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His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG GCVO ADC


COMMANDING OFFICER Lieutenant Colonel WJO Fooks

HOME HEADQUARTERS TA Centre, Tigers Road, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 4UX

TERRITORIAL ARMY AFFILIATION B Squadron (The Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Royal Yeomanry


The Danish Army The Guard Hussar Regiment The Canadian Army The Prince Edward Island Regiment (Royal Canadian Armoured Corps) The Pakistan Army 12th Cavalry (Sam Browne’s Cavalry)



Uppingham School CCF Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland ACF Bedfordshire ACF

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REGIMENTAL JOURNAL OF THE 9TH/12TH ROYAL LANCERS (PRINCE OF WALES’S) Editors: Major SP Doherty and Captain SP Hardy Regimental Website:

Volume XI


Contents Regimental Headquarters .........................................3 Foreword by the Colonel of the Regiment................ 3 Foreword by the Commanding Officer ..................... 4 Regimental Diary 2011 ............................................... 5 A Year as Regimental Sergeant Major ....................... 8 Regimental Prizes and Awards 2011 ....................... 10 The Squadrons .........................................................11 Officer Commanding A Squadron ........................... 11 B Squadron (Kandak advisory training team) – Operation HERRICK 14 ..................................... 23 C Squadon Overview................................................. 33 Headquarter Squadron Overview ............................ 40 Operation HERRICK ..............................................51 Operation HERRICK ............................................... 51 LANCE CORPORAL PAUL WILLIAM WATKINS ............................................................ 57 Operation RESTORATION ...................................62 Operation RESTORATION 11 ............................... 63 Socialising .................................................................64 The Messes ...............................................................65 Officers’ Mess ............................................................ 65 Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess .................... 66 The Corporals’ Mess ................................................. 68 Lancers Ladies and Young Lancers ........................ 69 Regimental Welfare Office........................................ 70 Light Role Reconnaissance Commanders Course . 74 A Cavalry Sergeant On The Infamous Platoon Sergeants Battle Course ....................................... 74

Pre Parachute Selection ............................................ 75 Exercise Cambrian Patrol 2011 ................................ 76 Lancers in Kenya ...................................................... 77 Exercise Kalahari Lancer ......................................... 78 On Top of the World – Exercise Andalucian Lancer ............................... 79 Extreme Mentoring................................................... 81 Exercise Rhino Soldier ............................................. 81

Teaching counterinsurgency to the Nigerian Armed Forces .................................................................. 100 Afghan National Army Advisor, Operation HERRICK 13 ................................... 101 Aide to Camp to General Officer Commanding 5th Division ............................................................... 103 SO3 Combat Arms, Combined Training and Advisory Group-Afghanistan, Kabul ................................ 103

Triple Crown Challenge ............................................ 82

Army Training Regiment (Bassingbourn) (ART (B) ........................................................................ 104

Hohne 2 Headly Court.............................................. 83

Another year at 16 Cadet Training Team .............. 105

A Lancer in Lapland................................................. 84 Regimental Sport .....................................................86 Alpine Skiing – Exercise White Night Lancer ...... 87 The Cresta Run ......................................................... 88 Football ...................................................................... 89 Golf ............................................................................. 90 Netball ........................................................................ 90 Nordic Skiing. ........................................................... 90 Modern Pentathlon – 13th World Biathle Championships 2011 .......... 91 Polo ............................................................................. 92 Triathlon .................................................................... 93 ERE ............................................................................95 1 Mechanised Brigade............................................... 95 Kuwait Joint Command and Staff College.............. 96

Tayforth University Officer Training Corps (OTC)105 Work and play as the St. Andrews Permanent Staff Instructor (PSI) ................................................. 105 9/12th Lancers Charity Freefall ............................. 107 Home Headquarters ..............................................109 Old Comrades Association ..................................... 109 Obituaries................................................................. 110 Officers’ Regimental Dinner .................................. 114 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Princes of Wales’s) Charitable Association ....................................... 115 Regimental Museum ............................................... 116 The Band of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and Colleagues from the Regimental Old Comrades Association ......................................................... 116 Unveiling of the Memorial Headstone for Corporal Thomas Hancock VC, 9th Lancers, 1822-1871 ...................................... 117

Loan Service in Sierra Leone .................................. 96

Regimental Charitable Association Fundraising Dinner for Afghanistan at White’s Club .......... 118

Lancer in Manhattan ................................................ 97

9th/12th Royal Lancers OCA ................................ 118

Perfecting the Southern Drawl ................................ 98

Coast2Coast Walk 2011 ........................................... 118

In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz… ............................... 99

Regimental Gazette – Order of Battle ................... 120

The Delhi Spearman, The Annual Journal of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), is published on behalf of the Regiment by: Crest Publications, 20 Moulton Business Park, Scirocco Close, Northampton NN3 6AP. Tel : 01604 495495 Fax: 01604 495465 email: 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 Regiment or the Ministry of Defence. No responsibility for the goods or services advertised in this journal can be accepted by the Regiment or its publishers or printers and advertisements are included in good faith. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Regiment and Publisher.

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Foreword by the Colonel of the Regiment


he Journal this year very much bears testament to the operational professionalism of the Regiment during their recent tour in Afghanistan. The stories of courage, endurance, and stoicism under extremely dangerous circumstances come through in all the various contributions, and the fact that the squadrons were doing a wide variety of different tasks again demonstrates the tremendous flexibility of the reconnaissance soldier. I continue to be hugely impressed by the cheerfulness and sense of camaraderie displayed by all ranks, where teamwork and sharing the burden of responsibility are very much order of the day. No doubt the stories in this Journal will be an uncanny reminder, for some readers, with echoes from previous operational tours and earlier campaigns, whether it is the heat and dust of the desert – as in North Africa during World War 2, or the danger from improvised explosive devices which are reminiscent of our days in Northern Ireland. But what has clearly been very different during this tour has been the calm acceptance by all our soldiers that they were operating in an area where the probability of a protracted fire-fight was extremely high. The sheer bravery demonstrated by all ranks is most impressive and in everything they did, they behaved as true professionals. It was very sad for the Regiment to lose L/Cpl Watkins during one of the exchanges of fire and I know I speak for all members of the Regiment in sending our sincerest condolences to the Watkins family. We also sympathise hugely with our eight casualties who suffered varying degrees of life-changing injuries. However, I really do believe that the genuine expertise of all those who deployed kept our casualty numbers relatively low. It is also worthy to note that the Homecoming Parades following the tour were marked by the turnout of vast numbers of incredibly supportive crowds. At the Commando Brigade Parade in Exeter, attended by all the military hierarchy (including the

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Minister for Armed Forces, Chief of the Defence Staff, First Sea Lord, Commandant General Royal Marines) the Brigade Commander paid particular tribute to the Regiment during a very poignant Cathedral Service. In our recruiting heartland, the crowds were even more noisily supportive and came out in their tens of thousands in Northampton, Leicester, Derby and Chesterfield. We were granted the Freedom of Leicester and subsequently of Chesterfield in very moving ceremonies. But perhaps the most important facet of these Parades was that they gave our soldiers the opportunity to see just how much support they have from the general public. Well done to all the serving Regiment. The recent months have again been a period of significant change for the Regiment. Our long serving and hugely valuable Regimental Secretary and our Assistant Regimental Secretary have handed over. In over 15 years of combined service both David Chappell and Joe Hardy have been incredibly important to us all and have been very much appreciated by all those in the Regimental Association and the serving Regiment. We are sorry to see them leave and wish them well for the future. We have also had a hand over of Commanding Officers, with Will Fooks moving to the Army Headquarters and Richard Slack from the King’s Royal Hussars taking up the appointment as Commanding Officer. In the wider Army, the huge black-hole in Ministry of Defence finances is impacting the Regiment but even at the time of going to press, we genuinely do not know what the future will hold. Nevertheless, what I am able to say with some confidence is that the Regiment is in great form, professionally hardened in battle with yet another successful tour under their belts; so I am sure that whatever the future does hold, the Regiment will rise to the challenge with the same dedication and professionalism with which they have faced each new situation over the past years.

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Foreword by the Commanding Officer


ur deployment on Operation HERRICK 14 in 2011 was when the Regiment earned its seat at the Afghanistan operational “table”. It did so in spectacular fashion although at no small cost: Lance Corporal Watkins was killed in action and Staff Sergeant Swain and Trooper Gillborn were both very seriously wounded. It will come as no surprise that such selflesscommitment and bravery were common themes not only in Afghanistan but in Germany and the United Kingdom too. I am delighted therefore to report that this was recognised in full from the very top and across the board: the Colonel-in-Chief visited us on three occasions on exercise and in camp; the Lord Mayor of Leicester conferred the Freedom of the City on the Regiment during the homecoming parades; and we are due to receive in 2012 the Freedom of the Boroughs of Chesterfield and also Northampton. But before you turn to read about tales of daring-do and marvel at the pictures of the Regiment at work and play, here are a few highlights from the year and a snap shot of things to come in 2012 and beyond. Shona ba shona – “Shoulder-to-shoulder.” Those that went to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 14 (April-October 2011) faced austere conditions, searing heat and a determined and indiscriminate enemy. The experience was exhausting and challenging but hugely rewarding. Under the command of 3 Commando Brigade, we deployed about two-thirds of the Regiment in various guises: three sabre squadrons, a 30-man detachment to 30 Commando Group, and a number of individual officers and soldiers into HQs and units across Afghanistan (from Helmand to Kabul). “A” Squadron deployed “in rôle” as an armoured reconnaissance squadron working to a Danish battalion, which was part of 3 Commando Brigade. “B” Squadron and “C” Squadron both came under command 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (formerly the Staffords) and were each attached to an Afghan National Army battalion (or kandak in Pashtu), whom they were required to teach, mentor and develop. The detachment to 30 Commando Group formed a significant third of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, an independent unit that flew or drove into the nether regions of the Task Force’s area of operations to scout, interdict or disrupt the enemy’s hideouts and rat runs. Yet Operation HERRICK 14 was more than just about bringing on our Afghan partners, patrolling the “Green Zone” astride the meandering Helmand River or dominating the main arterial routes. It was also about the unstinting and unerring support our Rear Operations Group, or ROG for short, provided not only to the deployed troops but to the families both in Germany and the United Kingdom. And through its United Kingdom-based team it provided invaluable support and care for our injured soldiers and their families. Yet the support we received did not come solely from the serving Regiment but from across the wider regimental family: there were marathon runners, parachutists, long distance walkers and a myriad of other benefactors and donors, who together raised a veritable King’s ransom. For their bounteous generosity we, the serving Regiment, thank and salute them. “See! The conquering hero(es) come.” Following our return from Afghanistan, our four homecoming parades in the East Midlands during November were quite the most spectacular, moving and memorable events I have ever experienced. If we were in any doubt as to whether the British Public appreciated what we had been up to then that doubt vanished as we stepped off from the forming up point ahead of each parade. Drawing from across the Regiment (both those that had deployed to Afghanistan and those that had been in the Rear Operations Group), we marched through Northampton, Leicester, Derby

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and Chesterfield and held a short service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum. At the four parades there were literally 1000s of people lining the streets, cheering and feting the Regiment. And each parade was unique. Northampton was the first and treated us to a fantastic reception afterwards in their awesome Guildhall. Leicester combined the parade with a ceremony, at which the Lord Mayor conferred the Freedom of the City on the Regiment; and afterwards the Nottingham Odd Fellows Club hosted us right royally. Prior to the parade at Derby (where we already enjoy the Freedom of the City), we attended a splendid and moving service of remembrance in the cathedral and after the marching were hosted at a splendid reception. And at Chesterfield, following the parade through the town, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant presented medals to some of our soldiers from the borough, before a reception with the mayor and other dignitaries in the imposing “Stormont-esque” Town Hall. Turning now to the future there are varying degrees of clarity on what it will look like. In the short term through 2012 the Regiment embarks on its training year with a new order of battle: “A” Squadron is mounted on our tracked reconnaissance vehicles (CVR(T) as we call them); “B” Squadron is equipped with wheeled reconnaissance vehicles and will form the core of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force for 7 Armoured Brigade; and “C” Squadron has a surveillance troop, provides the core of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance Group (ISTAR for short) and provides specialist reconnaissance liaison teams. Meanwhile Headquarter Squadron continues to sustain and maintain us both in camp and in the field. The training year will conclude with a regimental deployment to Canada to conduct some fantastic “force-on-force” exercises and “live” firing (but not at the same time you’ll be reassured to hear). And following that another deployment to Afghanistan is due in 2013. However, the Regiment’s commitment to it has yet to be determined; and there is plenty of water to go under that bridge before we know for certain what we will be getting up to out there. As for the challenges we are going to have to face, in addition to those relating to operational deployments, there is the United

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Kingdom’s withdrawal from Germany in the 2015–2020 timeframe and the downsizing of the Army. Yet, as you would expect, the Regiment continues to deliver strong results both on operations and in peacetime thanks to the high calibre of its people (whom the Army must continue to invest in), its indefatigable nature (which the Army must continue to reward) and the same indomitable spirit of its predecessors (which we must preserve). And so finally, this is my last Commanding Officer’s foreword; I hand over command to my successor in 2012 and I wish him and the Regiment every success. However, before you turn expect-


antly to what the Regiment has to say for itself in the pages that follow, I wish to delay you a moment longer in order to thank publicly the serving Regiment and the wider regimental community (in particular Home Headquarters) for all their support they have given me during these past two and a half years. The 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) is one of the best cavalry regiments born out of two of the finest and it has been an absolute honour and a privilege to command it. And now please read on.


Regimental Diary 2011 Monday 10 January First Parade

Friday 11 March Grand Military (Sandown)

Thursday 20 January – Friday 21 January QEH Visit (United Kingdom)

Wednesday 16 March C and B Squadron deploy on Operation HERRICK 14

Monday 31 January HRH Duke of York visits the Regiment on H14 pre-deployment training exercise

Thursday 17 March Dinner Night – Comd 7X

Saturday 19 February A Divine Comedy (Schloss Bredebeck) Thursday 3 March Comd 7X Visit Friday 4 March All Ranks Party (Roundhouse) Monday 7 March Mino Films Visit – A Squadron Wednesday 9 March Colonel of the Regiment Visit

Friday 18 March Rear Operations Group starts Tuesday 22 March H14 Media Day Friday 25 & Saturday 26 March Derby Reunion Friday 22 April A Squadron deploy to Afghanistan Friday 29 April – Sunday 1 May AF North International Hockey Championships Results: 9/12L came 11th out of 12 teams

A Squadron on parade in Chesterfield

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A and C SSM’s hanging in Geresk

Officers and their escorts

Friday 29 April Royal Tea Party – HQ Squadron/Airlies

Thursday 21 July Repatriation (RAF Lyneham)

Friday 6 May 9/12L ABF Big Curry – HQ Squadron bar

Wednesday 27 July HRH Duke of York – royal visit

Saturday 7 & Sunday 8 May Cavalry Memorial London

Thursday 11 August WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess – Games Night

Saturday 4 June Regimental Fun Day

Tuesday 23 August Colditz visit

Monday 6 June – Friday 17 June Wainwright Walk (United Kingdom)

Sunday 12 September Airlie’s car boot sale

Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 June Exercise YOUNG LANCERS (wives and children)

Monday 19 September – Thursday 22 September Hodson’s Horse

Sunday 19 June Fathers’ Day BBQ

Friday 23 September Airlie’s BBQ

Saturday 16 July Dedication Service & unveiling of the 9th/12th Memorial (NMA)

Sunday 2 October Welfare Sunday Lunch – Glyn Hughes Restaurant Monday 10 October Road Safety Week Tuesday 11 October B and C Squadron return from Afghanistan

Capt Davis at the Divisional Championships

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The Bavarian Beauties in action

Tuesday 18 October SSAFA Big Brew

Saturday 26 November Homecoming Parade Derby

Sunday 30 October – Saturday 12 November Exercise ANDALUSIA LANCER DIAMOND (Spain)

Monday 28 November Homecoming Parade Chesterfield

Sunday 30 October Regimental kids Halloween party

Thursday 1 December Officers’ Dinner Night – London

Saturday 5 November Bonfire Night and Dinner – Bredebeck

Friday 2 December Officers’ Mess Party – London

Sunday 6 November A Squadron return from Afghanistan

Monday 5 December Carols and Curry – Bredebeck

Sunday 13 November Remembrance Sunday

Tuesday 6 December Football: Officers’ v SNCOs (4–5) JNCOs v Tprs (0–5) Christmas Lunch (Glyn Hughes) Officers to WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess WOs’ & Sgts’ to Officers’ Mess

Tuesday 22 November Homecoming Parade Northampton Thursday 24 November Homecoming Parade Leicester

Thursday 8 December Medals Parade – HRH visit Friday 9 December Last parade – Christmas stand-down

C Squadron ready for action

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A Year as Regimental Sergeant Major


his time last year I was enthusiastically throwing myself into a world of gunnery, but more to the point enjoying the luxurious life as the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Gunnery School in Lulworth. Little did I know everything was about to change; the Commanding Officer called to ask if I would accept the role of Regimental Sergeant Major and also if I wanted to attend a commissioning interview at Sandhurst later that year. Needless to say I was delighted and it was an offer I could not even consider turning down. So I packed my three MFO boxes and left the family behind to fulfil a lifetime dream and one which has seen the first father and son Regimental Sergeant Major combination in the 296 years history of the Regiment. Literally two weeks from the Commanding Officer’s call, I was in front of the Regiment with the Regimental Sergeant Major’s opening introduction confirming exactly what my expectations were.

After a short and rewarding spell in the Rear Operations Group I was fortunate enough to secure a role on Operation HERRICK 14 as SO3 Infrastructure for the Afghan National Army which encompassed a $70 million project management job while rebuilding the Afghan National Army infrastructure across Helmand Province. Not only did this allow me to gain better experience working within a Brigade Advisory Group headquarters, it also gave me the ability to visit every Lancer deployed on operations at least once. Historically I was also privileged enough to be the first Regimental Sergeant Major to deploy to Afghanistan from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers. My role of Regimental Sergeant Major sadly came to the forefront when the life changing injuries of SSgt Swain and Tpr Gillborne were announced. Even more tragically felt was the loss of LCpl Paul Watkins, which will be remembered for a lifetime, particularly the period leading up to the repatriation.

The opportunity to make a difference is a gratifying experience and one which should not be overlooked as Regimental Sergeant Major. As the guardian of all regimental traditions you are in a position to maintain the highest values and standards expected for all current and future Lancers. It is also apparent that past members of the Regiment support this outlook; after all it is those that have set the precedence for us to maintain.

