham, Rob Mather, Kev Thompson and John McCarthy at the Warrington Remembrance Service, 2013
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Features Recollections of Serving in the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) During the Late 1940s
by Mr John W Ansell, formerly Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)
aving reached the age of 18 in early spring 1947, I was conscripted into the Army and duly reported to the Reception Centre at Warley Barracks, Brentwood. One of the first acts (apart from ‘jabs’) was to be seen by the Careers Officer who determined what arm of the Army I should be sent to. Seeing on my paperwork that I worked for Barclays Bank in a London Branch, the officer said that I should join the Army Pay Corps. I responded by saying, “With respect Sir, I wish to follow family tradition by joining the Brigade of Guards, preferably the Armoured Section of the Household Cavalry”. I was being a bit cheeky, as my only family connection with the Guards, was an uncle who served as a Colour Sergeant in the Grenadiers after the First World War. The Officer agreed, and I got my wish. A few weeks later, I was given a travel warrant, and told to report to Combermere Barracks, Windsor. I was the only one from that particular intake from Warley that was posted to the Household Cavalry, but I met up with others arriving at Windsor that day. After completing basic training and qualifying as Driver/Operator, I was selected to go and run the office of the Gunnery School. The officer commanding was Capt Crossfield. That was an interesting job and entailed arranging classroom courses, gun maintenance, and trips with the Daimler Armoured cars to Larkhill or Lulworth Cove for live firing of the 2-pounders and Besa MG guns for each course. I was promised being made up to Cpl, but events overtook that. Very soon B Squadron was put on alert to go to Germany at fairly short notice. B Squadron’s SCM was John Sallis, (he later went on to be commissioned) and he told me that he wanted me to run B Squadron Office in Menden, BAOR. I became very busy working with him in arranging the move of Squadron equipment. We marched behind the Band of The Blues to the railway station, and boarded a train to Waterloo, then transferred by truck to Liverpool Street Station for the troop train to Harwich for the overnight troop ship crossing to the Hook of Holland, then by train to
Hamm, and finally by truck to Menden. The Barracks were a pleasant surprise, very good quarters and facilities, much better than the old ‘Napoleonic’ Combermere that we had just left. At that time, the political situation between Russia and the Western allies was deteriorating rapidly over the issue of the road access from the British Zone to Berlin, in what later became known as ‘The Cold War’. The Squadron settled in, and took over the vehicles from the previous Squadron which had moved to Berlin. A lot of time was spent in training, including a two week period of manoeuvres in the south of Germany with the American 1st Cavalry unit, who were also primarily a reconnaissance force. They had six-wheeled armoured cars, but they were no match for our Daimlers on cross-country exercises. I recall the pleasures of using the American PX (like our NAAFI); they seemed to have everything including more spending money than us! Most of that time I was driver of a ‘Dingo’ scout car for Capt Redgrave who was our Sqn Ldr. Capt Redgrave later went on to the great heights of General, and I was sorry to learn of his death not so long ago. It was a pleasure to work for him; he was a real gentleman, and a good soldier. Back at Menden, things were getting very tense regarding the worsening of the zone relationship with the Russian Military, and there was a real possibility of the situation turning into conflict. At the time, we did not know the severity of the situation, and it was much later that we all knew how close we had become to another war. The Russians closed the road access from the British Zone to Berlin; to counter this, and to keep the German population in the three allied zones of Berlin supplied with essentials of food, coal, milk etc, the now famous ‘Berlin Air Lift was rapidly set up. B Squadron moved to within about 12 to 15 miles from the Russian Zone border at a disused ex-Luftwaffe airfield at Wesendorf, situated in a wooded area of Germany, unlike Menden which was in the war-scared Ruhr. The accommodation at Wesendorf was even better than that at Menden. The German military certainly looked after their Luftwaffe personnel. I became very busy with
John Sallis in setting up the Squadron office. My main task was to arrange rosters for patrols along the Zone border, and ensure that the correct maps and radio frequencies were issued to the Troop Leaders. The area that we had to patrol was extensive, with the Paras located to the north, and the Grenadier Guards to
Tpr JW Ansell, B Sqn, RHG Office Clerk on Dingo Scout Car ‘Big Game’, Wesendorf BAOR 1948
the south, as I remember it. All the time, day and night, hundreds of flights were taking place to Berlin from nearby Celle airfield, with RAF transport aircraft and numerous civilian cargo aircraft. I frequently joined the patrols driving the Sqn Ldr to wherever he was needed. It was all very interesting, and frequently involved long hours of duty. The weather during the ‘47/48’ winter was very cold with severe frosts that lasted for weeks on end. Getting the petrol powered Daimler Armoured cars to start in the mornings became quite a problem. We found a solution by using our one and only diesel powered AEC Matador heavy armoured car to give ‘tow-starts’ around the hanger areas. One morning there was an accident when a driver went to board his Daimler by the usual method of holding on to the gun barrel to help himself to get up and in. The frost on the gun barrel was so thick that by grasping it, it took all the skin off the palm and fingers of
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his hand. A nasty accident and he was off sick for some time. Soon the time came for my demobilisation; I was ordered to see the Commanding Officer, Lt Col David Smiley. I had no idea what this was about, as I was sure that I had done nothing wrong, and was certainly not on a charge. The Comd Offr said that he would like to put me forward for a commission, and to sign on as a Regular. He said, “Go on leave, think about it, and report back”. I discussed this with my parents back home, and as their only son, I respected
their views, and they advised me against going for a commission. Looking back, I wish that I had followed what my heart said, and that was to go for Officer Selection. I have often wondered what my career path may have been, had I successfully passed the Officer Selection procedure, and returned to the regiment as ‘Cornet Ansell’? However, on returning to civilian life, I set out on the path to achieve professional status in the Aerospace Industry, and after many years of study, I qualified as a Chartered Aeronautical Engineer, and had a very successful and interesting career work-
ing for some of the leading companies, including British Aerospace and Rolls Royce Aerospace, spanning more than thirty years, working on some very advanced projects. Looking back, I had a very interesting career, but my love and respect for the Household Cavalry has always been in my mind, and I will always be grateful that I experienced life in the best Regiment in the British Army, even if it was only for a few short years, plus two periods of ‘Z’ Reserve during the ‘Cold War period’.
Memories of 1952-53 and the Coronation by Sir David Black
952-53 was a very busy and interesting year for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. I was a Troop Leader in the Blues Mounted Squadron in charge of 30 men and 30 horses ably assisted by Corporal of Horse Hubbock who was a very competent stableman. First we had the lying in state of His Majesty King George VI in Westminster Hall; we did four reliefs in the four days. This was followed by the funeral, which the Regiment did mounted, both in London and Windsor. I was on the Windsor procession, which was from the Great Western Station to St George’s Chapel via the Long Walk.
June 1953. A tented camp was erected in Hyde Park opposite Knightsbridge Barracks to house the many extra horses brought in for the Admirals and Generals to ride on the Coronation procession. We, of course, had numerous rehearsals and the one rehearsal that sticks in my mind was when the officers rode the Coronation route at a very early hour in the morning. Most of us had been to a smart debutante dance the night before and went straight from the dance to get mounted and, whilst coming down The Mall, several people still in their white ties from the dance came to cheer us on our way.
Following this, we started preparing for the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which was to be held in
On the actual day of the Coronation, reveille was at 2am. The Regiment provided a Sovereign’s Escort for
Her Majesty the Queen and also a Captain’s Escort for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. I was part of the Captain’s Escort commanding the leading division and the Escort Commander was Captain Peter Peake and Desmond Langley was the other subaltern, who later became Major General London District. Both the Sovereign’s Escort and Captain’s Escort collected Their Majesties from Buckingham Palace and Clarence House respectively and took them to Westminster Abbey. During the service we went to Wellington Barracks where the officers were entertained in the Officers’ Mess with several glasses of champagne and were able to watch the service on the television. The remainder of the escort, with one man holding
HM The Queen in the Gold Coach sets out up The Mall, streetliners shoulder to shoulder
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HM The Queen Mother’s carriage leaves Westminster Abbey
four horses, were given refreshments by the WVS in pouring rain. After the service we formed up again outside
Westminster Abbey; by this time the weather had closed in with a lot of rain and as far as I can remember it remained like this for the duration of the procession. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s procession consisted of two carriages, one for herself and Princess Margaret, and the other containing The Earl of Airlie and members of Her household. The procession moved off and there was a good deal of stopping and starting and at one point, I think it was in Oxford Street, the coachman on Lord Airlie’s
coach could not get the horses to start off as the streets were getting very wet. Desmond Langley and I got some of the Royal Naval street liners to break ranks and give the coach a push, and away we went. We ended up eventually at Buckingham Palace and at one moment we seemed to have two processions and Sir Winston Churchill’s carriage with an escort of the 4th Hussars came alongside us somewhere down in The Haymarket. Things got sorted out by the time we got into The Mall and arrived back at Buckingham Palace. We rode back to Knightsbridge Barracks very wet and very proud to have taken part in such an historic occasion.
Household Cavalry Cadets
rmy Cadets from 236 Kensington (The Life Guards) were among nearly six hundred cadets and volunteer leaders from all over North and West London who returned from a challenging two weeks at their annual Training Camp - this year at Crowborough in Sussex (27th July to 9th August). Obstacle courses, clay target shooting, high ropes training, first aid and paintball are just some of the varied activities for the cadets over the two weeks of camp. Drill, sports, target shooting and testing against the Army Cadet syllabus, military skills and many other stretching activities were also part of the programme. Colonel Mark Hodson TD, Commandant of the Middlesex and North West London Army cadet Force said:
216 Cadets at Camp
ing a proper lesson for junior cadets. It’s very challenging but I’d recommend it - once you have completed it you feel you really feel you have achieved something.” She plans to do Business Management at University and use that degree for her career.
“Each and every one of our cadets will have grown personally as a result of what they have achieved. We have delivered an exciting and varied programme of training in both military and non-military subjects which has fully engaged the cadets and adult instructors alike. Annual Camp is the culmination of a lot of hard work throughout the year. Looking after all of these young people is a challenging task and I am really very grateful to and proud of all my adult volunteers who give up their time so generously for our future citizens” Army Cadets from 216 Tottenham Detachment ACF (Blues and Royals) also took part. During the two-week camp Cadet Lance Corporal of Horse Samantha London (16) successfully completed the prestigious Senior Cadet Instructors Course, run by the attached Regular Army staff. It is a stretching and challenging course at the top end of a cadet’s career which enables those successful cadets to instruct others. She is pictured with Commandant Colonel Mark Hodson receiving her award.
Special guests on visitors day were the Representative Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Warne and David Frost CBE, DL the Master of the Worshipful Company of Loriners, which supports the Tottenham cadets - he is pictured with two of Tottenham’s adult leaders, AUO Simone Felix and Sergeant Instructor Tim Kellman.
Sixteen year old Samantha of Haringey, who attends Our Lady’s Convent High School, has been a cadet for three and a half years. She says: “What I most enjoyed on the course was meeting new people and building up my confidence. I’ve learned too about conduct-
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Other participants were Army Cadets from 198 Ickenham Douay Martyrs School Detachment ACF (The Life Guards). Pictured are 198 cadets Bennett and Merrick taking on the challenges.
the first cadet from 198 Detachment to complete the course. He is pictured with Commandant Colonel Mark Hodson with his course certificate. Lance Corporal of Horse Ben Irvine is an apprentice for Lufthansa. He says:
During the two-week camp Lance Corporal of Horse Ben Irvine (17) of Hillingdon successfully completed the prestigious Senior Cadet Instructors Course, run by the attached Regular Army staff. It is a stretching and challenging course at the top end of a cadet’s career which enables those successful cadets to instruct others. Ben joined the cadets five years ago and is
“What I’ve enjoyed most on this course is meeting and getting to know new people. In my cadet time I’ve very much enjoyed the trips abroad. If anyone is doing this course I’d advise them to take it seriously and prepare properly. I’d recommend it. When I complete my cadet time I plan to volunteer as an adult instructor in cadets.”
198 Cdt Bennett on a command task to bridge a river crossing
Cdt Max Crawford Ken LG forest living
Do I Know You? A Reunion after 57 years of 2 Troop C Squadron, RHG
by Ray Wheeler, formerly the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)
fter much thought by Ted Jones and myself, it was decided to hold a reunion of our old C Squadron Troop that had served in Cyprus during 1956/7. I think the idea of a reunion started to grow after my short history was printed in the Household Cavalry Journal 2010/11 (My Six Years in C Squadron 1951-1957); it seemed to filter down over the years to quite a number of people. All credit must go to Ted Jones for his hard work in getting the reunion set up and organized. Ted arranged to hold the get-together at a hotel near Preston, close to Junction 32 on the M6. This turned out to be the most central point for all concerned as people had to travel from Scotland, Hampshire, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and the West Midlands.
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Ray Wheeler, Peter Scarlet, Jim Cumming, Ted Jones and Mel Haigh at the reunion, Preston September 2013
Pete Scarlet, Jim Cumming and Ted Jones at Famagusta 1957
The rank and members of 2 Troop in 1956/7 were as follows: Ct Jim Eyre (deceased) CoH Pete Stanton (unable to travel) Cpl Ray Wheeler LCpl Ian Wilkie (deceased) Tpr Dave Williams (did not attend) Tpr Ted Jones Tpr Pete Scarlet Tpr Jim Cumming Tpr Mel Haigh Tpr Jeff Murch (unable to attend) Also invited were the wives, and four brave ladies attended. The men met up in the bar at about 4pm. Some of the men just walked around not recognizing anyone until someone
‘2 Troop’ from left to right: Jeff Murch, Ted Jones, Dave Williams, Ray Wheeler, Pete Stanton, Jim Cumming, Mel Haigh, Ian Wilkie and Pete Scarlet, Famagusta 1956
called out to them. Some passed each other on the stairs without a glimmer, in spite of the fact they had slept next to each other for two years in a four man tent. Finally we all sat around a table with a glass in our hands. The photographs, etc, came out and in no time we were all back in that dusty old tent in Cyprus. At 7pm. the wives joined us and we sat down to a very good dinner and drank to absent friends. All agreed it was an excellent reunion after all these years and well worth the effort in travelling, also that we should repeat it in say five years’ time. Maybe this was a bit optimistic as our oldest member of the group is eighty years of age and the youngest is seventy-seven. But do it again we will! As a matter of interest, seven out of the ten of us were National Servicemen. All agreed it had been two of the best years of our lives and we were proud to be ‘Old Blues’.
Ct Jim Eyre, Famagusta/Nicosia Road 1956
All had fond memories of our Troop
Ray Wheeler, Famagusta 1957
Officer C T Jim Eyre (later to become Maj Gen and who’s son became the Household Cavalry Regiment Commanding Officer) and CoH Pete Stanton.
The Royal Dragoons and the German Retreat in Lower Saxony
by 14386496 Sergeant Norman Fews, Late 1st Royal Dragoons April 1944 to May 1955
orman Fews passed away on 2nd July 2013 having provided distinguished service with the 1st Royal Dragoons during the latter days of the Second World War. This extract of a posting made in 2005 by Norman Fews is entitled ‘Royal Dragoons and the German retreat in Lower Saxony’ and can be found on 'WW2 People's War’
which is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar. I am attaching some photos of my father from May 1945 that I thought may interest you. The battle of El Alamein was Mont-
gomery’s first battle as an army commander. It went well, and then it turned into the usual stalemate. I was at that time in the 1st Royal Dragoons, who were being held in reserve waiting to exploit the breakout. We were ordered to circumvent the Quarthara Depression that was considered impossible by both
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waffe pilots, but which had hurriedly been abandoned, and we reported that it would be suitable for the RAF to use for their close support ground to air operations. In the next village of Hankensbuttel, we were held up slightly by a small calibre anti-tank gun situated on a railway level crossing, but this was quickly dealt with. When we entered the village to mop up, we found that the 20mm gun had been manned by the equivalent of Norman Fews in a Daimler Armoured car in Aarhus, the Home Guard, or Denmark in May 1945 the German’s ‘Dad’s Army’. All of them sides, and attack Rommel from the rear. had been killed, except a young boy This action turned the tide of the battle - about 15, who had been severely and after that Montgomery always inwounded in both feet and ankles, and sisted that the Royal Dragoons should was obviously dying. His mother and always be involved in any other attacks another woman had managed to get which he led. him into a wheelchair, and were trying to take him somewhere for help. The battle for the crossing of the Rhine Against all the KRR’s (Kings Rules and was the last great land battle of the war, Regulations) we gave him some of our and the attack was to be on two fronts; morphine. My wireless operator reone by 51st Highland Division in the minded me it was against KRR’s to give North, and one by 15th Scottish Division morphine to the enemy, as it was solely further South. To comply with Montfor our own use, but I remember telling gomery’s whim, the regiment was split him that as far as I cared, he could stick in two: A and B Squadrons attached to the KRR’s up his backside, page by page 51st Highland and C and D attached to in this case. As a reconnoitre regiment 15th Scottish. operating for long periods, well in front of your own army, and very often beThe battle of the Rhine was a success hind enemy lines, we did not have any and by early April the Regiment was medical backup, and so each man was together again, acting as advance issued with morphine in case of being ‘reconnoitre’ for the advancing 2nd wounded, and hopefully you would be Army. A Squadron, of which I was rescued. When on patrol, you could use a member, was doing advanced all the ammunition you wanted, withreconnoitre between Brunswick and out question, but every last drop of morUelzen; C and D Squadrons were doing phine had to be accounted for in detail. flank protection for the reconnaissance, with B Squadron in reserve. I was in After Hankensbuttel we carried on to a group of 17, who were holed up in the small village of Wittingen, but on the forest, overlooking the autobahn, the approach to the between Brunswick and Uelzen, and village (say half to our job was to identify any German three quarters of a units which were being sent South to mile away), there bolster the German defences after the appeared to be a Rhine crossing, but it soon became demonstration in apparent that the German Army was the road, with 50in full retreat northwards, and we 60 people milling were ordered to carry out a triangular around. The leadreconnoitre of some 40 miles in order ing ‘Dingo’ scout to try to find where the German army car was ordered to was going to establish their next line of proceed with caudefence, which we guessed would be on tion, but he soon the River Elbe. reported back that We began our patrol at first light, and the first part went well. We checked out a small aerodrome at Dedelsdorf, which had been used for training Luft-
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the demonstrators were British Prisoners of War. They had been prisoners since 1940 but had
been housed in a small camp near Wittingen and been used as casual farm labourers on the surrounding farms. They had been kept in quite relaxed conditions during the war and had been treated very well by the local farming community, and they had begged us not to shoot up the place as a number of them had long term relationships with the local girls which they hoped would result in marriage after the war was over. In the event, there was no need to “shoot up Wittingen” because as we got nearer the village a white flag was flying from the top of the church steeple and almost every house had white sheets draping out of their windows. At Wittingen, our patrol turned north in the direction of Uelzen, and we passed through the two farming villages of Solden and Langenbrugge without incident, as every house and farm was flying the white flag. So far the reconnoitre had gone well, and we were ahead of our ETA, so squadron forward radio link sanctioned time for a break and a brew-up. From Langenbrugge we could look down on the village of Bodenteich in the distance 5km away, and could see that no white flags were flying, so we guessed that it was still occupied by the German army, but we did not know at what strength. We were approaching directly from the south, but there was also a road approaching south-east from Salzwedel, which made ideal conditions for an anti-tank ambush. Accordingly, it was decided to change our tactics from a snake patrol, to a leap-frog patrol in order to minimise the risk. Our patrol was made up of two Daimler armoured cars, the main armament of which was a twopounder gun and a Besa (BSA) heavy machine, two Daimler scout cars, armed with Bren machine guns, and an American made white scout car with various light weapons. Total complement of men was 16, plus a Polish soldier, whom we had released from a POW camp, and who had unofficially agreed to join us in order to act as an interpreter. I was a
Norman Fews driving the leader of the local Danish resistance into Aarhus, May 1945
wireless operator/gunner in one of the Daimler armoured cars. As the two armoured cars leap-frogged into Bodenteich, the Jerries sprang their ambush from the Salzwedel road, and one of the Daimler armoured cars was knocked out. It was engaged first by a detachment of German infantry using rifles and a Spandau machine (the fastest firing machine gun used during the war). Almost immediately two small anti-tank guns opened up, and both hit the armoured car. Fortunately, neither shot hit the turret or the petrol tanks, or it would have been ‘curtains’, but both shots hit the rear engine compartment, and shrapnel penetrated the radiator causing vast amounts of steam, and it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before it would catch fire and blow up. The rest of the troop engaged the Jerries with their two-pounder and machine guns, and also laid down smoke to give the crew of the knocked out armoured car a chance to bail out. Owing to the impact of the two anti-tank shells on the stricken armoured car, the driver (Bram Stoker) had lost control, and was in a ditch at an awkward angle. Two of the crew got out without difficulty, but the third member (Topper Rapkin) was obviously wounded, and could not get out under his own steam. As they were struggling to get him out of the turret, a German girl who had been collecting the family’s milk ration from a nearby farm suddenly appeared on the scene riding a bicycle. Much to our surprise, she stopped and helped Bram Stoker and Digweed (Wireless Operator/ Gunner) get the wounded soldier out of the armoured car, and carry him to the comparative safety of another ditch where she helped stop the bleeding using her own clothes until Sgt Rapkin was carried into Bodenteich by a German stretcher party, and Digweed and Stoker were taken prisoner.