The opportunities I have had as Regimental Sergeant Major have been rewarding and my initial work surrounding the implementation of a new regimental medal, changes to the Tactical Recognition Flash and the new dress regulations for the introduction of the Multi Terrain Pattern uniform will stick with me for a long time. This, linked in with the soldier leadership development plans and changes to both the Warrant Officers’ &

Last minute advice at Leicester – Regimental Sergeant Major, Commanding Officer and Maj Barnett

The Guidon Party in Chesterfield WO2 Swain, WO2 Beuttell, WO2 Mansfield, Regimental Sergeant Major, WO2 Broadhurst, WO2 Saul and WO2 Mawhinney at Derby Cathederal

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Regiment 126x90mm ad_MODRL112_Layout 4 24/11/2011 08:58 Page 1 Airfield closed for Regimental Sergeant Major Inspection at RAF Wittering

Sergeants’ Mess and Corporals’ Mess have meant this has been a very fulfilling year. On a ceremonial front the Operation RESTORATION were central to my tenure and I was honoured to see the Regiment perform to the highest standard throughout. This pride was amplified by being honoured with the freedom of Chesterfield Town and Leicester City, throughout which I was able to play an instrumental part in securing these accolades. Similarly I have had the honour of being Regimental Sergeant Major during three Royal Visits with HRH the Duke of York. With the most recent visit incorporating a medals parade, bearing in mind it is the Regimental Sergeant Major who acts as the parade director I can say with confidence that this is a huge honour. Other small but significant developments this year have included the £7000 worth of restoration work carried out on the Regimental Memorial, a six month project work on the Ferret and Saladin, and some revitalised drill movements of the Guidon Party. As Regimental Sergeant Major the small changes matter as much as the big changes. This is regardless of the current tempo of operations, as long as a difference is made for the good and benefit of future generations to treasure, even after we have all left this family fold, means a job well done. I have gracefully accepted a commission in April 2012 and therefore will be handing over the reins of Regimental Sergeant Major to Mr Beuttell and will look on with jealousy as he will undoubtedly carry the traditions further and create new and ever evolving customs for future Lancers to maintain. CRW

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Regimental Prizes and Awards 2011 The Major Lindsey Memorial Award LCpl Younger LCpl Morris Tpr Coleman-Hughes The John Garner Richards Memorial Fund SSgt Miles Cpl Ferla The ‘Ned Mann’ Memorial Prize Capt W Buxton (RAMC) Capt AJ Horsfall The Adam Slater Award LCpl Pretorius Sports Colours No sports colours were awarded in 2011

Commanding Officer’s Commendation Capt M Sutton (REME) Capt O Tickner Capt R Millar Capt AJ Horsfall SSgt P Swain Sgt Hopkins Sgt Casey Sgt Liburd Sgt Williams (AGC) Cpl Edwards 991 Cpl King Brigade Commanders Commendation Capt S Fleetwood Capt S Tripuraneni SSgt Revill GOC’s Commendations SSgt Coles Miss S Donkin

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Officer Commanding A Squadron


his has been a momentous year for A Squadron. We have waited a long time to deploy to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK but the arduous pre-deployment training and the 6 month deployment have demonstrated our true utility and resolve to succeed against an asymmetric threat. The training for the tour was something of an epic. It was laden with challenges and required all ranks to dig deep to master these. However, time and again, we displayed that not only can we fight a high intensity complex battle but also that every man in the squadron understands the principles of counter insurgency and can adopt a softer posture in a heart beat. The 2010 journal covered the majority of pre-deployment training through until Christmas leave in 2010 but there were still several key milestones to cover in 2011 before we could be considered fit to deploy in role. The first of which was the Confirmatory Field Exercise which followed hard on the heels of the New Year. Remarkably, the SSM (WO2 Leigh Beuttell) didn’t have to lose his temper on the first day, with every man in the squadron arriving at the Thetford training area at the right time. What followed was a Sandhurstesk blur of dismounted patrols, squadron attacks, compound clearance operations and operating base defence shoots all squeezed in to 5 days. The stories of waste deep mud, endless infantry style shouting and bitterly cold weather are now legend and only matched by the heat spilling out of the squadron operations room (aka The Sauna) at the insistence of the Squadron 2IC (Capt Tom Gooch). The squadron received a glowing report and returned to Germany with a spring in its step ready for its grand finale, the Final Test Exercise on Salisbury Plain. The final trip back to the United Kingdom coincided with a cold snap in the weather. The result: very smug CVR(T) crews (working heaters) and Jackal crews (no heaters) forced to talk an even bigger game about being more ‘Ally’ to try and compensate. Over the 10 days that followed, the squadron got the opportunity to practice all of its mounted drills in an environment heaving with insurgents, controlled by none other than our own Maj Andy Simpson. An early quiet period gave the troops the chance to get their eye in and was met with a wave of complaints. All hell then let lose as the squadron tried to support dismounted infantry and guide combat logistic patrols through an insurgent heartland by day and night. With a final pat on the back from the observer controls. We headed back to Germany for a bit of down time for 9 weeks before the long awaited deployment. This was only inter-

On patrol in Nahr-e-Saraj North

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Maj Everett arrives fashionably late

rupted by the latest of the Squadron Leader’s ‘good ideas’ which was to have a final ‘beat up’ exercise week before deployment just to keep us all on our toes. The Operation HERRICK 14 deployment was not straight forward in any respect. The focus throughout the tour remained fixed: develop our partnered Afghan National Army battalion (2 Kandak) such that they were able to take responsibility for Highway 1 security and extract the Formation Reconnaissance Squadron from Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj back in to the ISTAR Group within Task Force Helmand. As it transpired, neither of these were simple tasks. Our area of operations was the largest subunit area within Task Force Helmand; this and the challenges posed by working in a multinational battlegroup and partnering a mixed ability Afghan National Army Kandak kept us all very busy. In the first 6 weeks, the squadron displayed its physical and mental fitness by filling lead roles in enduring dismounted combined force level operations in the green zones of Yakchal and the Upper Gereshk Valley. The squadron trained hard for this role throughout Mission Specific Training (MST) and though the heat took its toll, we forged an early very positive reputation for our performance. However, the threat remained high in Yakchal and required a more sustained effort. The squadron established an austere patrol base in check point KALY, an Afghan National Army check point in the north of Yakchal and fought highly kinetic battles to push the insurgents further south away from the road. This 2 months period witnessed exhibitions of courage, bravery and compassion which typified the individual strengths within the squadron. Concurrently, we took responsibility for the Route 611, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) funded road, running north from Highway 1 to Sangin. This road had enormous significance to the American military in Sangin and later to the British forces in combined force BURMA’s area. The squadron again showed why manned reconnaissance is critical as we proved to be Task Force Helmand’s only source of reliable information. Throughout this activity, the squadron continued to improve the low level skills and leadership of the Afghan National Army, a trying experience but no less important than our more public successes. There were, however, a small team of unsung heroes who worked incredibly hard in the background to sustain this level of squadron effort during the tour. The G4 team in Forward Operating Base (Forward Operating Base) PRICE (SSgt ‘Tiffy’ Whiteford) and Joint Operating Base (JOB) BASTION (SSgt Joe ‘Q Bloke’ Cassidy) consistently fought against a slow and often bureaucratic system to fix our vehicle platforms, maintain our weapon systems, ensure our R&R was booked and push forward the necessary stores; without them, we would not have even ‘got out of the blocks’.

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As we handed over to B Squadron (Queen’s Dragoon Guards), Highway 1 was at a significantly lower risk from insurgent activity than the same time in 2010 and half of the squadron had withdrawn from Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj North’s area to work within Task Force Helmand ISTAR Group. As a result of this, the transition of the security lead for Highway 1 has switched from ISAF to the Afghan National Army of 2 Kandak. By every measure, this was ‘mission success’ for A Squadron on Operation HERRICK 14. Though a light hearted look at the year’s events predominantly, this journal article would be remiss if it did not reflect on a busy tour from a commander’s perspective. In the last 6 months I have witnessed every conceivable emotion etched in the faces of individuals across the squadron: the ebullient euphoria after a high contact battle, the exhaustion of 3 days of constant patrolling in intense heat, through to the intense sadness at hearing of the death of LCpl Watkins. The squadron has taken what ever has been thrown at it and bounced back to show the true grit that typifies this group of men. I am intensely proud and humbled in equal measure by the men of A Squadron and it has been an honour and privilege to serve with you all. MDE

A Squadron Pre-Deployment Training Confirmatory Final Exercise To see in the first few days of 2011 the squadron reported to a cold Bodney camp. A little softer round the edges from a good Christmas, and a little apprehensive having heard the horror stories from our C Squadron counter parts, we were going to take on our squadron’s dismounted test – 4 days in specially designed Afghan villages, and the infamous ‘Green zone’. The exercise was split into three phases – a hostile Afghan village, a peaceful Afghan village, and a stretch of green zone (English wood/swamp) teaming with Insurgents, all along aided by our Afghan National Army counterparts (Gurkhas dressed in Afghan uniform). We constantly had Directing Staff over watching us to judge if we were ready to deploy, whilst Troop Leaders and Troop Sergeants who had recently returned from Afghanistan stayed on our shoulders giving us advice on what we were doing, telling us about what they had experienced during their tour, and there for any questions we had.

ed as part of 3 Brigade in an exercise involving a number of brigade troops in addition to the Commando battle groups. The training started off slowly as we began to find our feet mounted in a Afghanistan environment. Before long though we were facing improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades, small arms fire, and receiving casualties and taking it all in our stride. The complexity of what we dealt with gradually increased throughout the exercise, evolving from troop tasks to squadron tasks. We finished Final Training Exercise again with a good report; but we didn’t see this final test as the end of training, rather the beginning of being ready for tour, and we knew the key now was to remain at this level until we were finally on the ground in Helmand Province. Final preparation With two months still to go until we actually deployed, we filled our time with making sure we kept our skills up to scratch. This included a squadron march and shoot competition viewed by our Colonel of the Regiment Major General JHT Short CB OBE, and a week long squadron exercise around the woods of BergenHohne, all feeling very alley with our new kit. Finally we were given two weeks of leave to dispose of how we chose, and before we knew it we were stood on a cold Hohne Parade Square waiting for a coach to take us to Brize Norton where we would jump on a C-17 to fly us to Camp Bastion and Operation HERRICK 14. EJM

1st Troop As we snatch a couple of weeks off before our triumphant return to stamp the streets around the recruiting lands of Leicester and Derby, I have reflected on a roller-coaster year in command of what has colloquially become known as ‘Fighting 1st Troop’. At the beginning of 2011, 1st Troop were on the cusp of finishing their pre-deployment training culminating with an enormous Final Training Exercise on Salisbury Plain, with the troop being cut away from squadron headquarters to work with a Royal Marine Company. This independence and autonomy was an excellent taste of what was to come in the hot and dusty months in Helmand that lay ahead for one of the finest band of men ever to fly the red and white pennant.

After all the hard work we had put in before Christmas, and on the exercise, it was great to hear that the squadron had been judged to have performed to a high standard and were ready in dismounted skills to deploy to Afghanistan. It was now time to turn our minds to our next phase of training – being mounted on Final Training Exercise.

With some last minute additions of Tpr ‘Abman’ Abbey and LCpl ‘mini-Pook’ Doyle the troop was buzzing with anticipation for the off and never looked so strong. However, that buzzing sound could well have been LCpl ‘Jackam’ Smiths wobbling head reaching its resonant frequency and vibrating to the tune of his fluttering love-sick heart, as his far-too-lovely German girlfriend carried ALL his kit for him onto the bus which took us to Hannover Airport.

Final Training Exercise The squadron’s final tick to get before Afghanistan was Final Training Exercise – two weeks on Salisbury Plain working mount-

A frustrating start to the tour saw only two of the troop’s vehicles fit to deploy after we took them over due to faults with the 30mm Radon canons. This meant the troop’s first excursion as A typically grotesque day on MST

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1st Troop in the chinook before crashing into it with their tanks weeks later

LCpl Doyle enrols a local

a formed body of men was a couple of weeks into the tour on a two day squadron-level dismounted Clearance and Search operation into the notorious bad-lands of Yakchal. The tension built on the ICOM scanners as the insurgents reported on our progress and the steely anticipation for what lay ahead was obvious by the professionalism and heightened sense of awareness form all members of the troop who were finally putting months of hard training into practise. Finally the ‘Crack- Crack’ initiated a huge sense of relief that the first contact of the tour was underway, and 1st Troop was in the thick of it! LCpl Smith managed to choke out a target indication and our fantastic Territorial Army attachment LCpl ‘Clarky’ Clarke, along with Tpr ‘Turkish’ Richardson, managed to get down the squadron’s first rounds of the tour in the form of a handful of underslung grenade launchers and some 5.56. It was all the Troop Leader could do to stop Cpl ‘Ned’ Kelly trying to storm the position and take on the insurgents single handed with a bayonet between his teeth.

the cover of an irrigation ditch and call in 105mm high explosive through our Danish FOO to suppress the heavy insurgent fire. Incredibly we escaped with only a hole through a daysack of a slightly shaken young Danish signaller. After this incident the size of Sgt Pooks already inflated ego became a constant concern for the Troop Leaders estimate process and how he was going to mitigate the collateral damage it caused.

This set the tone for the rest of the summer months where we operated in equal measures from our CVR(T) and in a dismounted role. The flexibility that this afforded us meant that we were privileged to have a wide variety of tasks and roles which took us all over Nahr-e-Seraj (North) and the surrounding Brigade battle-space. Tpr ‘Tomo’ Thomas took on the responsibility and excelled as the troop’s lead Vallon man out the front of dismounted patrols whilst Cpl Browne led the way as we charged around on our metal steeds which got too hot to touch without gloves on during the mid-summer months. Highlights included some memorable times, too many to mention, but the best are worthy of note here. The squadron, complete in a dismounted role, were lifted by three packed Chinooks into the Upper Gereshk Valley for a two day clearance Operation through uncontested insurgent held territory in support of a battle group level operation, which was a testing task for a nominally mounted squadron. Naturally 1st Troop and the rest of the squadron stepped up to the task admirably. This was all a bit too much excitement for LCpl Doyle who wondered why the insurgents were firing Shmoolies at us as Rocket Propelled Grenades flew over the compound we had settled into for the night. His homesickness also got the better of him which put his pulse rate into a spin, resulting in a Cat ‘A’ MERT casualty evacuation in the middle of the night. He insisted that it was not actually homesickness but that the ECM blue was too much for him to cope with which, come to think of it, is a more likely explanation for his moment of weakness. Another incredible incident was the ambush of the troop whilst on a dismounted partnered patrol into Yakchal. The flanking multiple, commanded by the very capable Sgt Pook, were hit hard by machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenade from multiple firing points and had to fire and manoeuvre back into

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The troop’s favourite tasking was to head north into the Upper Gereshk Valley to support the Company’s of 3 Mercian who were out on a limb and fighting to hold the small combat outposts that they occupied which took the pressure off the baselines defending the District Centre of Gereshk. When arriving out of the desert into their forward operating base locations in the green zone we felt like our forefathers in the Desert Rats arriving as saviours to our overstretched infantry cousins. Very strong relations were formed between us and the Mexicans. We thoroughly enjoyed being with them as we worked very autonomously, getting the CVR(T)’s right into the green zone and intimately supporting their patrols, whilst they were very glad of the protection and whooped with excitement as we fired 30mm over their heads whilst they captured the footage on helmet cams. LCpl Wooderson can claim to be the first man to ever fire in anger the 30mm Radon canon on the new, and extremely good, Scimitar 2. Of course, no article about ‘The Fighting First’ would be complete without reference to the Troop Leader’s ability to drive into large objects. Well, the stories that I have heard floating around about those infamous events are much more entertaining than the reality of things, so who am I to let the truth get in the way of a good story?

LCpl Wooderson making friends with the Afghan National Army

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I look back on the whole spectrum of emotions we endured during our tour and feel privileged to have had such a varied and interesting time. The more I think about it, I feel at times there must have been someone watching over us and how extraordinary it was that the troop and squadron got out without serious injury, so I thank all those who prayed for our safe return. There are no words to describe the honour and privilege it has been to command such a fine troop through such a testing experience and the times we shared will stay with me forever. Well done us! REA

2nd Troop This year is one which will remain etched in the memory of all the members of 2nd Troop for the remainder of their Army careers and probably for the rest of there lives. For the majority of us it was a year which saw most of us embark on our first operational tour and even for those who had been on previous deployments, this particular operation was significantly different to anything experienced before. After months of sometimes extremely useful and sometimes, with hindsight, some worryingly futile exercises from an excruciatingly long Mission Specific Training package, the troop left for Afghanistan. Helmand was no longer just a slightly phallic shaped province in the South of a landlocked Central Asian country on a map, it was real, with real smells, real images and most importantly real bullets. The first month or so was fairly quiet as the troop dipped their toes into the campaign and tried to get used to the sun which was punching out a heat that was new to the majority of the troop, little Jimmy Cliffe’s olive skin did not cope well. Early on people were beginning to worry that the war would not be bringing the promised excitement. That all changed on the

LCpl Jaekel, for once speechless

Cpl Byrdseye doing some vital traffic control

advent of Operation QUIMAT 6; a large squadron operation into the depths of Yakchal, notoriously the most dangerous, lawless area of our area of operations. 2nd Troop’s role was that of fire support, pushing the CVRT further into the Green Zone than ever before. Cpl Ferla led, doing an excellent job of manoeuvring over some horrendous terrain. The troop leader had a minor incident in which his ballistic underpants nearly met their match and led to some pretty uncomfortable moments for the crew. ‘I have a sun burnt face and I’ve cooked in a tin can in 45 degree heat for 48 hours. I drank 15 litres of water today and have not relieved myself once’ Tpr ‘Sicknote’ Court gives his assessment on the Operation. After the squadron had survived numerous small arms, rocket propelled grenade and improvised explosive device contacts the troop’s main problem was keeping the tracks on – at one stage with the sun setting, all 5 vehicles had tracks off which was pretty hairy, however all made it out, even Sgt Foster who managed to bury half his vehicle. The rest of May and June saw numerous exciting operations with the troop conducting a dismounted helicopter insertion into Zumberlay and then deploying up to Rahim in order to give fire support to a 3 Mercian ground holding company who were stretched for manpower and support. Between Tpr ‘Jamboy’ James telling the troop about Nottingham Forest’s European Cup victory in 1980 for the tenth time, endless card games, and Tpr Sid Russell avoiding the advances of amorous Afghan soldiers every Thursday, time flew. Having just returned to main operating base Price Sgt Foster had hardly managed to log in to Facebook before the troop were fired back up North to Kah Nikah to provide support for an operation in which both Cpl Ferla and Tpr Hastilow excelled in their reconnaissance and gunnery skills and the troop, along with 3rd Troop successfully protected the dismounted search operation from at least a section of insurgents.

Not a staged photo at all

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tans ready to impress the ladies of Bergen. Unfortunately this heralded the end of 2 Troop as we knew it and it is with a very heavy heart that the troop walk off in their various directions, brimming with incredible memories of an exceptional year. AJG

3rd Troop 3rd Troop were ready to deploy. It was a frosty German morning and we were all getting onto coaches bound for Brize Norton, from which we’d fly to Afghanistan.

Leading the squadron into enemy territory

Before we even knew it we were on a plane back to the United Kingdom for R n R, having crammed in some last minute tanning and desperately arranged to meet girls over Facebook. The two weeks flew by and the troop returned with stories of debauchery, however Tpr Cassannova Tappin fooled no-one and later admitted to having not even spoken to one female throughout the leave. On returning it was noses immediately back to the grind stone, as the Taliban had feared it would be, and the latter half of July was all about the now famous Sirep 4 which will go down forever in the memories of all involved. A Squadron had now moved 2 troops on a semi-permanent basis to check point Kaly, which sits just North of Safian in Yakchal. This was so that the squadron could have a permanent presence in the area of highest threat to the security of the highway and therefore prevent further attacks. It was an extremely basic existence in the check point, no loos, no showers and given the Afghan National Army’s general regard for hygiene, the smell was at times horrendous. Despite the relatively insalubrious conditions and the intense July heat, attempts were made to make it as comfortable as possible – a paddling pool was built, as well as a BBQ and eventually the place was aptly named Club Tropicana. The rest of July and August was spent bouncing between Price and Club Tropicana where everyone felt we were really beginning to have an effect on the insurgents. Unfortunately an Afghan National Army soldier was shot in a contact, however Cpl Byrd, who was dragged away from traffic duties, 5th Troop and Sgt Foster did an excellent job with the casualty evacuation ensuring the casualty was on a helicopter within 30 minutes of being injured. Numerous patrols and numerous hairy situations ensued, most notably Cpl ‘the Don’ Ferla managed to rip his rear idler off well behind the enemy front line and with very little support other than M20 with Capt G in the gunner’s seat really hoping he would not be required to work out how to fire the tank’s gun. Having seen soldiers struggle for over 5 hours to sort out lost tracks in the cold, comparatively unpressured context of BATUS, it was astounding to see the troop sort out this problem in about 20 minutes faced with the prospect of being shot. I don’t think Tpr James or Tpr Hastilow have ever or ever will move as quickly as they did that morning. After a spectacular F16 show of force, followed by an A10 fly by we managed to drag the stricken vehicle out and crack on with the patrol. This theme continued for the remainder of the month. The rest of the tour flew by with the troop working intermittently with the incredibly relaxed Danish infantry and pushing out endless hours on guard. At least this gave LCpl ‘Jonny’ Jaekel the chance to keep up with his brother’s progress on the X Factor. Before we knew it, it was time to return to Germany with heads held very high, morale very firmly still in tact and some cracking

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On arrival the first thing was to orientate ourselves in Bastion. By all accounts this didn’t go too well after Tpr Hobson got half the troop lost for two hours during a ‘morning jog’. The first week was spent on Reception, Staging and Onward Integration acclimatising and receiving some last minute training confirmation. The training was well conducted and interesting, whilst the acclimatisation style of spending each day in the blazing sun seemed rather extreme. Once Reception, Staging and Onward Integration had been completed we conducted the Hand-over/Take-over from D Squadron Household Cavalry on the vehicles, and loaded them up with more ammunition than I’ve seen in one place before. We then headed out for the first time – the day after a potential suicide bomber had detonated outside our new home – the Kandak. We spent the next week exploring our area of operations with D Squadron Household Cavalry. We saw all types of ground for the first time: the flat open desert, sprawling Gereshk, the green fields of Yakchal, compounds previously used in Noorzai as firing points now destroyed by the District Governor, and Route 611 far to the East with ‘Mount Doom’ rising up above it. We finished the month with our first night sleeping under the stars in a desert box before going out on a joint patrol with the Afghan National Army from check point Spin Majid to speak with the locals. By May, 3rd Troop was really into the swing of things. Living out of the 2 Kandak Headquarters we were given the task of partnering with the Afghan National Army. This would prove especially hard work because as well as our planned patrols we acted as a QRF for the Afghan National Army, reacting at any time to things such as far away check point’s losing comms or improvised explosive device finds and Afghan National Army being shot at by Insurgents. We would also conduct framework patrols with the Afghan National Army. May finished with a Heli-Operation into an Insurgent strong hold. We were to go to two villages – Zumbalay and Bam Kalay (named after a large bomb the Russians had dropped there). The

3rd Troop A Squadron

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hard in the gym hoping to make themselves look more like ‘The Rock’ than when we first arrived. As we hit June the weather became a lot hotter, hitting the mid 50’s, which, as Tpr Gorbutt found, was distressingly hot enough to melt Haribo into a gloopy ball that sits in the corner of the packet. The heat proved very uncomfortable at times, but the upside was that it made the solar showers more refreshing than ever.