We knew that by now, German medical resources and drugs were in very short supply and that very often amputation was the easiest option for the treatment of even minor wounds. As we had no idea how seriously Topper Rapkin was wounded, we thought it might be a good idea if we could get him back in return for a German prisoner that other members of our squadron might have in ‘the bag’. We were both only comparatively small army units out on a limb, so any swap could be quite informal, and unofficial. Accordingly, we sent our Polish interpreter to Bodenteich under the protection of a Red Cross flag, which we improvised from our recognition stripes, which we rarely used anyway because the American Air Force used to use them for target practice - or so it seemed! The local German commander agreed our swap proposal for an SS Officer, but we knew that this was impossible, as the SS never gave themselves up unless they were so badly wounded that they had no other option, and of course, we never took SS prisoners - they were just disposed of. One of our other troops in the Squadron had taken that day the surrender of a German Sgt Major (a Hauptfeldwebel) who was in their Pay Corps, and who had given himself up carrying a large quantity of money in the hope he could buy himself a cushy billet. The Jerries accepted this compromise, and it was agreed that the exchange should be made later on that evening on the site of our burned out armoured car. Once this
agreement was made, we stripped out all of the equipment and weapons from our white scout car, and converted it into a make shift ambulance, where we could slip in a stretcher. Originally I was going to accompany the white scout driver to the rendezvous for the swap, but at the last minute, the Jerries insisted the exchange could only be made between officers, so I exchanged duties with Lt Walter Watkins WilliamsWynn. He went into Bodenteich and I took over operating the previously arranged verey light signals. The prisoner exchange went smoothly and very much later we were able to hand over Tapper to the Army Medical Corps who had sent a proper ambulance under armed escort to Wittingen to pick him up. Tapper had been wounded in the shoulder, but more severely in the leg. He spent almost two years in hospital and an Army convalescence home, but in October 1947 he was well enough to travel back to Bodenteich to thank the lady in question, who was called Ursula Babatz, personally for helping to save his life.
Norman Fews in recent times, enjoying life, as he always did
Talking to the Taliban: The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme
by Lieutenant Colonel J C Fisher MBE, The Blues and Royals
he Taliban office (based in Qatar) brought worldwide awareness to the possibility of peace talks looking to end hostilities in Afghanistan; and the strong probability that the TALIBAN will have a voice in a future Government. However, the Taliban insistence on using the title ‘Emirate of Islamic Afghanistan’ has elicited immense, deeprooted emotions from both the Afghans and the Coalition in light of the sacrifices already made; but, as history has shown, peace requires opposing sides to talk.
The Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in 2010 initiated the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP) that directly addresses talks with the Taliban. It provides for both reintegration, where fighters leave the fight and peacefully rejoin their communities; and reconciliation, where entire insurgent groups reach a settlement with the Afghanistan Government leading to an end to hostilities. The programme is Afghan led supported by the funding of International Donor Nations, with International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) support. Both money and time are now running out: the success of the programme rests on the shoulders of the Afghans themselves, with slow accounting and fund distribution severely endangering success. Helmand, the Taliban’s traditional heartland remains the most violent Province in Afghanistan and, not surprisingly, the Provincial Government can attest to less than 200 of the 6500 Afghanistan-wide reintegree total. Yet the Provincial Government claims upwards of 500 Taliban have simply stopped fighting and gone home
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job. This is where the real challenge occurs, in a country ravaged by war for over 30 years jobs remain scarce, with those available at a premium in terms of skills or education that the reintegree simply does not possess.
A former TB member receives a Koran as part of the welcome home
as ‘informal reintegrees’, the justification being that the future is uncertain as to who will be in control.
expressing a desire to reintegrate (a long but important process to ensure that the Taliban intention is genuine). Next is arduous vetting by the National APRP has three stages: Social Outreach, Directorate of Security (NDS) to ensure Demobilisation and Consolidation that the individual is purely Afghan of Peace, and Community Recovery. Taliban and not a criminal. Finally, Firstly, officials reach out to Taliban reintegrees are officially welcomed back into the community with honour and dignity. Emphasis on honour is particularly central as the Afghans are a proud warrior culture and at no time can reintegration be seen or accepted as surrender. Once reintegrees are properly vetted they receive a small six-month stipend of $120.00 US per month with the A peace meeting (shura) hope of finding a suitable paying
A former TB member is accepted home (the gentleman on the left was later assassinated)
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I consider myself fortunate to have spent the last year as the SO1 APRP with Regional Command (Southwest) in Helmand. As with all tours, there is a settling in period and I was grateful to have a former Comd Offr, Maj Gen Ed Smyth-Osborne, as the Director Force Reintegration Cell in ISAF Kabul Headquarters; he astutely provided the reasoned advice and top cover if needed – and, unsurprisingly, it was. The tour has been exceptional yet frustrating. The majority of the work is completed by the Afghans as they assume the lead for governance and development to include security as the 2014 drawdown approaches; working with our colonial cousins in the US Marine Corps, and US Army presents its own set of unique challenges too, particularly the spelling; and its own reward in good friends made. There has also been sadness such as the death of the Provincial Peace Council official, with whom I worked for the first four months, killed by the Taliban whilst en route to a meeting. Despite the purposeful sensationalism by our own media, frequently discrediting the Afghan citizen, it is important that we do not forget that there continues to be some good men and a few good women that live and willingly face head on the dangers of working towards a better Afghanistan, for their and their children’s future. Many have and continue to this day to receive ‘night letters’ (death threats) from the Taliban as a consequence of their efforts … they are not afraid to die for their country. Only Afghans can choose who reintegrates, but by allowing home Taliban they offer hope for a new Afghanistan as it heads towards its uncertain future post 2014.
Five TB members about to join the peace process
Mr T Eccles (22556651)
(Served with 1st Troop The Life Guards 1954-1957)
n 8th March 2013 I had my 80th birthday and my two daughters presented me with a birthday cake. To my surprise a figure of a Life Guard was seated on top, which was made of marzipan. The other pictures are of Delawarr Squad which passed out on Parents and Families Day on 8th May 1954. In the group photograph I am in the
centre row, second left. The Officer is Lt Holliday and the NCO is Cpl Horton. The other photograph is of myself; No 1 box on Esther at Whitehall in 1955. In 1956 I became the Orderly to Lt Col Sir Rupert Hardy, who was commanding the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment until he retired in January 1957.
No1 Guards Independent Parachute Company: The Pathfinders of The Parachute Brigade by Mr Ian Thompson, formerly Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) and No1 Guards Independent Parachute Company
n 1948 the 6th Airborne Division was disbanded and the Armyâ€™s regular parachute force reduced to a single 16th Parachute Brigade. The1st (Guards) Parachute Battalion was reduced as part of this reorganization and re-designated 16th (Guards) Independent Company the Parachute Regiment. It became the pathfinder unit for the newly formed 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group and was later renamed No1 (Guards) Independent Company.
Guards Parachute members were all serving soldiers of the Foot Guards or Household Cavalry Regiments, but uniquely attached also to the Parachute Regiment. No1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company deployed many times with the Brigade, on antiEOKA terrorist operations in Cyprus starting in 1956, an element dropped alongside 3 PARA with the 2nd French Colonial Parachute Regiment over El Raswa during the Suez crisis on 5th November 1956. The youngest man in the Company to deploy into the Canal Zone in Egypt was a 19 year old Paratrooper from the Royal Horse Guards named Jim Corbett. Corbett was also a Champion Modern Pentathlon Champion, and still attends the Guards Para Company Reunions.