An all too familiar sight

helicopter taking off before us came under rocket propelled grenade attack – a great time to be on the next helicopter. We landed in fields before advancing onto a village where Tpr Chapon and a certain donkey were to become good friends! We were out for two days trying to find Insurgents’ weapons and show the population that we could reach these areas. It was here we encountered one of our first snapshot into the conflict prone culture of the Afghans – watching a man flood his neighbours fields purely out of spite. On the final day a grenade was thrown over a compound wall at one call sign (after pigeons had been used to signal where they were), and we came under rocket propelled grenade and Small Arms contact. We caught one of the gunmen, who had photos of himself on his phone firing his weapon at the time of the contact. Unfortunately the Afghan National Army decided they would like to own a picture phone, so they decided to keep it instead of hand it over as evidence. After a busy first part of the tour, the troop began its first stint on guard. This was welcomed after a very busy patrol schedule during the end of April and May, although unfortunately this did mean we had to remain in 2 Kandak Headquarters in Gereshk (famous for its hot 20 man rooms, 10 man ration packs, and regularly being woken by call to prayer) rather than being in Mobile Operating Base PRICE (aka Mobile Operating Base NICE, famous for air conditioned tents, a cookhouse serving food better than that would be expected in Germany, and the coffee serving Christians at the Kuffen). However time spent at the Kandak did have its advantages. An estate agent would say the ‘central city location’ was a must, but to us it was other things which gave it Gap Year Hostelesque charm. Co-ax the dog remains the healthiest and happiest dog in Afghanistan, thanks to regular feeding and watering. ‘Temple building’ is a favourite pass-time for most. Our metro-sexual Troop Sergeant, Sergeant Casey, worked hard on his tan, mean while many a young trooper such as Tpr Chapon, Tpr Fearon and Tpr Gorbutt work

Mid-June saw Operation TUFAAN BAQY: 3rd Troop deploy for 5 days to an area where ISAF and the Afghan National Army have little to no influence (or as the infamous Plymouth Herald reported, ‘a major ISAF and Afghan National Army operation in a Taliban heartland’!). The aim was to build relationships with the locals over the time in order to gain their trust, some decent intelligence, and persuade them to reject any Taliban influence. Conditions were hard – on a hill in the beating sunning, sand storms, and with scorpions and camel spiders as hosts. Our Afghan National Army partners didn’t make things easier either by finishing all their rations in just 2 days. But the effort proved well worth it as the aims were achieved. Operation TUFAAN PYALA, or ‘The battle for Murder Wall’ as we like to call it saw the troop deploy to Forward Operating Base Khar Nikah in the Upper Gereshk Valley. This involved pushing into Insurgent depth along with our Infantry brethren in order to destroy a number of enemy bunkers regularly used by the enemy to cause friendly casualties. The day saw some heavy fighting, notably between Cpl Ferla’s wagon and some Rocket Propelled Grenade men. The cheek of the insurgents included trying to flood the fields our vehicles were in, but this was stopped with escalation including warning shots. The day finished with an extremely well executed casualty evacuation by Sergeant Casey of an infantryman who had stepped on an improvised explosive device, with a route cleared by Cpl Mawby, and a second casualty evacuation of an infantryman with a sprained ankle. The month finished with Eagle Eyed Corporal Mawby’s second improvised explosive device find of the tour. Laid on the side of the road, if Corporal Mawby had not spotted it, then minutes down the line it would have undoubtedly caused Afghan National Army casualties. With July came a new task for the troop. The VICC militia lead by ‘crazy Carl’ on Route 611 (the road between Route 1 and Sangin) were about to leave as they were no longer being paid to protect the road. As we were going to take over the area after them we needed to know all the information that they had on the area, any firing points, points of interest, etc. Over the tour, the troop would get to know the milita, Route 611, and of course Carl’s hospitality, very well. Operation TUFAN QIMAT 7 saw 3rd Troop deploy further into Rahim than ISAF had been. It was before the operation we met

A scimitar ruins someone’s day

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the late Abdul Wali – the deputy chief of local police and passionate hater of the Taliban who introduced his arrival with an AK-47 magazine let off over the wall of the check point we were in. At 0315hours we made our move out into the green zone in the cover of darkness. As the Chinooks flew in we watched enemy tracer disappear into the night’s sky. Moving into position our lead call sign got stuck, and was slowly slipping into the wadi to their flank, but our Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers moved quickly in and with skilful work from Corporal Tennant and Corporal Plastow Mustang 30 was able to pull them out. Once in position we heard over ICOM that the Taliban were moving into position to attack the tanks and to bring more men and weapons. As usual we saw the locals moving out of the area. Despite all the signs, and constant chat of attack over the ICOM, the Insurgents never got passed us, allowing the infantry to search compounds in peace. Just as we were about to move back our position was hit by machine gun fire fire but some well placed SA80 and sharpshooter rounds and we were quickly back on top again, and by afternoon, thanks to some fantastic laying of struts across Wadis by Tpr Watling, we were on our way back. With the days activities in the back of our minds, it was our well earned coming R & R in the front of our minds. September and return from R and R saw the arrival of the eagerly awaited Scimitar 2, though there were some sad faces as the trusty steeds that everyone had worked so hard to keep in fighting order were seen trundling off into the sunset, especially as MUSTANG 30 which had started its career on the battle fields of the Falklands War. The troop was also handed over from Lt Minards to 2LT Wythe. With new vehicles and a new Troop Leader, it was off to check point Kaly to operate back on Rte 611 and Yakchal. The new vehicles proved very reliable and there were no more horrible stories on striping the vehicle and putting it back together until four or five in the morning to LCpl Ellerby and LCpl Murphy’s relief! We were sad to see LCpl Beams leave theatre however we welcomed another familiar face to the troop in the name of LCpl Jones, who bolstered the JNCO’s in the troop further. As we hit October we knew the end was in sight. More and more fresh faces were moving around Main Operating Base Price including a number of Welsh accents! However there was no room for complacency as work was continuing at a hectic pace. Route 611 security was taking priority, with a new Tolay replacing the heavy weapons Tolay the troop was used to working with. This lead to a whole host of formalities and pleasantries exchanged. The requests for mini flares and anything else the Afghan National Army thought they might want didn’t stop though. Unfortunately Tpr Chapon and Tpr Burrow’s favourite ‘jiggy jiggy’ man was still in check point Kalay. The noisy well had received


some attention and didn’t squeak quite so loud but the Afghan National Army would still visit at a constant rate all night. Finally, our last patrol was complete and all that was to be done was to drive back to PRICE. It didn’t turn out to be so simple though – a cordon around an improvised explosive device, which was subsequently contacted and fire returned. The contact was broken and the improvised explosive device was destroyed with a controlled explosion. It was time for Mustang 30 to return to Main Operating Base Price for the last time. 5th November 2011 and we were taking off, leaving Afghanistan for home having handed over to the friendly Welshmen of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards. Had we made a difference? Had we achieved what we wanted? Many of the questions we ask are worthy of long discussion, but two things were for certain – 3rd Troop could be proud of the way they had conducted themselves for 7 months, and we could be proud of how each other had come on since we had first formed on a sunny September morning in 2010, as individuals and as a troop. EJM

4th Troop This last year has been an exciting and challenging one for 4th troop. Pre-deployment training and a summer tour in Afghanistan has meant long periods away from home, and while loved ones were sorely missed the time spent together this year has forged a strong bond among this band of brothers. After a fragmented pre-deployment training, with several troop members being away on courses, the full troop finally came to-

Some little boys never grow up Troop leader upgrade

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our first heat casualty of the tour alongside an Afghan National Army Rocket Propelled Grenade gunner who had a rough lesson in muzzle clearance. The first half of the tour saw several close shaves for the troop, however try as they might the insurgents couldn’t get the better of 4th Troop’s razor sharp and adaptive drills, professionalism and cool composure under contact. For us the worst was a few ringing ears, scratches and stories to tell, and even an old soviet grenade fly off leaver for LCpl Aris!

Too hot for hair

gether in our final weeks in Germany for a final shake out exercise and to make last minute preparations for deployment. Of the troop only Sgt Simpson had previous experience in Afghanistan, and that was on a very different tour to what we were about to embark on, so while spirits were high we were anxiously excited about what was awaiting us a short plane ride away. Deployment, Reception, Staging and Onward Integration and the Relief in Place (RIP) with D Squadron Household Cavalry went with only the minor hitch of Tpr Sloane picking up an injury, and while he recovered in Bastion it wasn’t long before the troop were on the ground getting stuck in. The first few months of tour were a series of rotations through guard duties at our camp in Gereshk, and partnered patrols with the Afghan National Army of 2 Kandak, which gave us the opportunity to travel across our area of operations, which was a combination of urban areas, green zone and desert. The highlights of the first few months were a few dismounted operations in Zumberlay in the Upper Gereshk Valley and in Yakchal, which saw us dropped in by helicopter, to insurgent held areas of the Green Zone. The odd Taliban round our way aside, the main enemy was the heat as most the troop were yet to acclimatise and with the weight we were carrying it wasn’t long before we had to casualty evacuation

Midway through the tour saw several changes in the troop, firstly for troop leaders, as Lt Locke’s time in command of this illustrious few had come to an end and was moving on to the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster to shape and mould the next generation of crew commanders and troop leaders, we wish him the best of luck, before long Cpl Lee will be on his crew commanders once again keeping a steady eye on Capt Locke!. Lt Groome arrived to fill his shoes and eager to get out on the ground after several weeks cooped up in the Ops room. Sadly Tpr Green had to depart theatre early on compassionate grounds, and he was sorely missed for his dry humour and professional conduct, but most of all for his ‘go big or go home’ motivational gym policy which regularly saw most of the troop in the gym on a quiet night in conducting Operation MASSIVE! Perhaps the most difficult month of the tour was August, which saw a multitude of factors converging to ensure 4th Troop had to dig deep to see it through. It was the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan which, due to fasting saw a particularly lack lustre Afghan National Army who became increasingly petulant and difficult to get out of the gate! Also being the last troop to have R&R it was fast approaching 4 and a half months since we last saw loved ones and morale reserves were being stretched. The CVR(T) troops were also temporarily out of action as they headed up to Bastion to collect their shiny new Scimitar 2s, this meant that 4th Troop with a little help from 5th were covering the task of a whole squadron! So we had plenty to get stuck into, patrolling a vital supply route between the highway and the town of Sangin in the north. This saw interaction with a local militia force (and their commander quickly nicknamed “Crazy Carl”) who were tasked with guarding the construction company who built the road. During these patrols we had the pleasure of USMC ANGLICO (United States Marine Corps Air Naval and Guns Liaison Company) teams attached to us, and they provided entertainment in camp with their fascination of British ‘ladmags’ and some serious fire support if needed out on the ground. It wasn’t long before a well deserved and needed R&R had crept up on us, and we were back to Bastion and on to Germany

Route 611 safari

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and England to see families, friends and significant others for a couple of weeks, where I’m assured that all members of the troop behaved with the same professionalism and maturity that they showed in Afghanistan! Having R&R late in the game was tough, however it meant that upon return to Mobile Operating Base Price it was a mere six weeks until out end of tour date, and already the Queen’s Dragoon Guards who would be replacing us were beginning to filter into theatre, and the squadron were approaching the home straight. Our tasking after R&R saw plenty of night time activity and the hunting of an insurgent improvised explosive device team with an electronic warfare team attached to us for a few weeks, until the Relief in Place itself began and we had to once again spread ourselves thinly with 5th Troop while the CVR-(T)s were being handed over in Bastion. Naturally during this disruptive time, a task directly from regional command south west, landed in the squadrons lap, and saw the Jackal troops TACOM (tactically commanded) to a new battlegroup for our last week on the ground, while we ensured the hand over of the Route 611 security to Afghan police forces. So with a frantic and busy final week on the ground behind us we heaved a sigh of relief as we drove into the setting sun en route to Bastion! Job well done 4th Troop! NWG


National Army headquarters in Gereshk. We loaded our kit, scrambled on to the vehicles and then it dawned: how on earth were we supposed to get out of Camp Bastion? Bastion is huge and getting bigger by the day, a hobby it seems for bored Royal Engineers with access to bulldozers. A few wrong turns later and we finally broke out of Bastion into the Mad Max wasteland of dust and truckers that marks the route to the road, Afghanistan’s illustrious Highway 1. This though led neatly on to the second challenge of the day. The directions to the HQ according to D Squadron were to ‘leave Bastion, turn right, drive into Gereshk and it is on the right by the barbed wire. If you go over a canal you’ve gone too far.’ Fortunately we had a navigator in the form of Sgt Hallas, who, having been flown forward and spent a couple of days on the ground with our predecessors was already something of grizzled veteran as far as we were concerned.

5th Troop

For the first few weeks, 5th Troop’s tasks were extremely varied, and ranged from patrolling the deserts and supporting the militia forces of the road to Sangin (Route 611), to escorting an American civil servant as she investigated the odd demographics of a village just south of the Helmand River. Operation TUFAAN QIMAT 6 was our first serious dismounted foot patrol and was by far in a way the biggest eye opener of the whole tour. The oppressive heat was felt by all but most keenly by the troop’s biggest load carriers, Tpr Brougham and LCpl Carpenter, who both decided that walking was a mug’s game so caught a lift on a helicopter instead.

The first challenge of Operation HERRICK 14 to present itself to 5th Troop was, given all the hype and build of pre-deployment training, rather banal. After we had picked up our Jackal armoured vehicles from a somewhat relieved and disconcertingly bronzed D Squadron Household Cavalry we were rapidly instructed to join the squadron for an orders group in an Afghan

5th Troop drew the short straw as far as mid tour leave dates were concerned receiving as we did the first slot in early June. The benefit of this was that we could reflect on the experiences and lessons learnt of the previous few weeks, and then return to theatre with a new understanding, effectively starting the tour again but for real this time. On no account however did this

LCpl Hancock on patrol in Yakchal

5th Troop hire some militia

Cpl King and Tpr ColemanHughes engage in some extreme sunbathing

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small conceptual advantage out weigh the fact that for our mid tour leave, when a young soldier is supposed to be at the peak of their social abilities, we were more or less just as portly, pasty and poor as we had been in April. Perhaps the most memorable period, and certainly that which took up most of our time for the bulk of tour, was our spell enjoying the hospitality of 2 Kandak’s most salubrious guesthouse: check point Kalay. Situated on the northern edge of a Taliban leaning village, Kalay was one of five checkpoints manned by a surprisingly small group of Afghan soldiers. Here 5th Troop effectively split in to two with one section being commanded by the Troop Leader and Cpl King, and the other by Sgt Hallas and Cpl Miles. Living with the Afghan National Army was a trying experience, particularly during Ramadan when they often acted even more weirdly than the extraordinary behaviour we were slowly getting used to. A particular favourite was to wake up at four in the morning to gunfire only to find that Afghan sentries were alleviating their boredom by taking pot shots at passing dogs. Fortunately we did not have to share this burden alone and along the way shared the delights of Kalay with the Danes, US Marines, the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and for a short while the Daily Mirror. 5th Troop had its fair share of fighting and thoroughly ‘enjoyed’ its role as the squadron’s bait, usually with 2nd Troop in the mix somewhere driving us forward. Tpr Coleman-Hughes whose main purpose up until this point was to source Pop Tarts from the US Marines turned out to be remarkably speedy over 100m when delivering a stretcher to an injured Afghan under fire. Cpl King used an impressively accurate grenade launcher round to prove that he actually could shoot and didn’t have a sniper rifle just because it looked cool, and Cpl Miles positively annihilated the record for most hot brews consumed in a conflict zone. 5th Troop’s experience of Afghanistan was special indeed, even if only the variety of tasks undertaken is considered. We were engaged in desert reconnaissance and over watch tasks, human terrain analysis, convoys escorts and vehicle check points. We lived with, trained, mentored, patrolled and fought with a company of Afghan soldiers, both mounted and on foot. We worked with and used artillery, fast jets and attack helicopters, alongside Danes, Americans and the Scots. After all that and with over five months between the end of mid tour leave and finally flying out we were thoroughly exhausted and glad to get home. FHTD

Admin Troop After a well earned Christmas break and Happy New Year, the SQMS formed up Administration Troop at Tigers Road Territorial Army Centre in Leicester. The stalwarts of the troop, SQMS SSgt Joe Cassidy, LCpl Dave Bloom and Tprs Charlie Cocayne, Matty Matulewicz, Brent Viverios and Sam Smeddley welcomed the new comers, Sgt Zeb Hopper, Cpl Dave Paine and Tprs’ Dickie Dunning and Yam Yam Bowerman to the fold. After a brief hello, we were on the road yet again, making our way to STANTA Training area, it was here that pre-deployment training really kicked in, with confirmatory final exercise rolling into a squadron exercise on Salisbury Plain and then strait on to final training exercise , once again on Salisbury Plain. After endex on Salisbury Plain the squadron returned to Germany. The SQMS Carnival parade made their way home across the continent via Harwich to Hook of Holland on the party boat. No sooner than we had returned back to Germany the SQMS was getting ready to MCCP and deployed out to Afghanistan for a handover with the Household Cavalry and the Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration package. He was soon joined by some rather pale faces of the SQMS department, Q making the most of his early start on his tan! The first part of the tour was full on, taking over all the equipment, allocating bed spaces for everyone whilst they were going through Reception Onward Staging and Integration and setting up camp. There was an immediate power struggle between the old timer of the SQMS department, LCpl Bloom and the new face of the department, Sgt Hopper. This was resolved with Dave Bloom only exploding on occasions. Once the squadron had completed Reception Onward Staging and Integration and we had managed to get the troops deployed to their permanent forward operating bases and patrol bases, life for Administration troop became a daily routine of stores checks, Armoury checks and improving the FR squadron camp where we were based. This involved Q finding certain welfare items, which might or might not have fallen off the back of a passing lorry to enhance the facilities in the Welfare tent, somehow also managing to obtain a running machine for his own tent, as well as surround sound and all the latest gadgets.

You are now entering Q-man’s territory. Stand by

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This saw the return of an old member of the troop, Cpl Dave Horne who was adamant he would never have to work alongside Q again. He brought along with him fresh meat in the form of Cpl Chevvy Chase, LCpl Andy Heighton and Tpr Mountly, who had not had the pleasure of working with the SQMS previously, though he had heard all about his work ethics... and he was not disappointed! The majority of the work at this stage was the closing down of accounts and handing over to the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, whilst still continuing the unwavering support to the squadron. The return back to Germany after the tour saw a limited amount of leave before the Restoration Parades began. This meant the troop was at last integrated completely within the squadron. The parades were a great success and the troops were very proud to be marching through their home towns and grateful for the support given to them by their families and members of the public. This was followed by a week back in Germany for the festive season week, in which we also partook in our medals parade, each member of the squadron being awarded their Afghanistan Medal by HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York.

Cpl Payne can not contain his excitement

One too many outbursts from LCpl Bloom saw the SQMS making haste to Gereshk to visit his troops on the ground. First stop was the Kandak to see Cpl Dave Payne and Tpr Dickie Dunning who were roughing it, ensuring that squadron headquarters and a small portion of the squadron there were getting that warm cosy loving feeling by being administrated to the best of their abilities. Their days were spent tending to kittens, trying to prevent daily theft of kit by the Afghan National Army and burning pooh!! Sgt Zeb Hopper, Tprs’ Cocayne and Sam Smedley were settled in well at Main Operating Base Price with the majority of the squadron. The Tprs got to spend the majority of their time in the Gym and down at the Welfare Village lapping up the Danish hospitality, whilst Zeb liked to while away the hours in his cot or working out in the internet booth. An Equipment Care Inspection during the tour made up the main effort of the work for a few weeks. LCpl Bloom doing the work of at least 7 Sergeants (didn’t we hear about it?) Yam Yam the Kerosene Man, worked well out of his comfort zone with the ECM equipment. Cpl (during the war) Dave Paine showed us how they did it in his day, by grafting like ten men and assisting Sgt Hopper in Forward Operating Base PRICE, with the remainder of the troop running around like men processed to ensure the troop received a Green grade, and avoiding getting caught up in a lengthy conversation with LCpl Bloom about Canada, Ice Hockey and how he should be getting pay of a higher rank! By the way Dave, how is Greg Rusedski (or is it Wayne Gretzky)? All joking aside, the SQMS department spent the tour working hard to ensure the squadron was well administrated throughout the deployment whilst they were out on the ground, and received a warm welcome from the department when they made their way back to Camp Bastion for a few days light reprieve. We said goodbye to our territorial army counterparts during the last month of the tour, due to defence cuts! A few members of the team were a bit happier to be leaving then the others. All of who will forever be remembered fondly as short tourers (Spelks!)