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Jumping from an AAC Corps Beaver
The Company further participated in the 16th Brigade intervention at Amman Jordan in July 1958, also in Cyprus again in1964, followed by two six-month tours in Borneo in 1964 and 1965, as well as subsequent tours in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. When No1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company was eventually disbanded on 24th October 1975, most members returned to their parent regiments although some Guards Parachute members went straight to Hereford to join the Guards Squadron, 22 SAS Regiment, which had been formed in Combermere Barracks in 1965/1966. The Guards still have a platoon of Guards Parachute Soldiers attached to 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) and have served with distinction in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Guards Parachute Company, envied by The Parachute Regiment for their fitness and professionalism were always a formidable unit, and was famed throughout the Army, not only for it's unparalleled standard of training, physical fitness and discipline but also for the warmth of it's espirit de corps, its tradition of adaptability and the capacity throughout its ranks for personal initiative. The Para Company were furnished with a fine supply of Household Cavalry personnel from both The Life Guards, the Royal Horse Guards and subsequently, since their amalgamation in 1969, from The Blues and Royals. The roles of the Guards Paras were many but their primary role was as a Pathfinder Unit to 16 Parachute Brigade. This involved parachuting at night onto a Drop Zone (DZ) and securing the DZ for the main drop of the Parachute Brigade. This usually took place some time the next day, but could mean holding
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and clearing the DZ of enemy for longer periods depending on weather conditions and the RAF's ability to deliver them to these locations. The first Household Cavalryman to join the Guards Para Company during the 1950’s was Tpr Horseman of The Blues, closely followed by other distinguished members of The Blues, namely CsoH Kitney and Chudleigh. Horsey McNorton of The Life Guards also served in the 1950's era, and can be found today with the Chelsea Pensioners, proudly wearing his Scarlets, and often in the bar at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, reminiscing of his days in the Company. Late in the1950s the Guards Para Company were issued with Ferret Scout Cars (FSC) and they were grateful to the instructors of the RHG who trained them to high standards in the relevant spheres of vehicle commanding, AFV radio, and driving and maintenance. Some members went on to the RAC Centre at Bovington Camp for further instruction. The full Guards Company strength was usually about 80 to 120 men, which also included five officers. In 1961, the FSC’s were included in the very first Para Brigade armoured vehicle parachute drops, along with the Guards Para Company Land-Rovers. Tprs Frost and Whitemore of the RHG were amongst the rigging team for this first drop. Only minutes after the main drop had taken place, this heavy drop of equipment and vehicles would take place. This meant having two DZ parties of five to six men each managing different DZ's with both locations having to be secured by others of the Pathfinder DZ party at the same time. The Pathfinders DZ Signaller’s job was to control the communication of the Parachute
Brigade drop, with up to 30 aircraft on approach he contacted the Lead Pilot at about 8 miles away, and controlled the drop, often controlling the aircraft’s direction towards the DZ, as aircraft would arrive (not always at the same time) and from different RAF airfields from around the South of England. The signallers in the Guards Company were second to none in their communication skills, as communication links between the aircraft and the DZ parties had to be established quickly. This was a demanding job for the radio operators, not only for safety and coordination but also because RAF pilots don't tend to like being told how and where to fly their aeroplanes! On one occasion a C130 Hercules began to fly across the approach of the lead Argosy aircraft, which was on the run in. He was ordered to abort and climb steeply to avoid a collision. The airwaves were blue with the two pilots threatening all sorts of torture to each other when they returned to base; if the DZ Signaller's eye had not been on the ball, there would have been a huge mess on the ground! The Guards Paratrooper role changed from Pathfinder Infantry, immediately after the heavy drop had taken place, into one of a forward Recce Company, being the eyes and ears of 16 Parachute Brigade. The Recce troops had to be in touch with their own HQ rear link and the Parachute Brigade HQ whilst on the move. The Household Cavalry Paras we're always at the forefront of the signalling communications within the Company, and always involved with the signals training. The ‘Pronto’ or Company Signals Sergeant of the Guards Company was usually a Household Cavalry CoH. During the1960's the Company were fortunate to have CoH (later to become Major) Paddy Kersting RHG and CoH Len Iles, LG, and later in1967 by CoH Bob Smart. During the 1960s and 1970s three of the five Para Company Signals CsoH originated from the Royal Armoured Corps Junior Leaders Regiment at Bovington Camp in Dorset, testament to the high level of communications training that they received as Juniors, prior to joining the Household Cavalry. To carry out the forward Recce role there were always five troops. Three Sabre troops consisting of three FSC’s each together with two Land-Rovers per troop, all fully loaded to the gunnels with soldiers and equipment. These Land Rovers were stripped down versions, similar to the SAS ‘Pink Panther’ Land Rovers (without windscreens or tops) looking more like Fred Karno's Army than Household Brigade troops. However, don't be fooled, these were a
very highly trained Company of Paratroopers, capable of anything that was thrown at them! No 4 Troop was the Anti-Tank Troop who was furnished with two Land-Rovers complete with 106mm and anti-tank guns. The fifth Troop was the Company HQ troop and rear link. They were always close behind the three recce and Anti-tank troops and they were finally followed by the attached REME. The FSC drivers were again usually from the Household Cavalry (if there were enough of them in the Para Company at the time) if not, then the Ferrets were driven by the other Para members from the five regiments of Foot Guards. During 1964 and 1965 Guards Paras were in Borneo, fully trained the SAS in all aspects for this role, they then deployed on two separate occasions, taking on the Special Forces role as deep penetration four man jungle patrols. They acted initially as a spare Squadron and were deployed to allow the duty SAS Squadron that had been very active over the last year in the jungles of Sarawak to rest, as the SAS Regiment had been reduced by one Squadron after defence cuts years earlier, and as conflicts were starting to intensify around the world they now needed this extra squadron again! In 1965 during the Para Company's second tour to Borneo, those already trained as four man patrols to SF norms were now sent out on ‘CLARET OPS’ over the border and deep into Indo-
nesian territory to disrupt Indonesian forces. The cross border operations exacted a great mental and physical toll on the troops, and courage and skill were required to overcome the tensions and problems of operating far behind the enemy lines. These four man patrols consisted of a Lead Scout, a Commander (officer or NCO), a Morse Signaller and a Medic. What was unique was that all members of the Guards Para Company, including the officers, were on first name terms; arguably, this reduced barriers during their time in the jungle and made soldiering a different story to that which they had been used to on the parade grounds of Pirbright, with the strict discipline of the Brigade of Guards.
was to change again. In February 1967 the Guards Para Company gave up their Ferrets to the RAC Para Squadron which was based at Tidworth. In June of that year, some members of the Guards Para Company (myself included) were despatched to Pau in the south of France together with some our comrades from 22 SAS Regiment to learn how to carry out free fall parachuting. This training was conducted by the French Army's Free Fall Instructors at the Ecole de Troupes Aeroportese (The French Army’s Parachute School).
After the Company's return from Borneo in late November 1965, G Squadron 22 SAS began to take shape at Combermere Barracks, Windsor, from the volunteers of the Guards Para Company who had just returned from the Far East. In 1966 Colonel Woodhouse, the then Commanding Officer of 22 SAS Regiment wrote in the SAS Magazine about the training and employment of The Guards Parachute Company, to carry out one of our roles in Borneo. He wrote: “It is to be hoped that the Household Brigade, so prominent in the formation of 1st SAS but scarcely represented since, will continue the good work. It has been a pleasure to be alongside so efficient, well-disciplined and determined a unit. They have won our respect”. One year later the Guards Para Role
The author in 1968
We managed to reach a height of 16,000 feet (without oxygen) in only 21 jumps! Then after our return from France I was sent to Netheravon in Wiltshire to join a Free Fall Instructors course at the Army Parachuting School, and soon after, sent to jump with the famous Red Devils Free Fall Team.
Four man Patrol C/Sign 98 in Borneo jungle in 1964 being visited by Capt Lord Patrick Beresford Left to Right: Tpr Tom Hodgson LG, M Keighery GG, Sgt Wally McGill MM SG and Capt Lord Patrick Beresford RHG
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After the success of these courses in France, it was then decided to train the Free Fall troops of 22 SAS, together with four members of the Guards Para Company on the first ever-British HALO (high altitude low opening) Free Fall Course. This course was implemented by the RAFs Instructors at the No 1 Parachute School at RAF Abingdon, and I was fortunate to be a participant on this first course, thereby establishing the Household Cavalry's input into this unique way of deploying into a war zone by high altitude parachuting. Soon after this period, four members of the Para Company were sent to join the Joint
force that has served with distinction in Afghanistan. These soldiers are now all HALO and High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) trained. After disbandment in 1975 The Guards Parachute Association was formed and is still very active today with about 500 members. But they are still looking for new members, so if you have served or are still serving as a Paratrooper or Pilot or were a SAS Special Forces Soldier and have served in the Household Division then please apply for a joining form which can be found via the contact page on the Guards Para Association Web Site: www. guardsparachutecompanyassociation. co.uk
A HALO Free Faller
Forces Free Fall team at Aldershot, this included LCoH Dennis Banham RHG and Tpr Ron Bell LG. This initiated the formation of The Guards Free Fall team, which included the newly promoted LCpl Bell, who were now staging shows around the country and abroad. During the 1970's the Guards Para Company was active on three tours in Northern Ireland, but sadly in 1975 these original ‘Pathfinders’ No1 (Guards) Parachute Company were disbanded due to the MOD reductions and they marched off into history. Fortunately, some 10 years later the Parachute Regiments Pathfinders were resurrected in the same role again! Today's Pathfinders are now to be found in the 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, and are still a very highly trained parachuting
Serving in No1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company were eight Household Cavalry Officers, of which two were Company Commanders. Fifty two soldiers of the Household Cavalry served in No1 (Guards) Parachute Company, ten of these men joined the Guards Para Company with the rank of Trooper or Guardsman. Thirty members of this unique Parachute Company completed their service as Commissioned Officers reaching the ranks of: 1 Brigadier, 8 Lt Colonels, 11 Majors and 10 Captains. Below are those Household Cavalry officers and men who served in No1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company. Company Commanders: Major Sir Nicholas Nuttall Bt RHG 1965-1968 Major JNP Watson RHG 1959-1961 Troop Leaders: Capt Lane-Fox RHG Capt D Smiley RHG Cornet Cage RHG Capt Lord Patrick Beresford RHG Capt P S W F Falkner LG (later Colonel Falkner)
Capt R Corbett RHG/D Tpr P Allison RHG LCoH Arnold RHG/D Tpr Atkinson RHG/D LCoH D Banham RHG LCpl A Baxter RHG/D Tpr D Bell RHG LCoH R Bell LG Tpr Bowhay RHG/D Tpr Bradbury LG CoH J Brammer LG Tpr Cheshire RHG/D CoH Chudleigh RHG Cpl J Corbett RHG Cpl J Crust RHG Tpr J Currie RHG Tpr Daldy RHG/D Tpr T Doland RHG/D CoH Dunmore RHG Tpr Ellis RHG Cpl R Forester RHG Tpr C Frost RHG Tpr F Gaskell RHG Tpr T Hodgson LG Tpr Horsman RHG LCoH A Johnston RHG LCoH R Johnstone RHG Tpr Jones RHG/D CoH G Kitney RHG CoH P Kersting RHG (Major) CoH L Les LG CoH Maskell RHG/D LCoH Mathews LG Tpr R Mathews RHG/D Tpr McCrone RHG Tpr C McNab LG CoH McNorton LG Tpr R Mortice RHG Tpr H Moss RHG Tpr Platt RHG/D Tpr Pendlington RHG Tpr Salter RHG/D Tpr C Scott RHG/D Tpr C Scott RHG CoH R Smart RHG CoH Stratford RHG LCoH I Thompson RHG Tpr Tucker LG Tpr M Wareham LG Cpl Warne LG Tpr J West LG Tpr D Whitmore RHG Tpr D Wright LG
Selarang to the Khwae
by Richard Golding, formerly The Life Guards
thought about writing about this a few years ago, having spent time at Selarang Barracks in Singapore and visited the Burma Railway in west Thailand. This seems even more poignant now with the recent release of the film The Railway Man. In 1966-8, The Life Guards were based in the Far East with the Regimental HQ at Selarang Barracks, Changi, Singapore. C Squadron were located at Paroi,Seremban some 40 miles south
of Kuala Lumpur, during which time I visited Selarang on a number of occasions. On first look the Barracks, painted a bright white, looked an orderly place; however, this disguised its dramatic and tragic history as the location of the infamous Selarang Barracks Incident which took place in September 1942. At the time
Selarang Barracks 1967
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Selarang was part of the Changi Garrison, which was a highly fortified part of Singapore located in the eastern end of the island and now close to Singapore Changi Airport. The Barracks were built in 1936-8 to house 800-1000 infantry and not built for mechanised units hence in the 1967 photograph, during our tenure, there are a large number of vehicles parked on the square. In 1967 the Barracks were little changed from 1942, with seven three story blocks remaining surrounding the square. The Selarang Incident
areas. Over 50,000 POWs were housed in and around Changi, many at Robert and Kitchener Barracks, Changi Jail and at Selarang with several other smaller camps dotted around the island. In August 1942, as a result of some attempted escapes, the Japanese insisted that every POW sign a non-escape declaration which was rejected by the British commander. This resulted in the Japanese herding 17,000 POWs into the Selarang Barracks square at the beginning of September and threatening to shoot a number every day until they signed the declaration.
On the 8th December 1941 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the east coast of Thailand and Kota Bharu in north east Malaya, 90 minutes after their attack on Pearl Harbour. Two days later, rocking the nation, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were air torpedoed off the coast of Kuantan east Malaya with the loss of 840 crew, a disaster as the loss of two of the Navy’s largest ships and the last significant sea defence in the Far East waters.
Originally intended for 800-1000 troops the conditions were intolerable. Many had to live in makeshift tents in the square, to make matters worse the Japanese cut off the water supply to the toilets. The prisoners resorted to digging trenches in the parade ground as latrines. Despite the heat, there were two taps to collect water from and each prisoner was limited to one quart of water (approximately a litre) for consumption and washing each day.
Advancing quickly south, the Japanese launched their assault on Singapore on the 7th February 1942 and moved onto the island on 10th February. A few days later the Battle of Singapore was over after heavy fire on the Changi Garrisons, a heavily fortified coastal defence where the majority of British and Allied forces were based. On 15th February General Percival, the British commander, had little choice but to surrender unconditionally to avoid further casualties due to lack of water, food, petrol and ammunition which made it impossible to carry on the struggle. Some 90,000 British Empire and Allied troops including Australian, New Zealand, Canada, Indian, Dutch and some American personnel were taken prisoner with 5,000 casualties. Described by Winston Churchill as the largest capitulation in British military history.
Meanwhile the Japanese shot four POWs who had allegedly tried to escape at Changi beach and made senior allied officers witness the execution. Conditions at Selarang continued to deteriorate with lack of food, water and lack of hygiene. The Japanese intensified their pressure with threats of cutting off the water supply, halving rations and moving the nearby Robert Barracks hospital to the Selarang square. This turned out to be the tipping point as the move would endanger the lives of the gravely ill patients and also lead to the spread of disease. To prevent further loss of life Colonel E.B.Holmes ordered the POWs to sign the documents of non-escape on 5th September. Many of the prisoners signed under false names, the Australians widely used Ned Kelly. All the prisoners were returned to their original barracks after that.
In all, 140,000 Allied personnel were captured in South East Asia and Pacific
When the Japanese surrendered in 1945 their commander Lt.General Fukuye Shimpei was first to be tried for war crimes. He was found guilty for ordering the execution of the four POWs and mistreatment at Selarang and was executed in April 1946 by shooting at the same spot where the four POWs died.
Selarang Barracks in Sept 1942 during the incident
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There were some famous prisoners which included
Eric Lomax of The Railway Man (the recently released film starring Colin Firth), Ronald Searle the cartoonist who recorded the event on many of his famous drawings, and was later on the Burma railway. Also Colonel Philip Toosey, who was considered the model for the character Colonel Nicholson played by Alec Guinness in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai. After the war, the Barracks were returned to the British Army until 1971 when the barracks were handed over to the Singapore Army. In 1991 the Barracks were redeveloped, with the exception of the Officers’ Mess and the Headquarters, most of the old British buildings were demolished to make way for a new self contained complex. The complex remains a restricted military zone. It was, however, opened for a special visit by veterans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Nearby RAF Changi has now become Singapore Changi Airport. The Selarang Incident was 24 years before we arrived, 21 years after the end of the war, but now a distant 72 years away. On a lighter note, while the Regiment were at Selarang in 1968 a film crew arrived to make The Virgin Soldiers based on the novel by Leslie Thomas and used the barracks for many of the locations and some regimental wives as extras. I spent a couple of weeks in 1966 at Nee Soon camp located in the centre of Singapore acclimatizing and waiting for jungle training at Kota Tinggi Jungle Warfare Training School in Jahore,Malaya. The accommodation huts were just as they had been during the war, with palm leaf thatched roofs and walls, now all gone making way for high rise developments. Singapore in 1966 was structurally not significantly changed from what it was at the end of the war, albeit in a much better state. The smell of frangipani and magnolias at night on arrival in Singapore is still a vivid memory. Singapore to the Burma Railway The number of POWs on Singapore had depleted by the summer of 1942 to around 18,000: most had been transferred to work on construction projects to help the Japanese war effort principally in Japan, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma and Thailand. Most of the remainder, largely held at Selarang, would be transported to work on the Burma Railway which became known as the infamous Death Railway. The Japanese wanted to advance from South East Asia west into India. They were vulnerable to attack by allied
the construction of the Burma Railway. The route is still used today, much of it single track, particularly in Thailand and used by the Orient Express. A few years ago we were on holiday in Thailand and travelled south from Bangkok for 200 miles to Bang Saphan, a remote beach with little development on the Gulf of Thailand. At night we could hear in the near distance what we thought were aircraft landing, which turned out to be the Singapore to Thailand single track railway some 500 yards away hidden by trees and dense undergrowth, the same line used to transport the POWs in 1942-3 - an eerie reminder.
Railway route from Singapore inc The Burma Railway in red
submarines and naval ships in the Indian Ocean so preferred the land route from Thailand through Burma. There was one vital obstacle as Burma was comparatively primitive with few roads and little in the way of railways. The Japanese had to improve the infrastructure to enable the vast quantity of equipment to be transported without which the advance would be halted. The plan was to transport 3,000 tons of supplies and strategic materials a day. The route would be partly based on an original British route abandoned due to the challenging terrain and the planned five years construction period. The Japanese decided building a railway would be the most efficient way, but it would require vast numbers of people and speed was vital as a deadline was set by the Japanese leaders to be in India by the end of 1943 and before the monsoons. They decided the obvious choice was the mass of POWs, including those on Singapore. In all there were some 60,000 Allied POWs and approximately 200,000 Asian conscripts used to build the railway. The route would be west from Bangkok for 75 miles along the most direct route to Kanchanaburi, a small town on the banks of the river, then called Mae Khlong, roughly translated Lady or Mother Canal, later renamed in the 1960s as Khwae Yai (big tributory). From there it would travel north west generally following some of the route of the now named Khwae Noi (little tributary) for 258 miles to link up with the west Burma railway at Thanbyuzaya, which runs parallel with the coast north and then into what is
now Bangladesh and then onto India. In order to get the POWs from Singapore there would be a 1,200 mile rail journey north through Malaya and Thailand. The first batch of POWs was transported from Singapore on the 19th June 1942 in trainloads of 650 travelling 30 to each closed salt and goods vans taking four days and nights. The route passed through Seremban where C Squadron was based years later, a train journey I would take a number of times to Singapore. Then up the west side of Malaya and through Thailand to Ban Pong station, a T junction where the line travelled east to Bangkok and west to
The metal walls of the goods vans were too hot to touch and conditions inside were insufferable and like an oven. In some of the vans there was so little room the men were forced to stand or crouch. Nobody could lie down and they had to take it in turns to sit down. The train stopped three times every 24 hours for food, and water bottles were filled up from the engine boiler; it tasted oily but at least, as boiled, it was reasonably safe to drink. As the train travelled through southern Thailand they would stop at Hat Yai junction then at the end of the line at Ban Pong, 30 miles west of Bangkok. Here many would alight to the Ban Pong staging camp, which had disgusting conditions, from here then to be transferred to various camps along the planned route of the railway which was to be built starting at each end of the route in Burma and Thailand then meeting in the middle. A number went to Kanchanaburi to camps both sides of the Khwae Yai, the largest of which was Tamerkhan on the west bank. The name River Kwai was a confusion by the
The line at Bang Saphan, southern Thailand
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author of The Bridge on the River Kwai. Pierre Boulle had named the river Kwai which was actually called Mae Khlong at the time. It was later renamed in the 60s to reduce confusion to Khwae Yai. All the bridges built along the length of the railway were wooden except at Kanchanaburi. There were in fact two bridges, one temporary and wooden, the other metal and concrete the majority of which remains intact today except for the three central sections which were destroyed by allied bombing in 1945, then replaced after the war. The wooden bridge was completely destroyed by the bombing. Conditions were worse than brutal with harsh treatment by the Japanese; but their allies, the Koreans, were considered by the POWs as far worse. After the railway was completed some 30,000 prisoners were kept in six camps along the railway to maintain it, but became vulnerable to allied bombing. The actual railway construction began in October 1942 and was finished in August 1943 and put into use in the October. It was used for only two years then, and two years after the war was mainly closed. In all there were 60,000 allied POWs of which 12,849 died, the
majority British, also Dutch, Australian with fewer Malay, American and others. They are now buried in several cemeteries around Kanchanaburi and Thanbyuzayat in Burma. Of the approximate 200,000 Asian coolies it is thought that some 80,000 perished, but the true figures are probably much higher and will never be known. A sobering thought is that many of the POWs who died would have started their journey at Selarang. Ronald Searle the cartoonist captured the moment with some dramatic drawings which survive. After the war the railway was handed over to the Thai State Railway who considered the line of minimal benefit and too costly to maintain so they dismantled 187 miles of the line but retained and upgraded the remaining 81 miles from Nong Pladuk station at the eastern end of the line to Nam
Tok Station which became the western end. A few years ago we travelled on part of the remaining line from near Kanchanburi to as far as it went to Nam Tok, a sobering experience to think how many men lost their lives and travelling along some of the original rails. This is only a snapshot of what happened in Singapore and the Burma Railway. No words written here can adequately describe the misery and inhumane conditions of those who experienced the pathologically brutal regime on the Death Railway. However, the Khwae bridge and some of the line remains, as do stretches of what is left of the dismantled and abandoned line, which is testimony to an amazing achievement by all the conscripts and POWs.