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At long last, after what has truly been a busy, challenging and enlightening year for the troop, we were able to take some well earned leave with our families and enjoy a restful Christmas and New Year. This was after of course, a sad farewell to our illustrious leader SQMS SSgt Joe Cassidy, who is moving on to SSM HQ Squadron with his faithful companion Buddy the Jack Russell, who is to be replaced by SSgt Jim Knowles Also to the Squadron Leader and his side kick Second in Command Capt Tom Gooch, who are both moving back to the United Kingdom on postings. All that remains to be said is a fond thank you to all the members of the troop who have all worked extremely hard, for long hours and in uncomfortable environments to ensure that the aims of the troop have always been met. This extends to their families who have put up with the guys working rather unsociable hours between the deployments, but have still shown them great support. I wish you all the best luck for the future. JC

Return from Operations Having worked tirelessly to handover both our equipment and our area of responsibility to the Queen’s Dragoon Guards we recovered the squadron back to Hohne in good order, to a man we were delighted to be enduring the RAF’s fascist regime at the airhead in Camp BASTION for the last time. Returning to Hohne and being reunited with our families and friends was an emotional experience and credit must be given to the Welfare team for making it so memorable. We all felt humbled by the vast numbers that turned out, despite our arriving in the wee hours of the morning after enduring numerous delays courtesy of our airborne brethren. Thankfully the Adjutant Generals Corps detachment were well rehearsed and following a slick reverse MCCP process followed by a can of beer and a bacon sandwich we were finally released for a little bit of leave be that here in Hohne or back in the United Kingdom. It would be brief however, as we would soon be massing in the Midlands for our homecoming parades in the Regiment’s recruiting heartland. Operation RESTORATION We were the largest squadron in the Regiment to deploy to Afghanistan, consequently A Squadron made up the vast majority of the marching squads for our homecoming parades, despite only having been back in United Kingdom for a couple of weeks almost 90% of the squadron were involved. We were to stay at

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RAF Wittering where there is plenty of accommodation following the removal of its Harrier squadron and having arrived we were quickly allocated some pretty comfortable accommodation and a bite to eat, both in keeping with the outstanding hospitality we would be afforded for the coming week. Later that day and without delay I paraded the squad for the first of numerous drill rehearsals, a good number of the blokes had never marched with lances before and these drill sessions became lengthy and cold as a result; but, we were adamant that we would put on a good show and to their credit the squad never complained, even when the officers joined in and in time honoured tradition messed it up. Derby, where we hold the Freedom of the city was obviously significant and Leicester, where we were due to receive the same honour took precedence; that said, regardless of location, we were genuinely caught unawares by the extraordinary reception we received. From Northampton through Derby, Leicester and finally in Chesterfield the rapturous and unconcealed outpouring of gratitude from our nearest and dearest and the general public alike was heart-warming. I vividly recall glancing in a shop window eager to check the squad’s dressing in its reflection and seeing faces filled with pride, disbelief and gratitude. You will struggle to find a man who does not count that experience as a highlight in their career. At the culmination of the parades we put in an appearance at Leicester City’s ‘Walkers stadium’ in front of 25,000 fans, again the reception was awesome and it was with a smile that we mounted the coaches for the return journey to Hohne. Christmas week awaited us and beyond that a decent and much anticipated chunk of leave. Commanding Officer’s awards A reflection of the tour, the squadron does well this year with the following receiving awards from the Commanding Officer for their performance in Afghanistan: Sgt Casey Cpl Ferla Cpl King Tpr Coleman Hughes

Sgt Lewis genuinely happy to finish his final tour

As the year drew to a close and the men of A Squadron prepared for some well deserved leave there was a palpable feeling that we have done a good job accompanied with a sense of sadness that the new order of battle in 2012 will see the team fractured, however, as I prepare to move over to RHQ as Regimental Sergeant Major I do so with a comfortable feeling in my stomach, I know that A Squadron has the people and the determination to continue to excel. Here’s to the future. LAB

The long awaited handover

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B Squadron (Kandak advisory training team) – Operation HERRICK 14 B Squadron’s task of mentoring the Afghan National Army in Afghanistan was never going to be easy. Those who came before us had tales of fire-fights, explosions, injuries, love, hate, boredom and chaos; those who returned from Operation HERRICK 14 had very similar memories and stories to tell. We were collectively to become a Kandak advisory training team – call sign ‘Adviser 60’. The squadron was divided up into a small HQ element of 8 men, and 5 x Tolay Advisory Training teams (TATTs) of two men mentoring teams, with the exception of the 5 man team in Patrol Base Wahid, all embedded with infantry companies throughout our Area of Operations. During pre-deployment training the squadron was lovingly known as Dad’s Army, our average age bumped up significantly with the experienced shoulders of a group of WO2s, SSgts and Sgts. These experienced men thought they had done it all but now they had another bite at the cherry; they could not believe their luck. Alongside our father figures were the young gunslingers; a group of hungry, driven, fit individuals. The age gap was obvious, the banter gap even more so but we came to love the grumbling, gum bumping, OCD and lassitude of our wise old guides. And they in turn did a great job of mostly keeping the young bloods on the right track, ensuring their admin was sorted out and generally picking up the pieces!

Adv60, squadron headquarters (with Adv 65 and atts), Maj Coombes, WO2 Swain, Capt Sutton, LCpl Marshall and Cpl Matai. Based in Patrol Base 2 with 1 Rifles battle group HQ

gency go and so it had become a battleground for the Taliban, key terrain between the developed towns of Lashkar Gar and Gereshk. The population were rife to support insurgency, very poor, opium poppy dependent, easily swayed, and with nothing to lose. The ISAF soldiers forming the partnership with 6th Kandak were initially 2 PARA when we deployed and then nearly 2 months into our tour they were replaced with 1 RIFLES who in turn had a Company from 42 Commando under command. Both units provided outstanding support to B Squadron and we enjoyed equal measures of banter and professional soldiering with

Each team was mentoring a Company or Tolay from 6th Kandak, 312 Brigade, embedded deep in Nar-E-Saraj (South), (Nahr-eSaraj(S)), Helmand Province. The Kandak had a shadowy past with previous incidences of attacking friendly troops; drug use, poor leadership and an even poorer supply chain. To compound this, the Nahr-e-Saraj(S) area of operations was and is still recognised as one of the most kinetic and dangerous areas within Helmand. Where other areas separated by small geographical distance were relatively benign and fast approaching the right to claim ‘Transition’ the Nahr-e-Saraj(S) area of operations was entrenched in fierce combat against a determined and pro-active enemy who were vying for control of local governance and freedom of movement. This area had been a focus for British forces since Operation PANTHERS CLAW which initially cleared the area and the consolidation of British Forces into central Helmand Adv61, Capt Duffield, WO2 Galley (with Lt Fisher). in 2010. Where ISAF go the insur-

Based in Patrol Base 4 with A Company, 1 RIFLES

Advisor 60

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Adv62, Capt Foot-Tapping, SSgt Kaminski, Capt Luke. Based in Patrol Base Nahidullah with 4 Scots

Adv63, Capt Ticker, WO2 Saul, Tpr Gillborn, LCpl Morris. Based in Patrol Base Wahid with The Estonian Army

both. The 1 RIFLES battle group had been tasked to defend, secure and develop the area and B Squadron Kandak advisory training team was seen as the grease between the wheels of the Afghan National Army and their partners, the British Ground Holding Forces. What this meant in reality was that we were the guys who trained, fought with, advised, mentored and lived with the Afghan National Army soldiers. With a focus on the need to ensure joint operations with the Afghan National Army we also had our work cut out. Every patrol had to be partnered and every operation had to be jointly planned and partnered which meant that the 18 man Kandak advisory training team had to keep up with the 800 strong battle group!

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Adv65, Lt Fisher, WO2 Broadhurst. Based in Patrol Base 2 with C Company 1 RIFLES

In 6 months of Operation HERRICK 14 the B Squadron Kandak advisory training team completed over 500 patrols in the green zone and endured over 70 small arms contacts, 35 Improvised Explosive Device finds or incidents and countless close calls with enemy underslung grenade launcher fire, grenades, rocket propelled grenades and the odd stray Afghan round! Sadly we also suffered 2 very serious injuries to members of the team as well as 6 fatalities to our Afghan colleagues. Some sobering statistics that highlight the immense pressure and dedication to work that the small squadron displayed. It is very justified to claim that results were far in excess of expectation given both our size and the raw product we had to work with. That said the Afghan National Army are developing and whilst we would be the first to acknowledge that they have their

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Adv64, Capt Horsfall, SSgt Swain and Sgt Hopkins. Based in Patrol Base 5 with K Compnay, 42 Commando RM, part of 1 RIFLES battle group

limitations there is a clear field of improvement in their day to day soldiering that bodes well for the future. One of the highlights of the tour was Operation OMID HAFT that sought to clear the last enemy held territory in our northern area. This operation was to be the largest joint venture between the Afghan National Army and ISAF to date with 6th Kandak very much at the forefront of both the planning and the execution of the operation. The levels of detailed planning, friction, confusion in translation and general hair pulling that went into the operation nearly put several of us in early graves. The Afghan National Army tendency to rely on ‘inshallah’ or ‘it will be alright on the night’ goes something at odds with our approach to detailed planning and a constant review of the plan. As such we spent a vast amount of time planning for both camps so much so that on the night of the operation the Afghan National Army commander, Col Sboor, was amazed that we had enough helicopters – a fact he delighted in telling Officer Commanding B Squadron as though he had planned it all along! Operation OMID HAFT was a resounding success in so many ways, demonstrating a true thread of partnership through Afghan National Army and ISAf military operations, clearing the area of the deeply entrenched enemy, opening up a northern supply route and demonstrating to the people that we were serious about being there for them. Sadly for B Squadron the operation came at considerable cost. It was during Operation OMID HAFT that the team was dealt a devastating blow with the serious injuries of SSgt Swain, brother of B Squadron SSM Swain, and Tpr Gillborn. During a clearance patrol as part of the operation SSgt Swain noticed that one of the Afghan interpreters was about to step out of the cleared safe lane and as he went to grab him to pull him back the interpreter triggered an improvised explosive device. He was killed outright and caught in the blast, Paul Swain lost his arm and sustained severe injuries across the rest of his body and legs. A few weeks later on another routine patrol near the insurgent hotspot of Loy Mandeh Kalay, Tpr Gillborn initiated another improvised explosive device that only partially detonated. However, even only a partial detonation the blast was enough to cause irrevocable injuries to his lower leg

Capt Horsfall and Lt Fisher just off the ground after Operation Kapcha Kandak 2

Capt Foot-Tapping giving his Afghan National Army Partner a steer

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Capt Horsfall in contact just minutes after stepping out of a check point

Capt Luke, his weapon, his helmet, and his daysack; not forgetting his hair

Maj Coombes talks to the Kandak XO about God’s Country, shotguns and which point to points he cannot afford to miss this winter

Capt Horsfall, for once not the shortest man around and about to step out of Fort Rostrum with his ‘besios’.

LCpl Marshall bagging the coolest photo of the tour

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Maj Coombes holds court during a Kandak advisory training team debrief in Patrol Base 2


The Swain brothers on Operation OMID HAFT. This photo taken hours before SSgt Swain was injured in an improvised explosive device blast.

that it was subsequently amputated in the hospital. It was a dark couple of weeks for everyone in the squadron but fortitude and friendship got the team through. Sgt Hopkins volunteered to be rapidly re-deployed (he had run the Reception, Strategy and Onwards Integration package in Bastion for 12 weeks early on in the tour) to replace SSgt Swain, leaving his wife and daughter for the second time in three months, humbling actions in the face of an injured colleague. He would be catapulted forward into the depths of Green Zone, Patrol Base 5; this was much to the delight of Capt Horsfall, a lone cavalryman going feral in a Royal Marines Patrol Base. Sgt Hopkins backed up all the great work that had been done by Paul Swain and together the two ‘Bootneck Cavalry’ brought a glimmer of style and flair into what would otherwise surely have descended into a savage brawl in and around Haji Rostrum Kalay and Rahim Kalay. Adv64 created a great bond between their Royal Marine counterparts and 4th Tolay. They fought side by side with the Royal Marines in deep green zone right in the centre of Nahr-E-Saraj and not only gained the respect of a bunch of ‘booties’ but also their Afghan comrades.

Capt Horsfall

LCpl Morris was brought forward to replace Tpr Gillborn in Patrol Base Wahid. The ‘ferality’ of Patrol Base 5 barely noticeable next to Capt Ticker, or ‘Jambarai’ as he was known to the Afghan National Army. Capt Tickner, WO2 Saul and their merry men did fantastic work, also at the ‘coal face’ in Loy Mandah Kalay. There is no doubt that what Adv63 did in the north aided the effort considerably. This small team found over 20 improvised explosive devices alone and were involved in some savage fire-fights as the enemy tried to wrest control of the town from the ISAF troops. Adv 60 held the fort with two battle group Headquarters in Patrol Base 2, one Afghan and one British. This led to many sleepless nights for the Officer Commanding, Maj Coombes and a great deal of hard work building and maintaining relationships, dealing with the frustrations and heartache of the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ scenario that was a daily grind with the Afghan National Army. LCpl Marshall and Cpl Matai knew Rte Trident, the main road through Nahr-e-Saraj(S), like the back of their hands by the end of the tour and alongside our Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Squadon 2IC Capt Sutton, Equipment Care was a piece of cake. SSM Swain also developed a special relationship with the Afghan Regimental Sergeant Major who he was mentoring, they could often be found in the gym, Mr Swain giving the slightly tubby Afghan some pointers. All of this not withstanding the scraps that they managed to get themselves into throughout the tour. Also based in Patrol Base 2, Adv65, Lt Fisher and WO2 Broadhurst had to deal with the Officer Commanding’s morning moods, wag bag rationing and a developing but still punchy area of operation that

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SSM Swain with Lt Fisher on top cover

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Capt Duffield

WO2 ‘Kim’ Kaminski

Capt Tickner and Major Coombes

became more and more kinetic throughout the tour. There were a few close calls for the advisors with one particular patrol where a booby trapped improvised explosive device initiated just behind them, the blast bowling them over but luckily another partial detonation that caused more of a firework effect than actual damage. Had it gone off properly the story could have been so very different but as it was they were all ok if not a little shaken!

In sum the tour was hard but rewarding for B Squadron and there is no doubt that we all came away from it enlightened in so many different aspects of military activity. Every day brought frustration, tears, triumph, adversity, hardship and achievement. All in all it was a remarkable time that I’m sure none of us will forget any time soon. We had come a long way from the waist deep snow of our training in Otterburn but it had been worthwhile. A date that had loomed over us all tour eventually arrived at the beginning of October when our replacements from 2 RIFLES arrived for a much anticipated hand over. With introductions made, accounts signed over and fond farewells to some close friends we started the long trek home via Camp Bastion, Cyprus, Hannover and then home for a well earned break.

Adv61 Capt Duffield and WO2 Galley were based in the centre of the area of operations, they like Adv64, had a reasonably small area of operations but with lots going on; the frustrations and monotony of patrolling familiar ground broken by flashes of chaos and danger. Again they achieved a great deal and built up foundations for the incoming 2 Rifles Advisors in Oct. Adv62, Capt Foot-Tapping (who took over as Squadron Second in Command from Capt Sutton in August), SSgt Kaminski and Capt Luke were based on our western flank with 4 SCOTS battle group. They were faced with their own set of challenges being on the extremity of the area and the only defence on the route into Lashkar Gah. This changed towards the end of the tour when their Afghan Tolay was moved complete to the other end of the area of operations, akin to a mini arms plot on steroids the 2 advisers having to manage an entire Tolay move with almost no warning and very little help – not least of all from the Afghan National Army who it seems were determined that they could fit all their worldly possessions into two battered old trucks! A classic scene of chaos and humour amongst the other world dangers of the North-e-Saraj area of operations. Throughout all of this the ever reliant SSgt Tel Coles was our man in the rear in Bastion who kept the bombs and the bullets, as well as the cam cream, foot powder and all manner of other useful items coming forward.

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Post leave we gathered for Operation RESTORATION which was another great experience and so very humbling in the face of overwhelming public support. This is well documented elsewhere in the journal but suffice to say the whole thing was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyed by B Squadron. At the time of writing the squadron has gone through a significant change with an uplift of 62 officers and soldiers forming the wheeled squadron of the Regiment. In time this squadron will evolve into the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, providing a dynamic mounted and dismounted sub-unit able to provide the timely and effective information feed required by the brigade staff as well as the ability to strike in force onto opportunity targets. Currently a learning organisation, a return to Afghanistan in 2013 is the long term goal but between now and then there is a steep learning hill to climb and many obstacles to cross. B Squadron remain fit, enthusiastic, driven and ready to go! AJH

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B Squadron Brigade Reconnaissance Force Troop Following an extremely busy 3 months of training alongside the Royal Marines and Royal Engineer members of the 3 Commando Brigade Reconnaissance Force, January saw the troop launch into a series of exercises, namely the Confirmatory Final Exercise in Thetford at the same time as A Squadron, and soon afterwards the final training exercise in February. As always, the freezing conditions provided perfect pre ‘Afghan summer’ acclimatisation and the highlights included hours and hours of helicopter drills culminating in a triggered Eagle vehicle check point ‘hard stop’ on to Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major of our parent unit 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group (30 Commando IX Group), courtesy of the RAF, which gave the younger members of the troop the opportunity to be ‘robust’ with the Regimental Sergeant Major before bundling him and the Commanding Officer into a Chinook for the flight back to camp. Deployment on Operation HERRICK 14 then saw the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, now a fully integrated organization with composite Troops of Lancers, Royal Marines (of Brigade Patrols Troop RM) and Royal Engineers (of Reconnaissance Troop 24 Commando Regiment RE), take over from our counterparts in 16 Brigade who were based on the Pathfinders. After a very useful and well-organised Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration package, we hit the ground running, with a single shake out operation before commencing a fast paced operational tempo.

called upon. Operations were varied; using the excellent JACKAL 2 vehicle independent troops might spend up to two weeks in the desert conducting a variety of tasks, from simple vehicle check points and information gathering, to squadron level nighttime insertions on foot into the green zone to strike at compounds of interest at first light before melting away back into the desert and linking up again with the vehicles. These operations were invaluable in building understanding of general local national activity, including economic lines of communication, but also in disrupting insurgent activity in depth – a notable success was the interception of some 3 million Pakistani rupees carried by two individuals linked to the insurgency after a car chase across the desert and some ‘enthusiastic’ vehicle searching.

The operations proved interesting and challenging; the flexible nature of both the order of battle (based on six man teams each commanded by a Senior Non Commissioned Officer, and four teams per troop) and the broad capabilities present allowed the Brigade Reconnaissance Force to add significant value when

At the other end of the spectrum a short notice operation generated by a piece of intelligence (or number of pieces of layered intelligence) would see one, or often two troops (plus squadron TAC) landing on to a compound in any part of Brigade Battle Space within the Task Force Helmand Area of Operations to tar-

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On Operation QUIMAT 6

get either a known individual or more likely a cache of enemy weapons or explosives. This type of operation might only last a few hours before the troops were picked up by helicopter to return to the relative comfort of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force compound in Camp Bastion. The Brigade Reconnaissance Force enjoyed some significant successes in this manner, includ-

ing a hard fought strike on to an insurgent improvised explosive device factory which made the national newspapers, and amongst others the successful detention of an improvised explosive device facilitator who was

Walking the dog

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biometrically linked to a number of devices cueing a first light strike to his compound. The Brigade Reconnaissance Force also frequently worked alongside the Warthog (WHG) Group, and these vehicles (whilst probably the most uncomfortable way to travel ever invented) proved invaluable in delivering the fighting troops of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force onto compounds otherwise inaccessible by Jackal. A well honed practice of nighttime insertion, initially by WHG to a drop off a number of kilometres away from a target, followed by a covert walk in to target proved high productive. The practice of then calling forward the WHG vehicles in overt support of dismounted troops allowed the Royal Scotts Dragoon Guards crews to manoeuvre in depth and deter any insurgent reaction to the Brigade Reconnaissance Force’s presence, this technique allowed the Brigade Reconnaissance Force to work in areas which might otherwise have proved impossible. In addition, the use of ‘Temporary Patrol Bases’ (TPBs) was often facilitated by the WHG Group who were able to bring in additional rations, water, ammunition and kit to allow a Troop

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‘Is this really the best time to take a photo?!

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Jackals on the prowl

to occupy and operate from a compound for a number of days: The ability operate using light scales in the knowledge that the WHG vehicles could carry water, food and items like the bulky surveillance devices used to observe and monitor local national and insurgent activity, whilst also acting as a manoeuvre element in their own right was invaluable. The TPBs themselves were an excellent way of dominating ground, and disrupting the insurgents in an area away from the green zone that they might consider a safe haven; this practice was used to good effect when in support of the ground holding troops (used in areas ground holding troops could not get to), as the TPB and subsequent patrolling of the area would attract insurgents and distract and prevent them from conducting activity against those holding ground in the green zone. It is customary in an article for this Journal to mention as many individuals as possible by name and deed. However, in this case it is not singling out individuals that marks the success of the Operation HERRICK 14 Brigade Reconnaissance Force and the Lancers that formed around a quarter of its strength, so much as describing the notable achievements made as a whole: • Over four fifths of all Home Made Explosive finds during Operation HERRICK 14 were found by Brigade Reconnaissance Force.

• Over half of all cached pressure plate finds during Operation HERRICK 14. • Highest rate of detainee transfer to Afghan authorities in theatre. • 1½ times increase in cache finds within Brigade Battle Space from Operation HERRICK 13. • Over 3 times and nearly 1½ times increase in operation tempo from Operation HERRICK 12 and Operation HERRICK 13. • Over four fifths of Brigade Reconnaissance Force operations result in a cache find or detainee. The success you can achieve is obviously only as good as the intelligence you have to work with, and the successes above were only made possible due to the work done by the rest of 30 Commando IX Group, whose accurate and timely fusion and layering of different intelligence feeds generated the start points for each operation. The success achieved on the ground by the Brigade Reconnaissance Force would not have been possible without this and the support of a myriad of other supporting enablers. Moving away from the Operational focus, life with the Commandos has been very interesting and rewarding; the need to learn an entirely new day to day language was identified early, and now any member of the Troop will be able to tell you the meaning of, for example, ‘spinning hoofing gen dits over a goffer’. Thankfully, I am very proud to say that the Lancers to a man kept a firm grip on their own provenance, and this form of speaking was treated as a quaint peculiarity of our green lid wearing fellow Brigade Reconnaissance Force soldiers. The Lancers deployed with 3 Commando Brigade Reconnaissance Force have done much to contribute to the excellent reputation gained by the Regiment during the Operation HERRICK 14 deployment. Their hard work, regimental ethos and professionalism has done them great credit in the eyes of their peers in 3 Commando Brigade, and it has been both a pleasure and a privilege to command them. TPH Prepping for battle

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C Squadon Overview Pre-Deployment Training As part of my pre-deployment training, the Regiment saw fit to send myself and six officers on a 10 week language course to learn Dari. The course was intended to allow us cross the language and cultural barriers that we were sure to face while working with the Afghan National Army on Operation HERRICK 14. Myself, Maj. Doherty, Cpt. Foot-Tapping, Cpt. Tickner, Cpt. Duffield, Cpt Horsfall and Cpt. Davis embarked upon the course in Fallingbostel from November 2010 until March 2011. Before learning any of the Dari language itself, we had to go back to basics with our own. There would be no point learning a new language without mastering the one which we use every day. We went through the simple aspects of English, refreshing ourselves on verbs, nouns and adjectives. When we were all competent with the structure of English, we began to transfer the principles to Dari.