The Bridge on the Khwae
Generations: Football 1911 - On Scheme 1934 by George Lawn
In the hope that this picture is of any interest for the magazine, it's of some Life Guards on manoeuvres in 1934. My father is the Corporal with his rifle at the trail. I think the horse holder under the tree is Tpr Cyril Blake who finished his service as a CoH Palace orderly. Additionally, please find a group picture of the teams for a football match, dated 1911, between old soldiers of the 1st LG versus old soldiers of the 2nd LG. The player fourth from the right in the back row, with the enormous moustache as you look at it, is my grandfather Tpr AG Lawn 2LG.
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Laying up of Standards by George Lawn
I have for some time thought that I could answer any queries regarding old photos of The Life Guards Regiments, but this one has got me stumped! It's of The First Regiment laying up their Standards in 1912 at Holy Trinity Church Windsor. What is puzzling is that the Standards are carried by officers, presumably not Quartermasters as they are wearing helmets. One other thing, you can see that they are wearing belts for carrying the Standards; I remember seeing these type of belts being used for the same purpose in the late 1940s. These belts had a regimental plate on them, there are two in the museum. The plates I have mentioned were made by Firmin & Son who are still making similar items for the Foot Guards.
6339146 CoH Sydney (Syd) Knight
erry Knight - who was not in the Household Cavalry - has sent in some pictures relating to his father Sydney Knight, which may be of interest to readers. Syd Knight, served with The Band of the Royal Horse Guards from 1929 until 1948. In 1940 he was persuaded to join 1 HCR, which he did, and then spent the next four years of service overseas. A picture of him is shown here wearing his medal ribbon of the 8th Army. Terry writes that their family lived in married
quarters at Combermere until war started when they were billeted with a Colonel of The Blues until they were found a house. Terry had three uncles, two of whom served with LG; Cpl R Dooley, who was killed at Caen, and Les Gadsen. Another uncle, Eric Knight, was a Trumpeter in the Royal Horse Guards and can be seen first left of this picture which shows HM The King and Queen arriving at Windsor Station in 1943.
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by Peter Creswell, formerly a Captain in The Life Guards
received a Christmas card from the Household Cavalry Foundation in December 2012 and a letter was enclosed from Colonel Stuart Cowen in which he described the creation of this newly formed charitable trust. Included in the letter was this comment ‘if you are interested in volunteering or you would like to host an event please email firstname.lastname@example.org’. I decided to organize a concert. The concert will be a performance of my oratorio David. I wrote this ‘opus’ in 2008 and it was performed in my local church in Redgrave Suffolk. This was repeated the following year in Bury St Edmunds. The performances were given by the Redgrave Singers, with a full symphony orchestra and professional solo singers. The life of King David is well known; as a young shepherd boy he is discovered by Samuel and anointed the future King of Israel. He is summoned to the court of Saul to play the harp. He kills the champion of the Philistines, Goliath. His popularity is such that Saul is consumed with jealousy and tries to kill him. He marries Saul’s daughter and loves Saul’s son Jonathan. Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle and David becomes king. He falls in love with Bathsheba, he surreptitiously organizes the death of her husband, he is found out, he is filled with remorse and as punishment their child dies. Their second child is Solomon.
and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.’ (Here a rather ‘jazzy’ clarinet solo is introduced). She confronts her husband with the words ‘How glorious was the King of Israel today who uncovered himself in the eyes of his servants as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!’ David replies with devastating cruelty that he will do what he wants and she can pack her bags and go! Soon after that he sees the beautiful Bathsheba in that memorable scene first described to me so enthusiastically by my prep school headmaster in a scripture lesson when I was about nine years old. This is what we read in the King James’ version of the bible: ‘And it came to pass in the even-tide that David arose from off his bed and walked upon the roof of the King’s house; and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman…’ What wonderful scope there is here for the dramatist and the composer! I could not resist the desire to introduce a touch of humour. David in great excitement sings out ‘Where is the Captain of the Guard, bring him here!’. The guard appears: ‘I’m here my Lord to serve you in answer to your call’… he is cross-examined; he goes to fetch her; she is brought to the palace. Here is what the bible says: ‘And she came unto him and he lay with her … And she returned to her house!’ Anyway as a result ‘the woman conceived and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.’ Again, what an excellent title
for an aria. Thus Bathsheba sings ‘My Lord I am with child and I will bear you a son’. When I first telephoned the Household Cavalry Foundation I was told that there was a plan to commemorate the battle of Zandvoorde and it was suggested that this concert might be linked to that event which occurred one hundred years ago. Certainly, I feel that the nature of the oratorio is suitable since there are several music sequences associated with the military and with royalty: here are some: David and Goliath; the battle on mount Gilboa in which Saul and Jonathan are killed (how are the mighty fallen); the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the ark of the covenant; the battle at Rabbah in which Uriah is killed and many court scenes with King Saul or David. It is remarkable to me that Handel did not seize on this wonderful story to write an opera or oratorio. He wrote Saul which is seldom performed, and hosts of others including Jeptha, Belshazzar, Joseph, Solomon, Esther, Joshua but not David. The oratorio is to be performed on Saturday 22nd November 2014 in St Mary’s Church in Diss, Suffolk at 7.30pm. It is a lovely venue with box like pews, about 300 seats, a splendid organ and a good vicar. The last train back to London (Liverpool St) is at 10.17pm and the concert is planned to finish just before 10pm. Therefore, anyone wishing to return by train that evening may do so.
Apart from the bible, my source material in writing the libretto came from Duff Cooper’s book David. He served with the Grenadiers in the First World War and was Editor: In a spirit of furthering recognition, below are photographs of Peter Creswell in Churchill’s government recently and in former guise in the Second World War. In 1942 he wrote David, perhaps as a diversion, and it provides the reader with a very clear and detailed account. Many of the psalms are written by David. He was a poet, a musician, a soldier, and I believe one of the most understandable heroes in the Old Testament because like all great men he had his faults. Not only did he misbehave as far as love is concerned, but we find that he fooled around when the Ark of the Covenant was recaptured from the Philistines and brought back in triumph to Jerusalem. ‘And David danced before the Lord with all his might … and Michal (his wife) looked through a window and saw King David leaping
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Horse Guards: Some First World War Events of Significance
by Corporal B Harwood, formerly The Life Guards
nevitably, as 2014 dawns, numberless military sources will produce their contribution in memoriam of the First World War conflict. The sidelights offered here had their genesis at our Household Cavalry HQ and perhaps deserve to be recalled to memory on that basis if no other. Readers whose memories are stirred by reading what follows will perhaps offer more anecdotes. The Officer in Command (GOC) at Horse Guards for the following narratives was Lieutenant General Sir Francis Lloyd GCVO KCB DSO Grenadier Guards, whose tenure at Horse Guards ran from 3rd September 1913 to 1st October 1918. A man of meticulous planning ability whose equal has rarely occupied the famous office over the arch - for Horse Guards during the First World War, Sir Francis was the right man in the right place at the right time. A unique and hugely significant event took place at Horse Guards on 11th February 1915 when the official creation of the Welsh Guards regiment took place. The GOC (also a fervent Welshman), recorded in his diary on that day, “the birth of the Welsh Guards.” A week previously the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, had been ordered by King George V to proceed on the formal recruiting “for a Battalion of Welsh Guards.” The King signed the Royal Warrant creating the regiment on 26th February, 1915. Things then moved on apace, and on St. David’s Day (1st March), the new regiment mounted its first King’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, under the watchful gaze of the King and Sir Francis looking on from the Palace windows. In quick time most of the important remaining matters were then settled to the King’s satisfaction the badge, (a leek); the motto ‘Cymru am byth’; the uniform facings - a collar dragon; the button spacing, (two fives), and the bearskin plume, ‘green and white.’ The 1st Battalion of the Welsh Guards was presented with its Colours on 3rd August 1914 and left for the
Front a fortnight later.
Horse Guards’ offices.
Still submerged today in the Ministry of Defence archives are the documents descriptive of the War Office’s eviction of the GOC London District Command and his staff from their traditional home at Horse Guards, across St. James’s Park to the Pall Mall ‘club land’ surroundings of Carlton House Terrace. This took place during the December of 1917 and was, ostensibly, to find office space at Horse Guards for senior commanders whose roles in the Great War had become diminished, but who were required to ‘work from home’ as it were. The new address was the occupancy (as tenants) of numbers 11, 12, 13 and 23 Carlton House Terrace and while so in use, these separate buildings were aggregated under the identity of ‘Horse Guards Annex.’ It was given the official identity by the War Office as GHQ Great Britain. Also hived off to new premises in nearby Pall Mall, (opposite the Guards Club), was the staff of Eastern Command. Contemporary records which are accessible give a little more detail as, for instance, ‘The Brigade Office, 23 Carlton House Terrace.’ This ‘Carlton based’ Guards’ HQ formed the especially extended limit of the Horse Guards’ sentries’ patrol beat. Normal service was resumed back at Horse Guards post-war in 1920, when the GOC Major General Sir Geoffrey Fielding KCB KCVO CMG DSO Coldstream Guards saw all his Command moved ‘back home’ under the clock tower. And the sentry patrolling reduced to normal.
The first, a leading initiative implemented by the end of June, was the setting up of the London Air Defence Area to combine the operations of observers, anti-aircraft artillery, and a nascent London Home Guard. This information was commanded by Brigadier General Edward Washmore from a centrally sited room at Horse Guards. The room (at present not identified specifically) was dominated by a huge under-lit table map of London and its immediate Home Counties. This map was divided into numbered squares, so providing an early-warning plotting aid to follow the bombers’ routes, enabling counter air defence and protection measures to be enacted. This basic system (much enhanced), was to be used again at Bentley Priory, from 1940 onwards.
The first concerted attack from the air on London targets was launched by the Germans in the summer of 1917. From June of that year, using their long-range heavy Gotha bomber aircraft, (which could bomb from 12,000 feet, day or night), a systematic targetting of the centre of the capital began. In the following months two principal consequences emerged which were to be paralleled in the later Battle of Britain, and which were both orchestrated from the
The second initiative was put in place personally by Sir Francis Lloyd. After a particularly severe air-raid on 4th September 1917 the GOC wrote a memo to the Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington-Ingram - ‘The Belligerent Bishop’ - whose incandescent hatred of every militant German was famous, or perhaps infamous, world-wide. The GOC’s memo requested that the Bishop allow church crypts across London to be made open during air-raids for anyone who so wished to take cover in. The Bishop unhesitatingly agreed. Also the GOC, speaking about civilian shelter facilities at a London defence meeting, said “my advice is to go down into the London Tubes.” And indeed the population did, in their thousands - inevitably postponing the electrification completion programme until after 1918. And of course the GOC’s example was again followed in the 1940s Blitz months, with the London Underground stations becoming a vast dormitory, and many London churches again opening their crypts as shelters.
A Defining Moment
by D V Palmer, former Captain, The Life Guards
n 1943 as the war went on, the Army continually trawled for new potential officers. In a Recruiting foray, a troop of armoured cars of the Household Cavalry came to Stowe School and laid on a demonstration and a talk by the subaltern in charge. I was fascinated by
the speed of the armoured cars, their manoeuvrability, and their ability to reverse as fast as they could go forwards. I applied on the spot. In due course I was called for an interview at Combermere Barracks with
Colonel Andrew Ferguson. I was accepted and in September 1944 joined a Brigade Squad at Caterham with 20 Grenadiers and six Household Cavalry potential officers. This was followed by a stint at Pirbright and then Sandhurst, where I was commissioned into The Life
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Guards in October 1945, two months after VJ Day (Victory over Japan). I saw service in Germany, Egypt and Palestine, where the Regiment, equipped with Daimlers and Dingos, was involved in numerous actions.
The author - 1946
In Palestine, the role of The Life Guards as an armoured car regiment, was to patrol the roads and Tprs Woods and Speaks on the autobahn in Germany keep order until the Mandate ended. The Regiment drove up from Egypt across the for a ceasefire, and the Jews withdrew Sinai desert. Much of the time the Regito Tel Aviv. ment lived in a tented camp patrolling the centre and south of Palestine. The In 1948, The Life Guards had come time was mostly spent trying to keep the home from Palestine when the British two factions - Jews and Arabs - apart. A mandate ended. I was appointed climax was the battle of Jaffa in April Adjutant of the Mons Officer Cadet 1948, when the Jews tried to drive out School that produced National Service the Arabs. There was heavy fighting for officers for the Royal Armoured Corps five days after which Ben Gurion asked and the Royal Artillery. My job was largely ceremonial, including taking the fortnightly passing out parade and riding up the steps in imitation of the RMA Sandhurst tradition. After six years in the Army and the thrill of service abroad in action, this was my last job in the Army before embarking on a career in the City in Lloyd’s insurance brokers, Edward Lumley. I had thoroughly enjoyed my service and with my forthcoming wedding had decided to retire and seek my fortune.
A Squadron Officer Group,1946 From left to right: Reid, Paddy Drummond, Michael Franklin, John Greenish, Michael Redfern, Jeremy Tree, David Palmer, Stuart Ruthven. Seated in front is Dicky Powle, Sqn 2IC, on his last day with the Squadron before returning to England and demobilisation
March past by Mons officer cadets
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The Adjutant riding up the steps Mons Barracks, Aldershot, 1948
A Short but Memorable Service
by Mr M D Thacker, formerly Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) 1951-1954
was the son of a serving Naval Officer and went to school in Wynberg, South Africa. Joining the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) in November 1951 was something of a shock to the system. Everything was very basic and the discipline very rigid. During my time in Household Cavalry Training (HCTC) a big reshuffle took place due to falling numbers. Much to my disappointment I never did any more mounted service, but was posted to 4 Troop B Squadron where I served the rest of my three years
with the Colours. The Coronation in 1953 was of course the highlight of my time with The Blues and was a truly amazing day. Being tall (6’ 5”) I was in the front rank of the column and had a good view of everything taking place. After demobilization, I joined the Colonial Police and returned to Africa for ten years. I retired from Nyasaland with Gazetted Rank and took up a post as
Returning from Presentation of Standards Parade Front rank RCM John Sallis, CoH A Kitchen, CoH Goldsmith, Thacker
Probation Officer in Plymouth, where I was Senior Probation Officer upon retirement after 26 years service. I often look back on the early years and wonder how some of the others fared. One or two, like the Charlton brothers, one has followed in the press. Below is a selection of pictures from my service, which I hope will be nostalgic for some.
Corporal Jeff Beynon. On the Coronation he was in State Groom’s uniform walking with the Gold Coach
Oxford Squad - Tpr Thatcher centre rank third from left. Do you recognise any other members of this squad?
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3 & 4 Troop Room, B Squadron
Recruiting Drive Acton, LCpl Thacker on left
Presentation of Standards, 1953
Daimler Armoured Car: Cpl Thacker, Tprs Hawley in 4A
Cpl Thacker after demob in Africa on his horse on the Mozambique Border
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Mental Health First Aid Rolls Out Training For Armed Forces Community
Mental Health First Aid England is asking members of the Armed Forces community to engage with a new initiative which will see 6,600 people trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and guide those affected to appropriate professional help. The Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid (AFMHFA) programme is a collaborative initiative that also includes support organisations including the national military charity SSAFA, Combat Stress and the Royal British Legion (RBL). The first Instructor course was held in London, starting on 15th October 2013, followed by Edinburgh on 22nd October and Durham on 13th November, then rolling across the regions in 2014/15. Once trained, AFMHFA Instructors will be fully qualified to deliver the specifically designed Mental Health First Aid training to the wider Armed Forces community. The course will train people to: • Increase their understanding of mental health • Increase their understanding of military culture • Increase their personal resilience • Spot the early signs of a mental health problem • Feel confident helping someone experiencing a problem • Provide help on a first aid basis • Help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others • Help stop a mental illness from getting worse • Help someone recover faster • Guide someone towards the right support • Reduce the stigma of mental health problems Currently there are fully funded spaces, available at the following locations on the following dates:
AF7-14 AF8-14 AF9-14 AF10-14 AF11-14 AF12-14 AF13-15 AF14-15 AF15-15
6 May 2014 3,4,5,17,18 Jun, 1,2 Jul 2014 13 May 2014 10,11,12, 25, 26 Jun, 8,9 Jul 2014 12 August 2014 9,10,11,23,24 Sep, 7,8 Oct 2014 2 September 2014 30 Sep, 1,2,14,15,28,29 Oct 2014 23 September 2014 21,22,23 Oct, 4,5,18,19 Nov 2014 15 October 2014 12,13,14, 25,26 Nov, 9,10 Dec 2014 16 December 2014 13,14,15,27,28 Jan, 10,11 Feb 2015 6 January 2015 3,4,5,17,18 Feb, 3,4 Mar 2015 27 January 2015 24,25,26 Feb, 10,11,24,25 Mar 2015
Manchester Cardiff Belfast Glasgow London Leeds Birmingham Exeter Liverpool
Further information about the Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid and how to apply to join an Instructors course, visit www.mhfaengland.org/armed-forces
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The Late P F Lewery Michael Samuels, (a former Life Guard) saw the obituary of Peter Lewery in the 2012/13 Journal, and has written in with a photograph of Howard Vyse ride in Windsor, 1957. The photograph shows the ride with LCoH Peter Lewery, who had instructed Mr Samuels, sitting in the centre of the front row.
by Captain B Rogers, The Life Guards
his year marks the beginning of the World War 1 centenary commemorations. Whilst there will be several events over the next four years concerning the Household Cavalry, the focus next year will be a commemoration at Zandvoorde in October. After the declaration of war on 4th August 1914, the active service squadrons of the three regiments, 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards, formed a composite regiment, following the precedents of Egypt and the Boer War, which headed off to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). They were in Belgium by 16th August and were involved in the ‘Retreat from Mons’. The remainder of the three regiments formed themselves into the 7th (Household Cavalry) Brigade and arrived Zeebrugge on 8th October of 1914. They had all been backfilled by line regiments as they were all obviously missing a squadron and the Household Cavalry did not have a reserve. The Dragoons backfilled the 1LG, Lancers to
1LG mobilising from Hyde Park Barracks, August 1914
the 2LG, and Hussars with RHG. By 23rd October the Household Cavalry Brigade found itself in the trenches on the line of the Zandvoorde-Hollebeke road. They were relieved in the trenches on 25th October but found themselves back
in them on the 27th. Cavalry regiments were at a distinct disadvantage to infantry battalions: they had a smaller establishment, an inadequate issue of digging tools and stores for the job, and men had to remain behind looking after the horses.
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At 0630 on the 30th after a brief bombardment, a diversionary attack by two divisions of infantry was mounted on Zonnebeke and then at 0645 a bombardment by most of the 260 heavy guns of Army Group Fabeck began a 75 minute assault. The Household Cavalry trenches were on forward slopes and so in clear view of the German observers. Battle order from right to left was: C Squadron 1LG; Squadron 2LG; Machine Guns, RHG; Squadron 1LG; Squadron 2LG. Defending troops were ordered to pull back into their support trenches further to the rear, but for the two left hand squadrons and the MG Section RHG who possibly did not receive the order to pull back, or were unable to extricate themselves due to the accuracy and weight of fire. By mid-morning, they had been overwhelmed by the whole of the 39th Division and three Jaeger battalions. They were wiped out where they fought, suffering near total extinction with only a few prisoners accounted for. The Brigade now found itself seriously under strength and on 11th November the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment was disbanded and the three Squadrons returned to their respective regiments. Handed down stories tell the tale that the Kaiser felt that the destruction of the Household Cavalry would deal a severe blow to George V. It is suggested that the word was given to the Brandenburgers (elite soldiers in the attacking force) that there were to be no prisoners taken. It is likely that
Capt Hugh Grosvenor 1LG
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the attacking force bayoneted all whom they found in the trenches, though this level of savagery was not uncommon in trench warfare. It was told that for many years after LG Squadrons were lettered A, B, D, thus honouring C Squadron’s demise, reduced to 1 officer, 25 men and 159 horses. The next day an aristocratic German officer came across the trench of Lord Worsley who had commanded the MG Sect RHG. He found the body trapped by one of the guns and decided to have a grave dug and a simple wooden cross erected. Through diplomatic channels the Germans reported the death of Lord Worsley and location of the grave. After the war the grave was located; only the vertical post was still in place. A new simple cross was placed on the grave by The Hon Sackville Pelham, Lord Worsley’s brother who also took a cutting from a battered osier fence which was the only thing left living on the ridge line. Lord Worsley’s body was eventually exhumed and reburied in Ypres Town Cemetery. Lady Apsley, Lord Worsley’s wife, bought the land in which he had been initially buried and on it was created the Household Cavalry Memorial which commemorates the 120 men of the 1LG, 114 men of the 2LG, and 62 men of the RHG, the majority of whom were killed defending the ridge at Zandvoorde. The Memorial was dedicated by Field Marshal Earl Haig on May 4th 1924.