Tpr Smith thought he had seen it all before, but a night with the Afghan National Army changed him forever

As Dari structures its sentences differently, we learned how the phrase “The cat sat on the hat” became “The cat, on the hat, sat” and this allowed us to make sense when using the language verbally.

eshk in early March. Morale was extremely high having planned for this day for close to 3 years and we were leaving the freezing German winter behind.

The next step was for us to start using Dari in communicative sentences allowing us to greet, converse, and issue orders to the Afghan National Army. This was extensively practiced and tested throughout the course and all of us showed great progress towards the end.

Reception, Staging, and Onward Integration battalion were waiting to receive us; expeditiously processing us into Afghanistan and setting about delivering 8–10 days worth of final training before we were allowed out on the ground. That first phase in the sanctuary of Mobile Operating Base Bastion was slick and worthwhile with key lessons, some of which covered many months earlier, being revisited with the injects of the latest thinking.

After deployment onto Operation HERRICK 14, the skills we had learned on the course paid dividends. We were quickly integrated with the Afghan National Army soldiers and they seemed impressed with the level of Dari that we were able to use. This in turn allowed us to make lasting friendships and bonds of trust with the Afghan National Army which is very important as we were to be fighting side by side with them. By the end of my deployment, my Dari vocabulary had increased dramatically and the worth of the course had truly proved itself. BS

No 1 Company, 1st Battalion, Irish Guards had done a terrific job over the preceding 6 months and completed their tour in style with a razor sharp handover. Collocated in our new home, right in the centre of downtown Gereshk were D Squadron, Household Cavalry Regiment and their understanding of the ground helped us get up to speed extremely quickly. They encouraged us to spearhead their operations from day 1 week 1 and from that point Advisor 20 never looked back.

Dari language chip inserted (it took 10 weeks with lots of weekend and evening revision), training serials completed, offices locked, wives and children kissed goodbye, we set off for Ger-

The Afghan Battalion which we mentored (and arguably commanded for the first 3 months) were a mixed breed but there was talent behind the idle façade. They needed to be harried, harassed and harangued to get away from the sanctuary of the metal tracks and to operate in depth in order to unhinge the insurgency. Their soldier cohort were brave and determined but the officers were not renowned for their leadership. The

Maj Doherty carrying ECM

Picnic in the Green Zone

Advisor 20

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Capt Greig doing some casual tourism in Geresk

enduring nature of their responsibility coupled with the savage, relentless attrition by the insurgent gave some context to their oscillating attitudes. Advisor 20 had huge real estate with enormous autonomy, exacerbated by the commanding battle group being Danish. The operations were varied and numerous and whilst not on specific missions we pressed the boundaries of what was possible (just) and left our opposition guessing. Command was a pleasure with hugely capable officers and non commissioned officers being thirsty for action all the way through. Will Greig as my right hand man was a force to be reckoned with and in every discipline was great fun to have around. Sadly, we suffered a number of serious casualties and one fatality by the end but in those soldiers names we kept the mission in hand until our own flag change with the Queen’s Royal Hussars on 1 Oct 11. We learnt so much and had great fun and with luck, left some degree of professionalism as our legacy. SPD

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The Doherty tribe on R n R

Advisor 21 In March 2011 a team of seven carefully selected individuals arrived at 2 Kandak headquarters in the centre of Gereshk to take over from the Irish Guards as team Advisor 21. It marked the beginning of a life-changing journey that was Operation HERRICK 14. With four Tolays to advise and mentor, one on r and r at any one point, we had our work cut out. Some were better than others but the ability levels depended largely on how motivated their commanders’ were/could be. Advisor 21 were responsible for the east of Narh-e-Saraj north, focussing mostly on Highway 1 east of Gereshk and the ground 2 kilometers north and south of it. Of note, this included the very kinetic Yakchal area which, two years prior to our arrival, 101 US Airborne attempted to dominate but without success and so withdrew. Initially we partnered D Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment. Several deliberate operations with them enabled us to get an excellent understanding of the ground, Afghan National Army modus operandi and iron out teething problems prior to A Squadron 9/12L arrival.

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Capt Davis requesting help to carry excess weapons

Advisor 21- balding; a pre-requisite for standing in the front rank

Several operations requiring a competent sub-unit of Afghan National Army allowed us to manoeuvre around Helmand with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Warthog group. Despite being accused of attempted murder by the Afghan National Army for transporting them in the back of a Warthog, multiple successful partnered missions, such as improvised explosive device factory raids took place.

maintained all night stags just in case of unexpected visitors or overfriendly natives.

On a day to day basis the team conducted up to three dismounted patrols each day as well as teaching all manner of lessons to Afghan National Army Warriors. These ranged from confirmation drills from LCpl Luff and Tpr Smith to map reading lessons from Lt Davis. Despite achieving a genuinely good working relationship with the Warriors, during the night we kept the team together and

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With such emphasis from the powers above on Afghan national security forces assuming overall control and taking the initiative we focussed heavily on understanding the Afghan National Army Warrior. Ultimately we tried to appreciate what he had been through in recent times. For many, this was their fourth year spent in Helmand Province with few breaks. The checkpoints are basic at best, with little sanitation other than local irrigation ditches or river water. Where fortunate, there is a well but it produces drinkable water for only the hardened, resistant Warrior and is of little use to ISAF other than to wash/cool down in. There was some upset for Tpr Smith when his paddling pool was used to wash meat in.

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The highlight of the tour was a three week operation in Yakchal, Operation SIREB III, working with 2 and 5 Troops, A Squadron. It was an effort to gain better understanding of the local population and area of Yakchal whilst boosting Afghan National Army confidence levels in their own ability. It was a battle throughout and amongst local riots, attacks and US attack helicopters missing known targets with Hellfire missiles, the whole process was both exhausting and exhilarating. Working with the Afghan National Army makes an ISAF commander feel incredibly proud and fortunate for his own soldiers. However, the experience gained for all involved and satisfaction received through seeing warriors benefiting from training given by junior non-commissioned officers and troopers is second to none. The flexible and adaptive qualities, during extremely difficult circumstances, displayed by C Squadron soldiers are a testament to their high calibre and robustness. JETD

Adv 22 B With the squadron’s very lucky escape from the 4 Scots battle group, it was time for the fine cavalry soldiers of C Squadron to form the spear head ADV20, in particular the call sign that went by the name of ‘Adv 22 B and its Merry Men’, led by Sgt Liburd and Cpl Edwards (the smaller one of the two, but some would say not as good looking!). From taking off in Hannover to landing in Camp Bastion and getting pumped full of information and drills, ‘dos and don’ts’ – your feet do not touch the floor for five days but it is what it is; life saving and an eye opener! We then met the Irish Guards, our predecessors. They looked both battle hardened and tired at the same time (now I know why), and were somewhat relieved it was time to handover...well if some quick tool checks and a chat with the troop leader constitutes a ‘handover’ that is. Before we knew it we were out of the front gate and into the unknown.

A rare moment when the rounds weren’t flying

The unknown soon became our stomping ground for the next six months – the very long and busy ‘Highway One’. It is a key artery in this country’s economics, and of great tactical importance to ISAF and the insurgents, therefore we had our work cut out from minute one. Obviously we had the resource of our trusted counterpart, the Afghan National Army, and the days comprised of mentoring them in the key skills of soldiering and accounting, a mean feat in itself (and that’s without the added dangers of improvised explosive devices and small arms fire!). After lots of ‘chats’ over cups of tea, the lads in the call-sign began to form cohesion with all of the Afghan National Army warriors. This resulted in increased trust and indeed confidence, to the point that the Afghan National Army wanted to get out on the ground themselves and secure their highway and reassure the locals in the area. This was extremely encouraging and our input ensured that the Afghan

‘LCpl Paul Watkins

Cpl Edwards’ disguise is foiled very early on

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pable (insurgents who are you). We were a close-nit free wheeling nine man team on top of the world, with an open agenda, doing our jobs and ‘living’ the tour that we had trained so hard to be on and had long since dreamt about being part of. Sadly that sense of immortality was all about to come crashing down with the loss of LCpl Paul Watkins, a member of our team who could never be replaced. We of course remained focused on the job in hand, but became more vigilant, feeling an urgency to return every member of the team safely home. RIP Paul, we fondly remember you.

Sgt Liburd

National Army went out to lead and whilst doing so provided an ‘Afghan face’ during every patrol that went out on the ground. Adv 22 B were like nomads, moving from Mobile Operating Base Price to 2 Kdk and ending up in our bespoke home – the all-singing, all-dancing new 2 Kandak headquarters just outside Mobile Operating Base Price. Thankfully our luck was in for the last 6 weeks of the tour, and we were the grateful recipients of the best navy chef you’ve ever seen! Nothing could stop us now with bellies full of filet steak and salmon! Morale was high throughout the tour in the call-sign with every day presenting a new opportunity for progress – we were unstop-


To the brotherhood of the 9th/12th Lancers (POW) Our Father in Heaven, before we go into battle, every soldier among us will approach you each in his own way. Our enemies too, according to their own understanding, will ask for protection and for victory. And so, we bow before your infinite wisdom. We offer our prayers as best we can. I pray you watch over the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (POW). Who I stand next to in battle. You use us as your instrument in this awful hell of war, to conquer the insurgency and bring them to justice before you. By using our steadfast Faith or the point of our trusty lance. They may call us all infidels but they well never attain everlasting glory, unlike the brotherhood of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (POW) through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Working With the Afghan National Army – Two Soldiers’ Perspectives Working with the Afghan National Army brought about a number of challenges a lot of the team had not faced before. Not least culture and a desire to physically work. Fortunately there was enough experience within the team through past experience (working with the Iraqi Army) and through pre-deployment training. Working with live subjects always poses different problems. The strategy was simple, first we bonded through a common sense of humour and training. This way we could assess the Afghan National Army’s ability without them realising. Then when the bond was well established we could tackle the far greater problems such as the Quartermaster’s tight fisted belief that all belongs to them and paperwork (common for any army). Greater still, the common soldier’s inability to make a decision without the orders of an officer.

Where it all begins, from the poppy fields of Helmand, to the back streets of Chesterfield

On a day to day basis working with the Afghan National Army brought about great challenges, particularly through Ramadan when the soldiers didn’t have the energy to patrol. We countered

Bunching anyone?

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Never take the easy route, especially if it looks cool in a photo

Adv 21 mixing with the people

this by patrolling earlier while it was cooler and when they’d recently eaten and then conducting training in the afternoon.

courses where we met Sgt “Stan” Bowles, LCpl “Ginge” Everett and Pte “Dev” Devenish all from 3rd Battalian Mercian who joined us for the tour to bolster our numbers. Those who were not on courses left for 2 Kandak (Battalion) headquarters in the centre of Gereshk a town along Highway one to start the ground briefs and hand over/take over process from our predecessors the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. The remainder of us left a few days after to set up our new home at 2 Kandak headquarters for the next 5 months.

It was an extremely difficult time when Paul Watkins was killed. Of particular concern for commanders was how the relationship with the Afghan National Army was going to be affected. But to witness the horror and remorse on the faces of the Afghan National Army soldiers at check point Seraj Ulhaq went a long way to restoring confidence in working once again with the Afghan National Army. There was an obvious difference in the Afghan National Army when it came to patrolling with them once again and greater emphasis given to Afghan National Army Sergeants in leading patrols, to the point where the Afghan National Army would individually patrol as teams and we remained as a position of fire support. That is where we handed over to the Queen’s Royal Husssars. DE C Squadron (or rather C Troop!) deployed to Afghanistan along with our B Squadron Kandak Advisory training team on the 13th of March, and allowing for numerous delays courtesy of the RAF we landed early hours of the 15th. Our tour began as everyone else’s does, with between five to seven days of Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration each and last minute driving

We split down in to three teams in two locations, Advisor 20 headed by Maj Doherty and WO2 Noone who concentrated on advising the Kandak Commander and his staff and liaising with the brass at Main Operating Base Price. Advisor 21 lead by Capt Davis and Sgt Bowles were located in 2 Kandak HQ we had the check points to the east of Gereshk. Advisor 22 lead by Sgt Liburd and Cpl “Little Eddy” Edwards operated from Mobile Operating Base Price a short 10 minute drive from Gereshk where they advised the check points to the west. Advisor 21’s first patrol was in the calm of a village called Noorzai where we did a loop of desert south of the road and the lush green zone north of the road, and found that our main focus would be motivating the Afghan National Army warriors and Tolay (squadron/company) Commanders to start patrols on their own and to take more responsibility for the area around their checkpoints. From this point we realised it we had our work cut out for us! A few days later Adv 20 and Adv 21 had their first operations into what became the increasingly hostile Yakchal area, specifically a village called Nasir Kalay. The brief was simple Adv 20 are going to sweep in from the North, with their Afghan Army Warriors, and Advisor 21 were going to move in from the east with overwatch from the D Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment in Scimitars. However as the saying goes all good plans go to waste and we had our first contact. Over the course of the next few months we were kept busy doing operations in various areas striking suspected weapons caches and improvised explosive device factories, Waiting for the RAF, patrols in and around all the villages within our area of responsibility, numerous trips away from the Gereshk to assist other units who needed and Afghan National Army presence, Tpr Brad Smith fleecing everyone’s money at cards, and of course the well needed r and r! The final phase of our tour was moving from the centre of Gereshk to the western edge, not far from Price to set up our new Patrol Base, named Harriet which was co-located with the 2 Kandak headquarter’s new check point, check point Ayatullah. At this time Adv 20 and Adv 21 did our final operation in Lashkagah, where we met the one and only Ross Kemp whilst he was filming his third Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, and notably he was

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rescued By Maj Doherty and Cpl “Big Eddy” Edwards after he had an “incident” while suffering from D&V! This week led into our beginning of handing over to the Queen’s Royal Hussars so under both WO2 Noone’s and WO2 Mansfield’s very watchful eyes checks, accounting for all our kit, a final spit and polish of the camp and giving the Queen’s Royal Hussars their ground briefs became our routine and we flew back to Bastion to begin our cooling off, ready for decompression in Cyprus to return to see our families and loved ones but not before we suffered more delays waiting for the RAF! The tour was a success for us, we had achieved our aim at developing the Kandak’s basic soldiering skills, and their ability to lead and command their men. They had taken responsibility for villages surrounding their checkpoints, by doing regular and structured patrols, and most importantly talking to the villagers and finding out how they can help them, rather than sitting idly by. With all that success there was one tragedy, on the morning of the 16th July, LCpl Paul Watkins was killed by enemy small arms fire. Our thoughts are still of him and his family. CGL

From Lulworth to Helmand A year at Sandhurst felt like an eternity. Each week is packed full of activities which you just know hold little enjoyment. However, there’s one driving factor that will keep most people there, entitling them to a Queen’s Commission and that’s the thought of leading soldiers on operations. For my generation the operational theatre is Afghanistan and I would be one of the first amongst my peers to reach Helmand Province. After leaving Sandhurst in December I spent five months on the Formation Reconnaissance Troop Leaders course. As well as providing some entertaining social occasions the course was crammed full of fantastic training. The arduous requirements of Formation Reconnaissance soldiers was reiterated and often put into practice. Furthermore, much of the training was orientated to reflect daily occurrences in Afghanistan which was of


great help over the months that followed. Upon completion of the Troop Leaders course I spent little time in Germany. Instead I was in Lydd, Kent to be brought up to speed on current tactics, techniques and practices being used in Helmand. Then in early July, knowing little of what my role would be it was time to make my way to theatre. Completing the introductory Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration package in camp Bastion was great to further focus the mind for what was to follow. There was no substitute to the raw heat and dust and reacting to scenarios that had happened just days or weeks earlier in the area of operations that we were soon to disperse to. The area of operations that I headed out to was Nar-E-Saraj (North). I joined C Squadron and became part of Advisor 21 who were mentoring the Afghan National Army. I was warmly welcomed and quickly settled in to the basic but comfortable Kandak accommodation that we shared with the Afghans. The pace of life was tremendously varied. At times life was manic but there were also the characteristic lulls that war is renowned for. Joining C Squadron halfway through their tour was great to calm any concerns that I had. The whole call sign knew the area of operations extremely well and let me know the areas where a certain degree of nervousness was allowed! Such areas were confirmed on my second patrol where the clatter of Taliban weapons reminded us that we weren’t always welcome. Life continued like this for the next month. I carried the ECM and shadowed Capt Davis in order to prepare myself for taking over the troop. It was fantastic to be given the responsibility of troop leading and as Lt Davis departed I felt fully prepared for the challenges that lay ahead. What became apparent very early on is how vital the rest of the troop was in making my life as a commander easier. This is not always a point that officer phase 1 and 2 training makes apparent. The whole troop knew their roles inside out and were always of assistance both in the patrol base and on the ground. It was such a privilege to be given this responsibility at such an early stage in my career and well worth any amount of hardship that Sandhurst can throw your way! TJB

2Lt Burwell finding Helmand Province to be a more pleasant experience than Sandhurst

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Headquarter Squadron Overview Officer Commanding Headquarter Squadron The overriding focus throughout this year’s journal notes will undoubtedly, and rightly so, be based on the Regiment’s exploits in Afghanistan. However, this year Headquarter Squadron can be tremendously proud of the part they played in, not only the support to the operation but also for a large number, their deployment to Theatre in one guise or another. For Headquarter Squadron, this year can be split into a number of phases that have contributed to almost a year long commitment to Operation HERRICK 14. Even as I arrived back to regimental duty in January 2011, a large part of the squadron were deployed to Castlemartin in Wales as part of the “Real Life Support” to the 7 Brigade CALFEX. Upon their return from the United Kingdom, some of the individuals deployed were shocked to find they were required to fly immediately to Afghanistan in order to support in theatre pre-operational training. It was heartening to find that things had not changed since I was last at regimental duty, when the promise of a new easily gained medal can be very persuasive to a soldier, and the acceptance of separation is not as contested as it may be in other circumstances! As for the deployment, Headquarter Squadron provided a large part of its deployable manpower to the operation. Of note, some of those deployed included the Officer Commanding, Quartermaster, Training Officer, Detachment Comd, RAOWO and the Regimental Sergeant Major. I mention these names not to advertise the individuals’ exploits, but to emphasise the gaps left within the departments filled admirably by those left behind. I cannot praise highly enough the Unit Welfare Officers’ team and those employed on the Rear Operations Group United Kingdom for their efforts in support of both, those deployed on the operation and their families. The service provided to those soldiers injured who had to return to the United Kingdom was excellent. Operation RESTORATION and the Homecoming Parades provided a fitting finale to the year with the squadron, not only participating in full in all the parades, but also taking the lead in the planning, implementation and administration of the whole event. I would like to think that our efforts, in a small way, helped to contribute to the recent granting of the freedoms of Leicester, Chesterfield and, most recently, Northampton. As far as the parades themselves, I have never witnessed such overwhelming support to the armed forces as we received throughout the duration of Operation RESTORATION.

Maj Barnett enjoying a beer after an extremely hard tour!

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And what of this year; the promise of a quieter time appears a long way off. The training programme is now in full swing and the preparation for BATUS has already begun. The squadron appears much smaller since the return from post operational leave and I have changed from complaining of having too many soldiers and not enough NCOs to complaining of having no soldiers and too many NCOs! It is funny how the passing of such a small period of time changes one’s perspective on things. The squadron, as always, has undergone some significant changes in personality; we say goodbye to WO2 SSM Elliott and wish him and Sarah all the best for the future; Capt Sam Tripuraneni, again to civilian life, I cannot thank him enough for his help and support this year; and finally, Capt Henry Kemp-Gee who has returned to the Territorial Army; he certainly made his mark in the short time he was a Lancer! The squadron should be proud of their achievements throughout 2011 and I thank you all for your continued efforts as we move into 2012. LJB

Quartermaster’s Department After taking over as the Quartermaster at the end of November 2010 Capt Dave Clarke swiftly returned to CAST at Sennelager for his last exercise as the SO3 Hybrid Foundation Training. WO2 (RQMS) (Craig) Broadhurst was also away from the department assisting the Quartermaster(T) at Castle Martin, which left Sgt (Phil) Cooling to steer the department. 2011 came and the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant returned from Castle Martin and rolled straight into his Kandak advisory training team training for Afghanistan. The Quartermaster also departed early in the New Year to learn how to be a grumpy Quartermaster at the school of logistics, something he was quite successful at. With no Quartermaster or Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant SSgt Lee Revill was seconded to the department. With most of the Regiment due to deploy to Afghanistan the department set up a temporary clothing store in one of the vehicle hangers as this was the only building that could hold the thousands of pieces of equipment and clothing that had to be issued to the Regiment. At the forefront of receipt and issue was Cpl Richie Thompson closely supported by LCpl Dougie Hird. The timelines were tight but all soldiers that deployed to Afghanistan were in possession of equipment and clothing that was second to none. After a number of false starts and cancellations, the Quartermaster deployed to Afghanistan to take up a post as the Quartermaster(T)

Capt Dave Clarke

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quired to still be understood manual accounting with paper is now a thing of the past. Unicom, MJDI and JAMES are names of a few of some of the computer based systems required to be mastered by all who work in the department. The recently rewritten Tri-service Joint Service publications are our guidelines as to how we operate these aforementioned systems and these are presently ever changing. We maintain fleet holdings as previously, of CVR(T) as our bread and butter core platform, but inbetween core business we rotate round on Whole Fleet Management as with the many other vehicle platforms and equipments that are currently in use in Afghanistan.

In the rear with the gear

of the Brigade Troops Echelon in Camp Bastion. With the remaining departmental staff covering a number of positions while the Regiment was deployed, time on the Rear Operations Group was a busy one for all. As well as the accustomed day to day working, the department also provided support to the ranges for B3 gunnery, charity events, the families’ day and a royal visit. Following the return of the Quartermaster and the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant the main focus very quickly became the Biennial Stocktake which was miraculously squeezed in between leave and the homecoming parades in the United Kingdom. Time stands still for no man and Cpl Richie Thompson moved to the Quartermaster(T) department and was replaced by newly promoted Cpl Pete Preston who had recently returned from Afghanistan. Christmas leave brought a well-earned break for all in the department. In January 2012 we were fortunate enough to receive an increase in manpower with the addition of Cpl Ben Peters who moved from Motor Transport. Another new year and another new uniform to issue in the form of the Personal Clothing System Combat Uniform (PCS CU), well what else have they got to do in the Quartermaster’s department? DAC

Quartermaster Technical Department

The Brigade Reconnaissance Force has been accepted as an armoured corps Brigade Reconnaissance Regiment’s task and we have received yet another new equipment table to reflect this change. This brings with it, lots of new equipments including 29 cut down Land Rovers, RWMIK, with heavy 50 calibre or 40mm machine and grenade guns mounted on top as well as 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun for the commander. We will not have all 29 of these vehicles all of the time. The Army is, in the present economic climate, feeling the pinch as well. A good deal of the new equipment we use is whole fleet managed. This means it is constantly moving around the Army being used for training by units just prior to operational deployment. This constant movement of vehicles and equipment is in its management an inherently technical task. Many completely fail to understand all of the background activity that goes on to get equipment into soldiers’ hands. What does this have to do with a journal piece that is traditionally diary dates in reverse of a department in the last year? Well in the preceding year as part of the build up to the deployment to Afghanistan for this year we travelled far and wide facilitating the equipment needs for the Regiment in all conceivable conditions and locations. In the last year we have spent all our time far and wide trying to sort out and reconcile our accounts in the aftermath of that build up. During the actual deployment we have created the start state. This has taken part as Rear Operations Group in Hohne. The troop in the main remained together for the deployment period in camp as part of the Rear Operations Group. This has afforded us the time to ensure our accounts are straightened out and the groundwork has been laid for the build up in 2012 to another possible Afghanistan deployment in 2013. The reorganisation of the Regiment into its new format and the subsequent new ET has really allowed us to get shot of some of the physical baggage the Army has been making the squadrons carry.

So what is it that is technical about stores? It’s just a big shed full of shelves isn’t it? What we deal with hasn’t really changed, vehicles and parts thereof to keep them running. Although re-

On return after Christmas leave, the new post tour order of battle has given us a new Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant(T) in the form of WO2 ‘Jelly’ Saul, hot off dodging Russian 7.62mm

SSM Elliotts feels the effects of his first run since 1997

QM (T) and an orang-utan

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with the Afghan Army. Cpl Barry Brooks is back from a posting in Sandhurst, Cpl Thommo Thompson slid across from the light side of the stores and LCpl Bumrat Bottomley has returned from being a jailor in Fallingbostel nick. On top of these guys, we also seem to have acquired members of what was formally known as the ‘Signals repair Cell’ with Cpl John Harold and the newly promoted Cpl Fungus Ferguson fully trained in the darkarts of Unicom. The Quartermaster Technical is due to depart for a posting in the mist at Lulworth as Officer Commanding Light wing. We have also shed a few pounds along the way losing to civilian life with a big smile Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Jon (Mr Burns) Curl. On a fleeting detachment to learn to account for things properly and after a short spell in Camp Bastion Cpl Pete Preston went to the light side to be clothing storeman. The next year looks to be as fraught as the last two and with added tensions of redundancy both voluntary and voluntold looming we may be faced with increasing staff shortage. CJH

LCpl Charlton takes a brake in the Green Zone whilst deployed with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force

Light Aid Detachment ASM’s Foreword – As I write this article I am desperately trying to justify how quickly the past 18 months have gone, both for my tenure as ASM and the detachment as a whole. The Light Aid Detachment has experienced one of the most challenging and rewarding operational periods in its history; not just a successful tour of Afghanistan but also a transformation in the way we conduct our business and the endless opportunities that have been made available for our soldiers. I am extremely proud of the effort expended by all ranks over the past 12 months and our accomplishments and reputation are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of our tradesmen. Operation HERRICK 14 During the busy training period of 2010, it became clear that the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers FET for Operation HERRICK 14 was going to see a significant reduction in Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers personnel across theatre. Immediately panic set in across the rank spectrum; who was going to miss the boat due to being the wrong rank or trade? Fortunately 9/12L Light Aid Detachment was awarded the majority of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers slots outside of 3 Bridgade and Equipment Support Group (2nd Line Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). In total we had 75% of the

Cpl Yandel prepares for an exhibition fight in the Peto Cup

Light Aid Detachment deployed in 9 different locations across Afghanistan. Roles included the FR Squadron Fitter Section, Kandak Advisory Training Teams, Bastion Motor Transport, Equipment Support Group, Joint Force Light Aid Detachment, Brigade Reconnaissance Force and Infantry ground holding battle groups.

Sgt Lewis and LCpl Plastow recover a stricken Scimitar

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LCpl Donaghue repairs a poorly Jackal

9/12L Light Aid Detachment Winning Stretcher Race Team

A Squadron (FR) Fitter Section was commanded by SSgt (AQMS des) Lee Whiteford and was based in the medium comfort of Mobile Operating Base PRICE on the outskirts of Gereshk. The section had an outstanding tour supporting the squadron in a variety of roles fulfilling the lead security call sign on Highway 1. Small elements of the fitter section were attached to the Sabre and Jackal troops on ground manoeuvre operations. As well as providing intimate support to the deployed troops, the fitter section were also relied upon to fill a mixture of roles such as heavy machine gun/grenade machine gun gunner. The fitter section took a lot from the tour and a level of experience which we can carry forward either in new units or alongside 9/12L on Operation HERRICK 19.

Cpl Branford – Exercise LONG LOOK (Australia) Some guys are just born lucky! No sooner had he volunteered, Cpl Branford was accepted onto Exercise LONG LOOK, where he had the opportunity to serve with the Royal Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Apart from the usual dullness of 7-days-a-week BBQ and physical training parades at the local swimming pool, Cpl Branford managed to squeeze a small amount of work into his packed schedule. He assisted 1 Armoured Corps in the repair of the M1A1 Abram’s main battle tank as well as a deployment on Exercise TALISMAN SABRE; a well known exercise which sees the amalgamation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the United States Marine Corps. A fantastic opportunity for any young soldier to get involved in something a little different. Try and get there for Anzac day as that is when production ceases for days whilst the ADF celebrate their National day.

Brigade Reconnaissance Force Fitter Section was commanded by Cpl Rob Palmer. Although primarily based in Camp Bastion the squadron deployed across the area of operations on a variety of operations, including both helicopter and vehicle borne operations. The fully embedded fitter section deployed on all deliberate operations regardless of role, meaning the flexibility of its members was always tested. The success of the section and the high level of equipment availability was commented on by Commander 3 Brigade and ensured success. Kandak Advisory Training Teams – 6 Kandak was mentored by B Squadron 9/12L. In amongst the training team were Capt Matt Sutton (Kandak advisory training team Second in Command) and Cpl Marika Matai, both based in Patrol Base 2. The Afghan National Army were taught basic soldiering skills from foot patrolling to basic radio use. Working outside of the “normal” equipment support world Capt Sutton and Cpl Matai were part of a team responsible for the delivery of accurate and realistic training to a fledgling and under resourced Army. WO1 (ASM) Hazel was the Maintenance Tolay Advisor. This role saw him command 27 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers soldiers spread across the entire 3/215 Brigade as embedded engineer advisors and mentors. A successful tour advancing procedures and equipment support doctrine within the Afghan National Army. There’s a new EME During the summer whilst most from the Regiment were still deployed on Operation HERRICK 14, Capt Matt Sutton made his early escape from Afghanistan and returned to Hohne to complete his handover with Capt Andy Lowe. Capt Lowe arrived having just completed a Company Second in Command appointment with 1 CS Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, where he had recently returned from Operation HERRICK 12. Most will not be surprised to hear Capt Sutton is now cutting his teeth at Director Special Forces.

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On a Sporting Front The Light Aid Detachment has once again thrown itself at every sporting event possible. We currently have LCpl “Bobby” Charlton and Cfn “Cat” Murray representing the Regiment at football; Cfn Froget, Pierre and Quansa represent the Regiment at basketball and Cpl Yandel has recently represented the Army at boxing. As a detachment we have seen mild success in the Corps 6s, narrowly losing to 28 Engineer Light Aid Detachment however were victorious in the Cavalry Cup, beating our local rivals The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The Light Aid Detachment is currently through to the quarter finals of the Cfn’s Cup and later this month we will face 2 Fd Company, 104 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers when we will be vying for a place in the semis. Already adventure training is being organised for the summer and the Light Aid Detachment will be represented at the Corps 70th Anniversary weekend in June. St Eligius Day This year the responsibility of hosting the Annual St Eligius day celebrations fell to 9/12L Light Aid Detachment. The day was supported well by all Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers detachments from across Hohne Garrison. The day comprised of a church service conducted by Brigade Padre Phil Bosher, followed by a fresh December morning stretcher race. With the teams thoroughly invigorated (although somewhat jaded), they were thrown straight into a complex structural engineering challenge. Now that the Light Aid Detachment “Sports Bar” is up and running (legally) it was the ideal opportunity to host our fellow Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in pleasant surroundings. After a few light hearted bar games, the scores were totted up by Maj Kirchel BEME. Unsurprisingly 9/12L Light Aid Detachment were resounding winners, reclaiming the trophy for the 2nd time in 3 years.

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Capt June Franklin

Regimental Administration Office Adjutant Generals Corps (Staff & Personnel Service) Detachment This has been an extremely busy year for the Staff & Personnel Service Detachment with a number of characters changing due to assignments in and out of the Regiment. Pre MCCPs were organised long before deployment dates to ensure that all personnel deploying were G1 ready. Five members of the detachment deployed as individual augmentees and attached to A Squadron all working from Camp Bastion, whilst the remainder of the detachment became a part of the rear operations group. Although busy it has not been all work and no play, personnel have managed to complete all their career courses and have been able to challenge themselves in other areas. 2011 has seen the detachment achieve a great deal both in and out of work and is a year they can look back on with pride. JF RAO – J1 Cell Bastion As the Regiment had been gapping the Regimental Admin Officer appointment since our return from BATUS the opportunity presented itself that I as the Staff & Personnel Service Detachment Comd would be able to deploy to Afghanistan in the role of Regimental Admin Officer Bastion J1 Cell. The tour was to be split into 3 month deployments with The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards deploying their Regimental Admin Officer for the first half of the tour and 9/12L deploying me for the second half of the tour. We also reversed the tour for our RAWO and therefore when I deployed in May 11, WO2 Jamie Lynch from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards accompanied me. The Bastion J1 Cell is a tri service admin unit that provides a myriad of support to deployed troops. During my tour we had admin personnel from various units within Headquarter 7 Brigade units as well as the augmentees from the United Kingdom. We also had a Flight Sgt and Cpl from the RAF and a Petty Officer from the Royal Navy. Support starts with arrival at Bastion Airfield with the operations location tracking of personnel team briefing incoming troops and booking them onto Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration Courses. The operations location tracking of personnel team runs both a day and a night shift and works to ensure all personnel are moved and tracked to Afghanistan and all allowances are started. Paradigm cards are issued and recorded with the J1 Cell being the point of contact for any problems that occur with them. All battle groups and the Special Forces are allocated their floats for cheque encashment and other payments via the J1 Cell who are accountable for 5 million dollars which is available in 3 currencies. The team are also responsible for all admin and pay issues for British personnel attached to Regional Command South West RC(SW).

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Busy in Bastion then?

The Bastion J1 Cell is in a prime location next to the dining facility on Bastion 1 which enabled me to touch base with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force which had been seconded to the Royal Marines for many months. Although the Brigade Reconnaissance Force were provided admin support from the Brigade Theatre Troops Admin Office it did not take long for them to realise support would be available to them from my J1 team during my tenure. A Squadron rear echelon The closest they got to any action was within walking distance and I managed to visit Forward Operating Base PRICE and set up a cheque cashing facility for personnel located there as they could not always get to Bastion in order to cash cheques. The role 3 hospital was on my doorstep so whether 9/2L personnel were brought in with either heat or battle injuries I could be there to meet them and update the Commanding Officer in Lashkar Gah on their condition. In order to provide support to RC(SW) a weekly pay clinic was arranged where myself and the Flight Sgt travelled across to assist the RAF admin team which consisted of Sqn Ldr Pete Thompson and WO Callum Ferguson. This proved an invaluable service as they had no connectivity to JPA and we could often sort problems before they grew out of proportion. We were also treated to lunch in the American dining facility on a weekly basis. It was not all work and no play. During the tour I managed to arrange familiarisation visits to the Apache and Chinook Detachments who were only too happy to provide a brief on their machines and let my guys take advantage of the photo opportunity. We also arranged visits to the fire station and air traffic control so the administrators got an understanding of what the other supporting units in Bastion did. My tour in Bastion passed too quickly and is it was with regret that I returned to Germany ahead of the Regiment. I was fortunate to deploy albeit for a short period of time but it enabled me to see the Regiment at its best on Operation HERRICK 14 and I will hopefully have the opportunity to serve with you again in the future during my career.

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Here’s one I made earlier

The Staff & Personnel Service’s concept of the arrow head patrol formation

Exercise SPS Lance As Adjutant Generals Corps (Staff & Personnel Service) Soldiers do not always get very much practice in the field honing their soldiering skills, the Regimental Admin Officer Capt Matthew Harrison decided that the Staff & Personnel Service detachment needed to get out on a military exercise. This was originally planned for September; however, the Staff & Personnel Service Detachment was so busy that most of us ended up being away on duty during that month so it was moved to October. That was fine as far as the Regimental Admin Officer was concerned; having never served in Germany before he was blissfully unaware of how cold Germany is in October. The rest of the Detachment were worried. Comments were made in hushed voices that the exercise would be pure purgatory, but that the Regimental Admin Officer would be first to give up. Meanwhile the Regimental Admin Officer was wandering around wondering why everyone was trying to come up with excuses not to go, or telling tales of woe about the weather. He just gave them a condescending look! As if it would be cold barely into autumn – little did he know...

lenges it would bring. I had transferred to the Staff & Personnel Service from the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers.

The day drew near and the weather was unusually warm for the time of year. Cpl Richie Burbidge, who had transferred into the Staff & Personnel Service from the Infantry only a couple of years previously, was drafted in as the chief instructor for the exercise, something which no doubt relaxed the rest of the Detachment slightly. Despite the Regimental Admin Officer’s best efforts, a few members of the Detachment were just unable to attend the exercise. However, he managed to draft in a number of 9th/12th Lancers personnel. As the day arrived, the weather was virtually tropical for the time of year. The training under Cpl Richie Burbidge’s instruction was both effective and well-received with everyone putting in maximum effort. The training enabled both Staff & Personnel Service Detachment members and 9th/12th Lancers personnel to revise their dismounted close combat skills. Highlights of the exercise were Sgt Ian O’Brien’s demotion to trooper for being bullet-proof and Cpl Arun Purja-Pun’s final attack, during which he assaulted the position twice in order to rescue a comrade. The exercise left the Regimental Admin Officer smug, having claimed throughout that it would be warm and the Detachment worried that he would try to plan another exercise next October but without the unseasonal high temperatures. MH My First Year as a Transferee After I finished my service initial personnel administration Course in February this year I was posted to 9th/12th Royal Lancers in Germany. It was my first choice as I had never been posted to Germany before and was looking forward to the chal-

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Like every other regiment it was busy, in this case preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. To assist in the smooth deployment, the Staff & Personnel Service Detachment was focused on the deploying squadrons. There were also members of the Staff & Personnel Service Detachment who were deploying including the Detachment commander, Capt June Franklin and the RAWO, WO2 John Nolan who along with the SSA Sgt Ian O’Brien and Cpl Richie Burbidge deployed before the rest of the Brigade. I was soon given the role of sub unit senior Combat HR Specialist. It was a challenging role at first, though I have to say not as difficult as I thought it would be; especially as the other Detachment members were always happy to help whenever problems arose. The service initial personnel administration course had prepared me well for my role, but as I was working with an experienced junior Combat HR Specialist, I was able to get confirmation from him as well. This meant that I quickly became more familiar with the tasks involved in my job. Despite how busy the Detachment has been we have still done a number of activities including a family function, indoor skiing and entering a team into the Triple Crown Challenge of which I was lucky enough to be a member. The Regimental Admin Officer Capt Matthew Harrison decided we should have a detachment family function during the deployment. This was organised by Cpl ‘Rav’ Ravutia, with invites also sent to the families of those deployed. As I was still relatively new to the Regiment it was a good opportunity to meet with the new families and children. There were games available for kids and a bouncy castle which proved very popular among the adults as well. It was such a nice day that after lunch everybody went outside to enjoy the sunshine and soon we were all playing cricket. We all had a good time, even though it became apparent that few of us had played cricket before! As the sun began to set we headed indoors for some more food before the day ended. We have also been on Detachment trips to the Bispingen indoor ski arena, which were organised by Pte Pete Hobson. For some this was the first time they had skied so they went to learn how to ski on the nursery slope under Pte Pete Hobson’s instruction, while the rest of us went to the longer and faster slope. There were some really difficult obstacles available on the faster slope for those who wanted to have more fun. After spending about four hours in the slope everyone was generally exhausted, often after plenty of falling, rolling and skidding, though not too tired to go for a McDonalds afterwards.

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It was good to see so many Adjutant Generals Corps personnel at Worthy Down and it was nice to see a few of my course mates and also some other Gurkha Staff & Personnel Service personnel. We had a late start on the competition by which time the weather was really hot. This meant we had to be careful not to set off too quickly. Even so it was not too long before we started to pass other teams, which was a morale boost and no doubt the result of all the training we did back in Germany. The Regimental Admin Officer kept looking at the time and gave lots of encouragement, as we were keen to get full marks on the tab. We crossed the finishing line in 2 hours 23 minutes, which was a good time considering the heat. Despite being tired we all enjoyed the prize giving ceremony and the evening BBQ, live band and disco.

I knew I joined the Staff & Personnel Service for a reason

The other thing I had been looking forward to was the Triple Crown competition, as it is one of the most challenging team events in the Adjutant Generals Corps and is the perfect time to meet friends who have been assigned to different places. Training for the Triple Crown was planned by Sgt Dave Williams and conducted twice a week. The training was good as we had a fit Regimental Admin Officer leading the team. The Cpl Pun – not a man you final team selection was not want to mess with made until the day before we were due to fly to the United Kingdom; fortunately I was lucky enough to be selected.

Back in the Regiment we have regular Detachment training; most of the time we seem to cover subjects that are important to us but that we do not deal with on a daily basis. The training we do is good as it enables us to expand our knowledge and gives us the confidence to deal with whatever is thrown at us. I especially like the fact that we can also tell the boss which subjects we feel we require training on and then cover those subjects as well. One thing I have heard from other Detachment members is that you will never stop learning new things in this job. When you think you have learned everything there will be a new system in place that needs learning. I think it is true; I remember in 1994 when I enlisted in the army, everything was done in hard copy and there were type writers in the Admin office. Nowadays there are no typewriters around and the system is very different. Most offices have JPA terminals and a lot of things are now done by self service users. It has been a busy Year and I have learned a great deal, but as a Detachment we have still managed to enjoy ourselves conducting various extra-curricular activities. I am now happy to deal with Sub unit administrative tasks without consulting other Detachment members and hope to be as competent as any other senior HR Admin soon. AKPP

Airlies staff at the Red Rat Race

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Welcome home at Airlies Welfare Centre

Unit Welfare Office Wow I cannot believe that I am writing my second journal article, the time has passed so quickly, in what has been a rollercoaster of a year for all. There have been some “Team Welfare” changes, due to the sudden demise of Sgt “Frank” Skinner, who proved he couldn’t keep up with the pace of the welfare officer’s personal rehab physical training. Frank we hope you get better soon before your discharge into Civvie street, we wish you and your family all the best for the future. We have been fortunate enough to have Sgt Lea “Broomy” Broomfield assigned to the welfare office to replace Frank. Broomy has taken on the role of welfare office Senior Non Commissioned Officer from Jan 12 and we are sure he will fit in well within the team. We are very happy to receive someone that we can understand and we do not need to translate any “Sprechen Sie Plymouth”. We have also had to say “Goodbye” to Cpl Webby “where are you” Webster, who once we managed to get him to stay in the office, was a tremendous help during Operation HERRICK 14. Webby also had a stint as the unit postie, on short notice and has generally been the office clown throughout his time with us, as proven at the SSAFA Teddy Bears Picnic. During Operation HERRICK 14 we were very fortunate to receive a uplift in both equipment and manpower. We had 4 civilian welfare drivers, Barry Payne, Rob Hirst, Gary Franklin & Phil Howard-Phillip. Phil tragically passed away in Aug 11 due to a sudden illness, which was a shock to all the staff in the welfare centre. Barry, Rob and Gary showed a great deal of dedication to their jobs as welfare drivers, they never moaned even when last minute or early morning tasking’s came up. Between them they have travelled over 42000 km (Rob winning the award for least amount of km driven) during the deployment, which is testament to the great service they provided our families.