Duke of Westminster’s younger brother who was commanding C Squadron, 1LG. The cutting taken by the Worsley family was grown at their estate and a cutting subsequently taken by the Grosvenor family. In 1963, Colonel Hugh Grosvenor, the son of the late Lord Grosvenor, presented a sapling to the Household Cavalry and this currently grows just inside the gates of Combermere Barracks. The intention for this year is for a group of up to 300 soldiers combined from HCR and HCMR to visit Zandvoorde on 25th/26th October, to commemorate the centenary of the battle. On the 25th we will travel to Belgium and carry out a small battlefield tour, lay a wreath at the Household Cavalry memorial and attend the 6pm ceremony at the Menin Gate. On the 26th there will be a service of commemoration and a parade in conjunction with the Zonnebeke local authority before travelling back to England. Cuttings have been taken from the tree in Combermere Barracks and these are currently at The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park. The plan is to take one of these saplings back to Zandvoorde to plant in a suitable location, possibly within the confines of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery. We have also had authority to plant another sapling within the new Flanders memorial garden at the Guards Chapel.
As well as Lord Worsley the dead included Lord Hugh Grosvenor, the
The dedication of the memorial in 1924
Fred: the Collected Letters and Speeches of Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, Volume 1: 1842 - 1878 by Dr John Hawkins (published by Solihull: Helion & Company, 2013) A review by Carole Bourne-Taylor
Hmm,” I thought, as I picked up John Hawkins’s Fred: Collected Letters and Speeches of Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, Volume One, “this looks like a blokes’ book.” But, being an academic, I cannot resist a chunky book; and written by someone I had briefly met, I thumbed through it, starting, as academics do, at the back. No index. But that is to come with volume 2, which I have to confess, I now also look forward to reading! First and foremost, bearing in mind the readership of this short review, let me say that this excellent work, which pulses with adventure, is accessible to the layman (and woman..), while providing plenty of meat for the more complicated mind of the academic. And above all, John Hawkins sets us all off on the right track with a very readable biography of our eponymous hero, Fred Burnaby. He has also provided the reader with some evocative pictures, as you might expect.
Fred himself wrote well and with great humour; in some ways his rather oldworld jingoism and misogyny add to the charm of his style - his very English eccentricity just leaps off the page! There are many articles written for his pocketpublication, Vanity Fair (of which, I confess, I did not know he had been a partowner at that time), and for the Morning Post, The Times and Mayfair (calm down, chaps, it was a respectable periodical in those days!). Following Fred’s death, the obituaries are a delight in themselves and I particularly enjoyed an essay, published in The World in November 1877, about Radford, his “faithful servant and companion”, in which the
writer draws a vivid picture of Fred, using Radford’s first person reminiscences: “If the Capting was agoing again tomorrow” he says, he would gladly pack his saddle bags for the journey, leaving Mrs Radford at home to mind their six children; Mrs R, the writer reminds us, ‘regards the expeditions with the same unswerving eye to duty’. Men and women in Armenia, Radford opines, will do anything for a pinch of tea. For the price of a cup, on one occasion, he managed to get the whole of his master’s and his own stockings darned. A letter to Lady Molesworth in 1876 is jammed with catchy and hair-raising anecdotes: on a pleasant journey to Constantinople he meets a Cocotte (a demi-mondaine of which the archetype is the Proustian Odette de Crécy) who complains that business is at a low point in winter when men’s attention is absorbed by hunting; he speaks of a muchmarried Pasha having the misfortune of having fat wives, ‘the ugliest of the party obese to a degree quite unknown in a London ball-room’: the Duchess of Westminster, Mrs Hennike or Hannah Rothschild ‘would have been fairies in comparison’! Hmmm. Then, we learn that a Circassian young lady can be bought for a few sheep: would a few
tins of Australian lamb do the trick, he wonders… Fred came to grief in hand to hand fighting in a skirmish near Khartoum in 1885, I suspect, as he would have wished; he needn’t have been there, being on leave, but he just couldn’t resist a scrap. So here we have part one of what I believe will be the definitive work on Colonel Burnaby (RHG), said to be the strongest man in the British army (he carried a small horse under each arm into the mess), who stood six feet four, with a forty six inch chest. Not only a renowned athlete, balloonist, boxer and swordsman, indifferent to danger, but a brilliant linguist; he also wrote two bestselling books which are still rarely out of print. I’m not sure that they make them like that any more….
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
by Mr K W Iveson, formerly The Life Guards
f Egypt was the best of times, the worst of times (at the time) was the first few months of army life. It was on the 1st December 1952, a bright cold frosty morning, a sprinkling of snow lay on the grounds, as I stood at Cudworth Station (now long gone) waiting for a train to Sheffield, and then hence to London St Pancras. A fresh faced 18 year old, I clutched in my hand my National Service calling up papers, together with a railway warrant and instructions to proceed to Hyde Park Barracks, London. Quite an adventure,
in eighteen years the furthest I had travelled was 80 miles to Blackpool for annual holidays. Arriving at Sheffield and waiting for the London train, I espied a recruiting sergeant bearing down on me. It was like a spider bearing down on a hapless fly. “You look a bright intelligent young man” boomed the sergeant, “have you thought of joining the regular army?” “Your pay as a National Serviceman is £1.00 per week but as a three year regular soldier you would receive £1 and 9 shillings per week.” Job done!! I had signed for three years. It
must have been the shortest period of National Service ever. I would like to think that the motto of that recruiting sergeant was ‘never give a sucker an even break.’ Having duly arrived at St Pancras Station, London, and after a pleasant hour exploring the underground, I eventually arrived at Hyde Park Barracks. The smell of the horses on that crisp December day remains with me still. With roughly another 30 lost souls we were paraded outside the Orderly Room and
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waited to be ushered into Colonel FB St George’s office. I remember the Colonel intoning “Life Guard, Blue, Life Guard, Blue” etc. Then on the train to Combermere Barracks, Windsor. Thirty to a room, above the stables. Two cold wash basins. After that it was eight fun packed weeks of PT, Drill, Fatigues, and Kit Cleaning. The cycle went on. I do recall a kindly old soldier used to polish my boots and his rates were fairly reasonable. The squad officer was 2Lt GB Holliday and squad CoH EW (Eddie) Prince. I later met him in civilian life when I was a Development Officer for a Housing Association and Eddie was the warden at one of the sheltered housing schemes, at Winifred Baker Court, Plymouth. After eight weeks we eventually Passed Out and awaited our next posting. However, on 31st January 1953 the Essex flood disaster (see photographs) occurred and we were paraded on the square at Windsor under the eagle eye of SCM ‘Snatch’ Ring, to be told we were going to Canvey Island to fill sandbags and help with the flood defences. I now fondly remember being put on a charge ‘Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline contrary to section 69 of the Army Act, in that he did have dirty greatcoat buttons.’ Shades of Littlejohn of The Daily Mail, “you couldn’t make it up.” However, all our duty done we all received our individual posting orders and I was despatched to 67th Trg Regt, RAC, Hadrian’s Camp, Carlisle, the ‘Colditz of the North’ for further training and to learn the trade of Clerk GD GP B Class III. Two things I liked about Carlisle. You got a decent cup of tea in the NAAFI and a nice Fox’s cream biscuit; Carlisle being the city where Fox’s biscuits were made. We lived in huts called ‘spiders’ and had a delightful instructor, CoH Reg Brooks, RHG. We had kit inspections every Friday where nine times out of ten your kit got thrown through the spider window.
One incident which I find amusing, though not at the time, was when we were on the rifle range firing our .303 rifles. We were each allocated ten rounds which we duly fired off, then went up to the targets to see how we had done. I had two holes in my target and the chap next to me had about fifteen. Some marksman! Reg was incandescent with rage, his face turned a deep purple colour, and for once he was speechless. However, he escorted me back to the firing point with the aid of a brightly polished toecap. All good things come to an end. I passed my trade test of clerk GD Class III and on 9th May 1953 sailed ‘The day normal business was resumed’ from Harwich to the or ‘A soldier’s farewell to Canvey’ Hook of Holland. After breakfast the next morning, and another of my mentors. On return boarded a troop train through Holland to the UK he became A Squadron SCM still showing the ravages of war and and I became A Squadron clerk. I had eventually arrived at Northampton emerged after a few months relatively Barracks, Wölfenbuttel, Nr Brunswick. unscathed and still a little shell shocked, Next morning I paraded outside the wondering what the future might hold. Orderly Room, was marched in by I must have enjoyed it, for 25 years plus RCM John Jenkins in front of Lt Col A later I returned to civilian life proud Meredith Hardy and was informed I and happy to have been a part of great would go to HQ Squadron as squadron Regiment. It was fun!!! clerk. At this time most of the Regiment was back in England for the Coronation Photographs of Canvey Island taken of HM Queen Elizabeth II, including HQ from The 1953 Essex Flood Disaster - The SCM Joe Ratcliffe, my mentor in Egypt. People’s Story by Patricia Rennoldson In temporary charge of HQ Sqn was CoH Smith. Eric Sant, later to become Quartermaster
Jack Wright’s home behind the lorry in Mornington Road. John had been standing on the veranda fending off sheds and heavy timber in the fast flowing water which threatened to crash into the bungalow
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Servicemen and civilians toiling to repair the sea wall at Tewkes Creek