Royal Wedding Tea Party

During the deployment we ran numerous activities each month for those left behind here in Hohne. These events were run for both the families and members of the Rear Operations Group which saw a lot of mixed attendance from both families and single soldiers. So as you can see there has been a lot of turbulence in the office however the two constants of me and Serina has ensured that the support and advice is still provided. The year culminated with Serina being presented with a General Officer Commanding (GOC) commendation by the Commanding Officer. We are now looking forward to 2012 and are already planning the next events with a deployment to BATUS in the summer. We will also be making changes to Airlies over the coming months which will both benefit and improve the services provided. DAF

From the Chaplain 2011 has been dominated by Operation HERRICK 14, which has made any chaplaincy record rather patchy. Since the return from Afghanistan the Regiment has been involved with homecoming parades and services of thanksgiving. The 3 Commando Brigade Service of Remembrance, Thanksgiving and Hope was held at Exeter Cathedral, along with a parade through the city. This was very well attended and 9/12 Lancers played their part with decorum and professionalism. At this service the address was given by the Bishop to the Forces, and the Chaplain of the Fleet led the Act of Remembrance. It was befit-

We also had two territorial army soldiers attached to us for a year, to assist in providing a top class support system to our families during the deployment. Sgt Malcolm Milne wasn’t with us for long before he was sent to the United Kingdom to work with the Rear Party in North Luffenham. Sgt Jimmy Ramsay was a valued member of the welfare team, organising trips, events and happily attending the majority of them. Jimmy will be greatly missed by us all and he has now returned to Scotland where we hope he looks back with fond memories of 9/12L. We would also like to say a sad goodbye to Lorna Noone who has been the PRI manageress since 2010 and has been instrumental along with Victoria Broadhurst for turning the shop into probably the best run shop in the Garrison.

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Padre Heather on a school visit

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the Embassy staff. I was also able to visit the British Cemetery in Kabul, which is, in effect, the only Christian burial site in Kabul. It was very moving as we saw the memorial for the first British soldier to be killed by a suicide bomb there ten years ago. On a rather more mundane note, I became “dog bait” for Volt, our attack dog at the time – I was no match for him! I was also able to join in our humanitarian aid visits to schools, which, as a former teacher, I found particularly interesting. One school has 5,400 pupils who attend lessons on a shift pattern. Another interesting aspect to life in Kabul is that many people have at least a little English, and it is much easier to talk with locals than it is anywhere else we are in Afghanistan.

LCpl Watkins memorial service

ting that the father of LCpl Watkins was able to join with other families of the fallen at this moving and impressive service. The homecoming parades of the following week were much more particular to 9/12 Royal Lancers and it was a pleasure to be able to join in with these, and enjoy the crowds that turned out to support the Regiment. During this week, we also visited the National Memorial Arboretum, where we held a brief service of remembrance for those of the Regiment (and its individual antecedents) who had given their lives in various past conflicts. Derby Cathedral was the setting for the Welcome Home service, on Saturday 26 November. The church was filled with serving and former members of the Regiment, who joined with local dignitaries to give thanks for the Regiment’s return from Afghanistan and to remember again the loss of LCpl Watkins. Thanks must go to the Canon Precentor and the Bishop of Derby for facilitating this service, which felt very much like a family occasion. Life does not often consist of big events but rather is more often a routine, centred on home, wherever that may be. The disruption to home and family life caused by the deployment on Operation HERRICK 14 is beginning to recede, and it would be nice to look forward to a year of “normal” instead. It is unlikely, however, that it will be quiet, given the pace of army life, but the camaraderie and mutual support shown at home and on deployment in 2011 will undoubtedly continue to be a feature of this Regiment in the future. Operation HERRICK 14 I joined 9/12 Royal Lancers at the end of January 2011, just in time (so it seemed) for many of us to leave on a flight operated by Air Tahiti but taking us nowhere so nice. After Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration I flew straight up to Kabul for the first three months of my tour. Kabul is in a very beautiful location and I was grateful for the opportunity to get out of Camp Souter on a regular basis to visit other camps, as well as to take services at the British Embassy in the Green Zone every week. Many of our troops are spread throughout the city, working alongside soldiers from other nations to mentor and guide the training of the Afghan security forces. In total there were over 800 British soldiers in Kabul, so getting out to visit people doing fascinating jobs in a demanding environment was most interesting. My own highlights were a mixture of spiritual and secular. Easter is always a special time for Christians and I was delighted that the metalsmith was able to make me a cross for the services. On Easter Day itself, KJSU and soldiers from 3DSR were joined by staff from various NGOs to celebrate the occasion and we had particularly memorable (unaccompanied singing from one of

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After my R&R, I started my second half of the tour with Joint Fires – 29 Commando Regiment. My first responsibility, however, was not with them but with 9/12L, as word came through that LCpl Paul Watkins had been killed. I joined with the Brigade Advisory Group Padre to take the memorial service in Goreshk, and then had the privilege of taking the subsequent vigil and repatriation services. Chaplains on tour are rarely with their own units so I was particularly glad that when 9/12L suffered such a loss, I was able to be alongside our young soldiers, who coped in a very mature fashion. Joint Fires had elements spread through the area of operations so I got to travel around quite widely. There were the usual experiences of no helicopters, broken helicopters, deranged helicopter pilots (so it seemed!) and many wasted hours, all of which meant that I was very glad to be able to travel on solid ground. Foot patrolling in the heat of the Afghan day is not anyone’s idea of a good time but I was glad to have experienced it, as the Regimental Sergeant Major of 29 Commando and I visited a remote new check point. Many flights later and I had seen the newest and most established locations in Helmand, as well as amazing pieces of technology in action. Alongside visits to Joint Fires, I was able to visit elements of C and A Squadrons as well, and see the great work they were doing in various locations in the area of operations. I discovered that traditional board and dice games are alive and well, and that I was lucky at Yahtzee, for a round or two at least! This was my first deployment. Afghanistan has had a troubled past and its future is by no means secure, but I was very fortunate to have been able to see two sides to the country on one tour. Above all, however, I am particularly grateful for the sense of family and belonging that there is with 9/12 Lancers. Throughout my time on tour, there was always a 9/12L presence (even in Kabul!), and that sense of mutual support in a tight-knit regiment contributed hugely to a very successful tour for all of us. HR

Catering Department 2011/12 has seen a busy period for the chefs of 9/12L. From catering support for Afghanistan pre-deployment training to rear party functions back home, the Catering Department has served the Unit well. Cpl Phagami & LCpl Grundy were both ready to offer their services in support of the Regiment in Afghanistan and deployed on Operation HERRICK 14. Various rear party functions were organized along with the welfare team from BBQs to Sunday lunches. The Catering Department has also been heavily involved with various charity events over the past year from the Teddy Bears Picnic to the Hohne to Kandahar Challenge which was organized

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or the United Kingdom then so be it. LCpl Gandidzanwa and Oldale deployed off on tour and LCpl Andy Heighton finally deployed with six weeks of the tour left.

Sgt Hanby – improvised catering

whilst the Unit was away. Sgt Pickard, Cpl Luckin, Pte Thapa & Pte Berry all did their bit to raise funds for the needy causes. October saw that time of the year again when the top chefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force came together to decide who is the best. The Combined Services Culinary Challenge took place at Sandown Park Race Course in the United Kingdom. Pte Berry once again put himself forward for the second year running. The event he chose to compete in was Junior Lamb & he showed off his skills to achieve a very respectful Certificate of Merit in the event. The end of the year was a time to welcome home the Regiment and the beginning of the annual chefs Christmas function season. The chefs all worked their socks off to support important Christmas festivities which culminated in the Royal visit of Prince Andrew & the Regiment’s Medal Parade. Some 500 soldiers & guests packed into Glyn Hughes to enjoy fine Canapés & round off a fine year of hard work. The coming year sees preparation for the Food Services CIW and vital catering support for deployment to BATUS. All in all we look forward to an equally exciting year in 2012 & remember “where you go, we go”. MRH

Motor Transport Troop This year started off as last year finished, busy and hectic for the Motor Transport department. Everybody still wanted everything now and this was compounded by the Regiment preparing to go on Operation HERRICK 14. As always Motor Transport troop provided with any means they could and luckily all timelines were met. If this meant drivers driving from one end of Germany

MTWO taking this vehicle thing a little too seriousl

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This left Motor Transport with a core of specialists to achieve the impossible and keep the wheels turning and the Regiment moving. SSgt Wright became the Motor Transport Warrant Officer, Sgt Horst Janusz was the lynch pin of the troop, Cpls Andy Smith and Phil Brown were the oracles down at the Hohne Garrison Driver training centre wearing the John Harrison Mac of power. Cpl Peters was in our troop when he was not in Fiji and there was not a natural disaster from preventing him returning such as a tsunami, volcano or earthquake. LCpl Loughman wasn’t sure if he wanted to be in Motor Transport and was here one week and away the next. LCpl Salih was also supposed to be in our troop but the Motor Transport Warrant Officer sent him on every course going and subsequently we did not see him for months on end. LCpl Wood jumped ship and drove for various officers and was never seen again, we only sent him to the NAAFI for some milk! Regrettably we said farewell to the following Motor Transport legends: LCpl Frank Skinner, Tpr war-rocket Joyce, oh we will miss his believable stories about pirates and naff tatts. Tpr marble-mouth Ford and his charismatic stories about Spain. We wish them all the best for the future and hopefully see them one day on Mons Moy. Towards the end of the year the when all the Regiment were back safely from tour we went straight in to Operation RESTORATION which has been no doubt covered by someone else in this journal. From a Motor Transport point of view this was a classic transport everywhere tasking which also included us controlling German busses, horse boxes and numerous hire cars for anyone fortunate to get one. Project DRIVES made Motor Transports life easier and enabled the Motor Transport Warrant Officer to track every vehicle 24/7 no matter where. Some troopers within the Regiment found this out at their peril and have been subsequently educated in their failings. Motor Transport reformed on the 16 Jan 2012 with new fresh faces and lads that can’t drive. That’s Regimental logic for you. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped the department through the year and wish you all the best. IMW

Rear Operations Group Fun During Operation HERRICK 14 the rear operations group based back in Hohne undertook numerous activities to improve mo-

The new MT bus

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rale. Fortunately Maj Barnett released the necessary funds to enable the Motor Transport Warrant Officer WO2 Wright to organise trips out which were challenging and fun at the same time. In May a road safety competition was conducted by Motor Transport and the skills and knowledge gained from this enhanced the younger members of the Regiment’s driving abilities. Tpr Hardy won this competition and was subsequently given a long weekColditz revisited end off for his efforts. On a serious note a drink driving campaign was carried out by Motor Transport with a twist. Instead of the mundane lectures the Motor Transport Warrant Officer got hold of the beer goggles from the German civil police and numerous lads were staggering around the tank park learning about the effects of drink driving and reaction times.

Rear Operations Group at the V2 rocket factory

Rear Operations Group at the VW factory

Staff Verdon escaping Colditz

Spot the dummy

Three trips were undertaken to the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg and over 40 soldiers got chance to test drive VW Touregs on the cross country circuit, undertake skid pan training in the VW Golf MK 5 and test drive the new electric Golf around Wolfsburg city centre. All this and visiting the VW factory were cracking for great days out. In Aug the Motor Transport Warrant Officer pulled off another coup and organised a trip for nine members of the Regiment to Colditz and the V2 Rocket factory at Nordhausen in the former

East Germany. The trip was well received by all and we even stayed in the castle overnight which was an experience not to be missed. Imagine to our surprise trying to break in to Colditz after a few East German beers. The tour around the old prison camp was fantastic and the soldiers gained from their experiences and learned a bit about the Second World War. Nordhausen was a more sombre trip but still exciting all the same. Walking in to the 33km of tunnels that were dug out by slave labour and then made in to a bomb proof factory for the V1, V2 and Dornier engines is an experience we all will not forget.

The Cavalry and Guards Club 127 Piccadilly London W1J 7PX The Cavalry and Guards Club has one of the finest Edwardian buildings in London with stunning views of Green Park that is ideal for: Weddings • Receptions Dinner Parties • Business Meetings • Lunches For further details and information please contact our Banqueting Co-ordinator on: Telephone: 020 7659 0905 Fax: 0207 659 0909 Cpl Brown looking busy

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Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration In February 2011, I deployed to Camp Bastion Afghanistan as part of the Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration Provincial Reconstruction Team to support Operation HERRICK 14. Having arrived in the middle of the night and after the initial settling in period I was put immediately to work. I was nominated as the Second-in-Command Provincial Reconstruction Team which meant that I joined the IC Provincial Reconstruction Team and the Quartermaster Staff Instructor from Small Arms School Corps and together we conducted various recces and planned 4 ranges; Zeroing Range (day 2), Heavy Weapons Range (day 6) Forward Operating Base Defence Shoot (day 6) and Compound Clearance (day 7). I was required to identify Range Conducting Officers’ (RCO’s) to run the relevant ranges and also ensure they had a range safety team who were also qualified in the weapon systems that they were to safety supervise. At the start of each day my team and I would load a Man truck with 4 heavy machine guns, 4 grenade machine guns and up to 6 general purpose machine guns plus tripods which was a workout in itself! Once a nominal roll was taken of all personnel due to go through the range, the personnel would then be transported to the necessary range. Prior to their arrival, I would ensure I was there to meet them whilst the range set up was taking place. Personnel already trained would fire a practice shoot on the relevant weapon system and then fire an Annual Combat Test Marksmanship (ACMT), either a ground mounted or vehicle based depending upon the individual’s requirement. Personnel who were not trained (and there were many!) would then be taken off to one side, trained and weapon handling tested on the weapon system to allow them to conduct their practice shoot followed by their ACMT. Teaching during the day is something we tried to avoid due to time constraints, thus opting to teach during the evening which often resulted in very long

The safety catch is here…..

days. All personnel on day 6 at lunch time would receive a LASUM firing and Red Phosphorus demonstration. At the end of the day, all weapons systems would be collapsed and battle cleaned by the range staff and sometimes by range users and returned to the store location. Ranges were used continually everyday to accommodate the personnel arriving and our team alone assisted in training and qualifying 8000 individuals over a 3.5 month period. It was great to see the Brigade Reconnaissance Force and other members of the Regiment coming through. During the course of the daily evening Orders Group, we would identify the numbers of soldiers that needed to be trained and tested for the following day. At the end of a typical day, I would go for a run, eat, shower and retire to my bed fairly exhausted. Invariably I would start watching a DVD but rarely managed to watch more than 20 minutes before I had fallen asleep! JPC Pale faces and fresh combats, it can only be Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration!

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The Colgate smile

Groundhog Day! The Brigade began trawling for Range Conducting Officers in January 2011. I was informed that I would be deploying 10 February 11. Immediately after arriving the daunting task of ensuring that every individual who arrived in Camp Bastion zeroed their personal weapons and completed the mandatory briefings was immense. In total just short of 10,000 people attended the ranges over a 12 week package with temperatures on average 50 degrees daily. I was lucky enough to have a great permanent range team which included members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Royal Marines; this made the job easier. It was particularly challenging to find the balance between the time constraints and understanding the pressures of the individual attending the ranges. For some it was the first time deployed in any theatre and for others it was their fourth time. The daily program would consist of beginning at 0530hrs and finishing around 2000hrs. The Range team would then bolt onto the night defence shoot on Day 5 and this ran without time off for 12 weeks. I believe that the whole Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration package was exceptional and that the lessons from there will not be forgotten, this will aid future deployments and make it easier for the departments facilitating the correct kit at the right time. When individuals go onto ranges in training such as military annual training tests week they may fire up to 120 rounds. We used approximately 1.25million rounds of 5.56mm. This will emphasise the scale of the day two ranges. Overall, it was an interesting role to play within the Brigades final deployment training and I learnt valuable points that I will pass on when conducting further ranges within the Regiment. CMH

Future Plans As reported elsewhere, the lion’s share of regimental Headquarters was corralled in Headquarters Task Force Helmand for the duration of Operation HERRICK 14. At first, seemingly part of the infantry master plan to disenfranchise those who might offer something a little less prescriptive to the campaign, little did we know that 3 Commando Brigade had actually hand picked the team for far more important jobs! As 9/12L Operations Officer I took on the deployed role of SO3 J5, subordinate to the Commanding Officer and Second in Command of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards I worked as part of a

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A very thin looking Ray Mears in Lashkar Gah

small Cavalry Corps responsible for the planning of future operations for the Task Force. The role provided a fascinating and demanding introduction to formation-level tactical planning; something that as a young officer you rarely get the chance to appreciate. Late nights and early starts were the norm, but these were all worthwhile when operations were delivered successfully; particularly when I knew 9/12L subunits were leading the fighting echelon across the line of departure. Thankfully headquarters life never developed into that dull daily routine associated with such posts; the glorious facilities of Lashkar Camp enabled suitable extra-mural activity (including a fine Cavalry Memorial service in the Barbershop garden) and a few more recces than were really necessary allowed us to see a little of Helmand and recall the more interesting days of Troop Leadership! CJM

Curries and Kukri’s: Operation HERRICK 14 with A Company 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles Continuing the recent trend to attach 9th/12th Royal Lancers Officers to the Gurkhas I was sent to join A Company 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles for their final exercise prior to deployment to Patrol Base 1 in central Helmand. With my father having served in the 1st/2nd Gurkhas back in the 80s in Hong Kong, during what is now referred to as the “basket ball years”, I arrived with a few useful phrases such as “ramro bundabus”, the Gurkha equivalent of “squared away”. The first thing that struck me, other than their incredible attention to detail and proud professionalism, was their dedication to high quality scoff. Our small patch of Salisbury plain lost a few plump pheasants which turned up in curried form several hours later, meanwhile back in Rolston camp the Riflemen had taught the Tidworth Chinese their special rib recipe and used the restaurant as a surrogate cookhouse.

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Celebrating Dashian

Mumbles bonding with the locals

Having been immersed in all things Gurkha I took some predeployment leave and prepared to fly out to Afghanistan in March ahead of the Company to join D Company 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment and assume the role of Intelligence Officer. The Para’s had recently conducted the largest improvised explosive device clearance of the Operation HERRICK campaign to date through the village of Char Coucha, which had expanded the claustrophobic security bubble around the patrol base and various check points. Their Intelligence Officer had taken great interest in the local community and forged many close links with elders and powerbrokers. As I arrived D Company was in the process of establishing a school and local police force as well as encouraging displaced residents to return to their homes. Clearly this was going to be a busy job. I had only just dumped my bags when an infamous one-legged elder, who essentially acted as a Taliban spokesman, dropped by for a cigarette and a rather tense Shura. Over the course of the six-month tour he would become well known to the Company as a canny operator who played his cards close to his chest.

was helped by the Gurkhas grasp of the language, but their jungle warfare training and legendary fighting spirit certainly did no harm either.

The month with the Para’s passed in relative peace with the ongoing poppy harvest occupying the troublemakers and providing fantastically colourful views across the Green Zone. The arrival of A Company 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles at the end of April heralded the start of the summer fighting season and frantic patrol base refurbishments. Overnight there was a shiny new gate, 10ft high grenade netting, a ping pong table, a gym to rival the one in Bastion, and a finely decorated bar almost exclusively selling monster energy drink. The company maintained an intensive patrol and operations tempo that kept the insurgents on the back foot and helped forge new links to the local communities. This

Spending six months in a 10km square patch of Green Zone could have become quite repetitive were it not for the daily antics of the local police I was responsible for, and the intimate relationship with the various rival communities who provided more daily scandal than a whole omnibus of Eastenders. They were particularly impressed when a few of us tried to experience their Ramadam fast and realised how impractical it is in body armour and 50°C. The evening meal we shared together is still one of the culinary highlights of the tour, which is saying a lot considering the quality of goat curry the Gurkha chefs were producing. The final month in Patrol Base 1 was particularly memorable as we caught two key insurgents, one of whom was a capable improvised explosive device maker whose signature devices had harassed ISAF troops for over a year. October is also the Hindu festival of Dashain which is celebrated with music, poetry, and regular visits to the temple. Somehow all these activities were conducted in Patrol Base 1 over a two-day period. This was a fitting end to an intensive but rewarding tour, it was a true privilege to serve alongside the Gurkhas and experience their unique approach to life. RHW

The First Battlefield Casualty Replacement on Operation HERRICK 14 Being the first Battlefield Casualty Replacement from the Regiment to deploy on Operation HERRICK 14 was quite unnerving as A Squadron hadn’t even completed their relief in place yet. All I knew was that I was replacing a Sgt from 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment and that he had been injured during his Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration package and not out on the ground.

Patrolling through the poppies

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First I had to fly to the United Kingdom then from there it was out to theatre via RAF Brize Norton. On arrival in theatre I was taken to the Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration village and put up for the night, then after day one I was ringing everywhere trying to find out who I was working with and where they were based. Eventually I found out I was going to be based in Camp Tombstone and was part of the Brigade Advisory Group working with Advisor 43 which was 3 Mercian Reconnaissance Ptl. After completing Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration I was straight out on the ground carrying out patrols from

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3rd day there the Afghan National Army were contacted about 500m North of our location and we were sent to help; on driving North we came under contact by underslung grenade launcher and it was the first time I had ever fired a weapon back in the 8 operation tours I have completed. It was also exactly 20 years to the day that I had signed on the dotted line which isn’t bad going. Life in the patrol base slowly started to get into a routine with patrols going out most days if the Afghan National Army could be bothered to get out of bed in a morning! Not all of them were bad though and we did have some good commanders who were pro ISAF and understood the bigger picture. We had a mixed bunch of people within the patrol base from Royal Marines, Commando Engineers, Commando Artillery and not forgetting the United States Marine Corps in the form of CHOSEN 51 who were a great asset to the patrol base with all the kit they could get there hands on including a model plane with all the camera’s on which I managed to crash straight through the Operations room door the day before I left for good. Ross Kemp also visited the patrol base and it was featured in his new series which focused on the Afghan National Army taking the lead in future operations and fending for them selves. All in all it was a great tour and very different to what I have do before i.e. working so closely with the Infantry but still trying to add some 9th/12th flair along the way like cooking lobster curry for everyone (thanks to the yanks for that one!). KJB

Teaching in Kabul

Sgt Baggy Bagshaw

Camp Bastion all the way to Lashkar Gah which is where the Afghan National Army Reconnaissance were based. We were making regular trips down to there and staying for a couple of nights each time but not much training was getting done as most of them were out on checkpoints around the city. We were also involved in Operation OMID HAF for which we spend 9 days on our feet carrying all that we needed for that time which didn’t include any luxury items as I was already carrying 70kg of kit which was almost my own body weight. After a couple of months it was planned that we would move to a new check point just on the eastern edge of Lashkar Gah to try and prevent attacks and supplies coming from the East. We moved into Patrol Base Jahan Zeb which to start off with was just 4 walls of a compound with the Afghan National Army each side of us as it was going to be a patrol base for them as well. We had the Engineers come in and build up the defences around the place and it was all hands on deck to put up all the tents and toilets and try to get some sort of half decent place to live. On our

As the Regiment got ready to deploy on Operation HERRICK 14 a select few were chosen to go and represent the Regiment in lots of different roles around Afghanistan. Three of the chosen were Sgt Jon Hobson, Sgt Stu Hollis and A/Sgt Mark Stevens. The job these lucky soldiers were given was to “go and work with the Americans all over Afghanistan” . As February came round the three were issued their equipment which would see them through the 6 months deployment and also got some vital information about the deployment, we would be working with Americans and Mongolians! On the 27th of February Sgt Hobson, Sgt Hollis and A/Sgt Stevens waved farewell to loved ones and set off on the long journey, final destination unknown. The long journey was made even longer when the RAF got involved on day two by

Baggy was used to these kinds of parties

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Regiment and Royal Marine Senior Non Commissioned Officer it became clear that his skills would be better used in a teaching and mentoring role with the Afghan National Army, so after a very short discussion Sgt Hobson moved to the heavy weapons wing teaching the Afghan National Army 50. Cal, And Sgt Hollis was moved to officer wing with the very difficult job of reintegrating the Mujahidin back into the Afghan National Army. With the ever changing face of the new Afghan National Army it was highlighted that the Afghan National Army where failing in certain areas, Anti-Tank being one such area so with his vast knowledge of anti-tank warfare and his equally vast knowledge of the weapon system (a 73mm recoilless rifle) SPG-9 Sgt Hobson rerolled once more to head up the anti-tank wing with the help of a Royal Marine, Capt Hammond and a section of Mongolian anti-tank experts as the SPG-9 belongs to the Mongolian army. As the tour went on we all saw massive improvement from all wings of the Afghan National Army, from not being able to protect their own ammo convoys or producing their own training programmes to the point where they were training themselves making amendments and carrying out complex multi weapon attacks, the biggest being a joint SPG-9 and 82mm Mortar day and night shoot all within 4 months; a massive thing to achieve for such a young Army. Sgt Hollis

informing us that we were not on the flight manifest for another 3 days... you’ve got to love the RAF. After sitting in Brize Norton for what seemed like an eternity we were finally on a flight out with a stop off somewhere in the Middle East. It was here (somewhere in the Middle East) that a very fresh faced Lt approached the three Lancers and informed them that they would be working with the Infantry Branch School in Kabul, well two of us would be! A/Sgt Stevens was told he would be going to Kandahar all on his own!! To say he was not happy was an understatement. After a short stop the three Lancers headed to Kabul for a brief and more kit issue. Once briefed and more kit was issued we were given our roles. Sgt Hobson was told he was the new Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant, Sgt Hollis was given a role in the heavy weapons wing and Sgt Stevens was told he would find out once he reached Kandahar. Once we arrived at our final destination Camp Julian, just on the southern edge of Kabul, we were given our very comfortable accommodation and given a quick tour of camp and a do’s and don’ts brief by the very excitable camp Regimental Sergeant Major who took an instant shine to Sgt Hobson!

With only six weeks to go until the end of the tour we were told to collapse the out stations and regroup back at Infantry Battle School Headquarters in Camp Julian which meant all three Lancers would be back together for the first time in six months. With all the man power now back in one place we were able to turn our attention to other areas within the Afghan National Army and another possible order of battle change to meet the requirements of the ever changing Afghan Army. It was decided that in order to keep the Army moving in the right direction the Afghan National Army needed a mounted Main Operating Base strike force and who better to start the ball rolling than three experts in mounted armoured fighting! Unfortunately time was against us and before we could get our teeth into the training it was time to hand over and start the long trip home. JH

Who, me?!

After just one week it became clear that a small order of battle change was needed. While Sgt Hobson was in his element as the Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant looking after 25 Parachute

I can see the pub from here

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ance Corporal Paul Watkins served with C Squadron 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s). He deployed to Afghanistan in early March as part of the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords), Brigade Advisory Group. On the morning of the 16 July 2011, Lance Corporal Watkins deployed with his Advisor Team and a section from their partner Afghan National Army Company, to an area west of Gereshk, in Central Helmand Province. The Advisory Team was conducting a routine patrol with their Afghan counterparts. Lance Corporal Watkins was in a fire support position, providing over watch for the foot patrol from his Jackal vehicle. As the Second in Command of his patrol team, he was providing both fire support and a command and communications link to his higher Headquarters. The foot patrol was nearing the end of their route and returning to Lance Corporal Watkins’ location when they came under contact from enemy small arms fire. It was during this small arms engagement that Lance Corporal Paul Watkins was fatally wounded. Lance Corporal Watkins joined the Army in September 2007 as a Foreign and Commonwealth soldier from Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa. He attended basic training at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester before joining the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s). A determined and intelligent soldier, he completed his special to arm training at Bovington, the home of the Royal Armoured Corps, before joining his new Regiment in Hohne, Germany. During his four years of service, Lance Corporal Watkins served on Operation TELIC 12, as part of a mentoring and training team to the Iraqi Airborne forces in Az Zubayr. In September 2010, he completed his Junior Command Course where he preformed to a high standard. He will be sorely missed by his Regiment. He leaves behind his mother Jill, father Rod and brothers Luke and Simon. Lieutenant Colonel William Fooks, Commanding Officer 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) said: LCpl Paul Watkins was absolutely someone you’d want on your team and by your side: tough, hugely dependable and determined yet compassionate. When all around him was frenzied activity LCpl Watkins would be serenely and reassuringly calm. And combined with his arid sense of humour and his disarming grin, a big problem very quickly became no problem at all. Born in South Africa he’d joined the 9th/12th Royal Lancers for the adventure. And by God did he find it, even in the relatively short space of time that he had been with the Regiment. This was a mature and vibrant young man, who lived his life to the full and was trusted and respected across the board both in Germany, where the Regiment is based, and out here in Helmand, by his ISAF comrades and Afghan partners alike. LCpl Watkins will be missed immeasurably by us all but never forgotten. But it is his parents, his brothers and his Advisory team that our thoughts and prayers are with at this time.

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A Lancer Girlfriend’s ‘See You Soon’ I don’t think anyone on the outside looking in can ever truly know what it feels like to have to say ‘see you soon’ to a loved one who is deploying to a conflict zone as dangerous as Afghanistan. Of course, ‘see you soon’ is the phrase of choice, as there is an intense need, particularly for the person left at home, to believe it really will be ‘soon’, therefore rendering the word ‘goodbye’ unnecessary as it is all too final. That being said, deep down there remains a part of you that thinks thoughts unspoken and knows the reality is that it could be ‘goodbye’…no matter how much you pray it isn’t…every morning and every night until it becomes part of your daily routine. Indeed, in the first few weeks of Chris leaving I experienced an insecurity I’ve now tried to erase from memory as it was totally out of character for me. I could handle the distance, but what I struggled to deal with was the unknown, and that first week I was beyond frustrated with myself for not having asked Chris more questions before he left. The reality was I had no idea what a deployment would entail, and at that point no friends who had ever been in an even remotely similar situation to be able to empathise or offer useful advice. When I looked ahead all I saw was a vast expanse of time without Chris being part of anything, and I suppose what scared me is that his absence would change everything and we would both forget where we had left off. The build-up to parting is excruciating enough, and that’s without confronting the elephant of ‘deployment’ that has been present in the room for at least the 3 months previous. Everything takes on a bizarre level of significance – your last food shop together, your last meal together…even something as seemingly stupid as the last time you watch him brush his teeth. The cold, hard fact is, where the person you love is standing, there is about to be a huge void that will remain unfilled until the day he returns. That void cannot be avoided or indeed ignored, regardless of how much you try and occupy yourself in the meantime. For me, the build-up was probably worse than Chris actually leaving – I suppose I reasoned that the sooner he went, the sooner he would come back. I reverted to such logic many times whilst he was away, most notably when I was lonely and the pain of missing him was not anaesthetised by the usual bubble bath and glass of white wine! For as difficult as the experience was, after the first few weeks were out of the way, ‘deployment’ actually became the catalyst for some positive changes too. Obviously any challenge requires pro-activity, so I used it as a period for self- improvement, and to invest time into all those in my life who mattered. Whenever the missing Chris began to dominate, I’d spend time with his family, aware they were missing him too and being with them somehow made me feel closer to him, wherever he was. In his absence, his sister actually became one of my closest friends and still is – if Chris had been at home I’d have probably never gotten to know her so well…and his mum would certainly have never gotten away with showing me his baby pictures! I am also extremely fortunate that my own career involves travel, and this ensured I was ultra-busy up until Chris was scheduled to have his R&R. Perhaps the hardest thing for me during those months though was the lack of communication. To his credit Chris called whenever he could, but instant messaging nowadays is paramount to any long distance relationship, and ours is no exception. I absolutely hated not being able to speak to Chris whenever I wanted to, and this at times made me so resentful and angry, especially when he was missing out on something and we couldn’t share it as we usually would. I think because

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of my own fears I became more conscious of trying to reassure Chris that I supported him, missed him and was waiting for him. I wanted him to feel secure in the fact that no matter how much was going on in the ‘civi-world’, there was still a place for him to be part of all that I was doing. This translated into me writing him an ‘ebluey’ Sgt Liburd and girlfriend Susanna every night of his deployment. Some nights this commitment was fairly taxing and meant I was still trying to be witty and keep his spirits up at 3am after a mammoth day of work myself (Bridget Jones!), but if I were to have that time again I wouldn’t do it any differently as I know it meant a lot to him. It’s also pretty cool to now be in possession of a knee deep pile of eblueys as a keepsake of our experience! In those months some people said “I don’t know how you cope with dating an army guy”, but for me it has never been about that – it’s about Chris, and being in the 9th/12th Lancers is not only a job to him, but the Regiment is also like a second family. I was with Chris when he learned of Paul’s death (during his R&R). That moment will forever be etched in my memory as I hurt so badly for him and all of the guys, but words were futile as the clocks couldn’t be turned back. In that instant, Chris of course was desperate to return to Afghanistan. That is difficult for any girlfriend to understand as it is the very last place on earth you want your partner to be. What I realised however was that they were Chris’s men out there and he would never be able to relax or sleep easy until he had fulfilled his duty and contributed to the safe homecoming of the squadron. That meant my role as a girlfriend was to respect what Chris felt he had to do, and assist him by putting my own need for reassurance aside. I felt sick waving him off again at Brize Norton and that drive back to Leicester was beyond awful. After spending a few days processing all that had happened during Chris’s R&R however, I realised I had to stop worrying, as worry never changes the outcome of anything anyway, and actually only serves to diminish the worth of living each moment for what it is. For as painful as it would have been to accept had the worst happened to Chris, I knew that if he didn’t come home again then it would not be in vain as he was doing something he loved. Such pessimistic thoughts are not what most of my girlfriends have ever had to contemplate in their relationships, so it helped that in the last few months of Chris’s deployment I spent a lot of my leisure time with a woman whose boyfriend is in the US Air Force and had also just deployed to Afghanistan. Both of us were able to share our ups and downs with one another, be that during crazily-early breakfasts prior to work, or indeed during late night chats that went on long into the early hours. Born out of our shared experiences is a very special friendship – having people who know what it feels like to be without the most important person in your world helps enormously. Getting through the experience of a deployment has made mine and Chris’s relationship stronger, and the key was loyalty regardless of circumstance. The letters from Major Doherty helped too as they gave all of us at home an insight into what our men were achieving, and that sense of quiet-pride is indescribable when it is your man putting himself on the front line.

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I was at my brother’s house when Chris finally sent me a Black Berry Message from ******* (see I’m learning army protocol!) signifying he was nearly home. It should have been a moment of great joy (after all, it was the first Blackberry Message in 7 months), but that night to my brother’s puzzlement, all I could do was cry! I think part of that was out of relief, but so too was it a moment I was free to let out all the emotions I had put a brave face on for so long. All the endless evenings alone, the special occasions apart, and the attachment to my Blackberry so as not to miss any calls had taken their toll. It is now half a year on, and although deployment is now in the history books for Chris and me, unfortunately for other families, their voids will forever remain painfully unfilled. So often people refer to the sacrifices our country’s soldiers make, and rightly so, but all too rarely do they recognise that behind every courageous soldier is a loved one who is making daily sacrifices too.

Tim Goggs

I just hope for all those out there yet to deploy, that 2012 is about ‘see you soon’ as opposed to a life-changing ‘goodbye’. Susanna Steptoe

Visit to Tim Goggs’ memorial stone outside Kabul My brother, Tim Goggs, died on 15 July 1992, aged 23, two days before my 21st birthday. He was working for the HALO Trust in Afghanistan, helping to clear landmines from a country that was recovering from ten years of Soviet occupation and deep in the throws of a civil war. On the day he was in an old soviet tank left behind when the Soviets departed, a T55, clearing a route just to the west of Kabul that would open up access to the markets of Kabul for some outlying and isolated villages. This is a small, very cramped tank and was fitted with a mine plough and roller. This is designed to clear an area of mines rapidly and at limited risk to the crew. Tim and two others (Julian Gregson, who also worked for HALO and the Afghan driver, Shah Mohammed) were ‘battened down’ when they hit, and detonated an anti-tank mine. This would normally not have been catastrophic because when the roller or plough detonates a mine then that component is designed to fail but to save the tank’s hull and crew inside it. This mine had however been booby-trapped and a 3m length of explosive rope (‘det cord’) led from that mine to two others buried deep under the road over which the T55 was positioned at the time. The result was a significant explosion under the T55 which instantly filled it with burning diesel. Tim got out quickly and relatively unhurt. Julian was struggling to open his hatch to get out and Shah Mohammed was badly burned and got out with assistance. Tim got back into the burning tank and managed to help get Julian past the back of the T55’s gun (this is very difficult as it is so cramped) and out of Tim’s hatch. All three men’s clothes were on fire and they were all fatally wounded. Tim died due to smoke damage and burning to his lungs, almost certainly as a result of going back into the tank. Tim was posthumously awarded the George Medal and my parents, my sister and I were presented the medal during a private audience with the Queen in 1993. Amongst the several hundred letters of condolence my parents received was one from the Acting deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, one Hamed Karzai. My parents visited Afghanistan with an ITV camera crew in 1996. They visited the site of the stone as well as some of the HALO sites (including Pol-i-Kumri where Tim lived at the

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The stone by the Salang Highway

time) and some of the projects that Christian Aid were running. At the time that part of Afghanistan was more dangerous than it is now, in the throws of a violent civil war. Whilst based in Lashkar Gah, I took the opportunity to organise a visit to see the memorial stone and the site of the accident. I travelled up from Helmand with three colleagues including a Royal Naval Chaplain so that we could hold a memorial service. For me it was a pilgrimage beset with reminders of the fragility of human life. After we had boarded the C130 Hercules aircraft that was to take us to Kabul there was an Afghan Army ‘Ramp Ceremony’ as the coffin of a dead Afghan Army Warrior was carried on and then secured by our seats, to be repatriated to the capital city. There was further delay as a seriously injured ISAF soldier was brought on with a full medical team to transfer him to the ISAF hospital at Kandahar, via where we were diverted. For me the journey had started 19 years ago. Since his death (as before it) Tim has led all of his family and lots of his friends to interesting and unexpected places and experiences. ‘Goggs’ is an unusual enough surname for people to notice the name-badge on my uniform and ask me if I knew Tim; this has even happened twice in the two months that I have been here in Afghanistan. We drove out to the stone via the new HALO Trust offices where we were met by their staff including Dr Farid Homayoun, who was in the HALO office 19 years ago when the accident happened; he is now the Country Director. We were briefed on the truly impressive work that HALO are conducting. They continue to clear huge areas of Afghanistan making them safe for people to live and farm and encourage refugees to return home. In their team they have ex-Taliban working alongside ex-Afghan Army in an environment where mutual trust underpins survival.

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As all will know that changed in the summer months when injuries and the tragic death of LCpl Paul Watkins meant that the team was full engaged as Casualty Liaisons and de facto Casualty Visiting Officer. Although the work in itself was simple it was at times harrowing and the long hours on the roads, supporting the families and still conducting the secondary recruiting, media and regimental heartland interaction kept the small team busy for the remainder of the tour. It was a learning process for us all throughout the deployment. No injury, no individual, no family is the same. What some prefer others dislike. For what we did there was no DS answer. We did what we could with compassion and common sense and hoped that was enough. Much credit must go to Sgt Broomfield and Sgt Stanley who bore the brunt of it but similarly A/Sgt Milne spent long hours on the roads with the families.

Time for reflection

I had expected to be able to prepare myself for the sight, to approach it from a distance but the reality is that we were suddenly right there next to it. It was very emotive to see Tim’s name engraved in the stone with it all in excellent condition. It is impressive that it has survived these 19 years in an area where traditionally anything standing upright is used for target practice. I was immediately struck by what a bustling place it was. The stone is right on the edge of a busy, noisy, hard-topped dual carriageway; the Salang Highway which is the main arterial route from Kabul to the north of the country. Set back from the stone and the road are numerous little shops selling a wide assortment of goods to passing traffic. A new mosque was under construction to cater for a growing local and passing population. All of this is testament to the development that has taken place, largely possible because of the de-mining conducted by HALO and is in stark contrast to the abandoned countryside that Tim would have seen. The tank was removed a few years ago.

Lessons were certainly learnt and best practice established where possible but also we managed to bring a 9th/12th face to everything we did. Through the media and the homecoming parades we managed to show that the Regiment does care for it soldiers and for our Regimental Heartland. Hopefully that should bear long term fruition as our return to the United Kingdom becomes imminent. If the success of the team can be judged then that judgement can only come from the families and soldiers affected in the long term by Operation HERRICK. Otherwise all I can say is a massive thank you to the team itself and the Rear Operations Group in Germany for their hard work and understanding. ST

I placed some flowers and lit a 7-day candle at the base of the stone. We gathered, to the fascination of the locals, clad in military uniform including body armour, around the stone and the chaplain donned his clerical scarf complete with medal ribbons and we then held a brief memorial service including hymns (much to the amusement of the locals) a suitable excerpt from the Qur’an for Shah Mohammed. My brother would have enjoyed both the sombre and the comic elements of that little gathering by the side of a busy, noisy trunk road. I always knew that I would visit this site and I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do so. I wonder where he will lead me next.

United Kingdom Rear Operations Group The United Kingdom Rear Operations Group established in St Georges’ Barracks, North Luffenham in March 11, with Capt Tripuraneni, Sgt Broomfield and Sgt Stanley. Sgt Milne would arrive a month later and in good cavalry-time fashion the Second-in-Command, WO2 Mawhinney arrived in September! Having no precedent and no formal mission much of what the team did was based around a simple premise. Whatever we could do to help the Regiment and most importantly injured 9/12L soldiers and their families we would do. For the first few months that meant little more than canvassing sports clubs for support, the initial admin for Operation RESTORATION 11 and meeting with the affiliated territorial army and cadets. SSgt Swain and the United Kingdom Rear Operations Group

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Sword 9/12th Royal Lancers Officer’s Sword

Pooley Sword has an outstanding reputation for craftsmanship and holds the MOD Contract for the manufacture & refurbishment of swords and lances. The family of our Technical Director joined Henry Wilkinson in 1843 and five generations of his family have worked and continue to work in sword making, up until the present day. This unique combination ensures that the quality and conformity to pattern of all Pooley Swords is up to, and beyond, that called for by the MOD specifications. Pooley Sword Limited is privileged to donate the Sword of Honour at: The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst The Territorial Army, Duke of Westminster Sword The Professional Qualified Officer’s Award.

Pooley Sword Limited

Highdown House | Shoreham Airport | West Sussex | England | BN43 5PB Tel: 01273 467277 | Fax: 01273 462461 | Robert Pooley Mobile: 07816 846484 Email: | Website: Accredited: BS EN ISO 9001.2001. OHSAS:18001.

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Operation RESTORATION 11


0000 people, £10000 raised, 300 soldiers, 4 parades, 2 new Freedom of the City awards, 1 regiment.

Whatever the numbers what cannot be in doubt is that Operation RESTORATION 11 was a huge success and a frank statement of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) standing within the Regimental heartland. The original decision to conduct homecoming parades in the manner of 2009 did not come until March 2011, with the aim to replicate and improve on the 09 version. Maj Barnett, Officer Commanding Rear Operations Group, and Capt Tripuraneni, Officer Commanding United Kingdom Rear Operations Group soon took up the reigns and draft plan. Following meetings with the councils of Leicester, Derby and Northampton, further meetings were conducted for mooted smaller parades in Chesterfield and Corby. The enthusiasm of Chesterfield Council and some gentle persuasion by the Regimental Sergeant Major soon decided that his home town would have a full blown parade and Corby would be forgotten. All was going smoothly until a small glitch with Leicester City Council. Without adding to a political debate it is enough to say that in the end the right decision was reached and the Regiment would have its parade...and moreso. The public support to the Regiment and the support of the Lord Mayor and Councillor Ross Grant meant that Leicester City Council reviewed the Regiment’s long standing application for the Freedom of the City – which was consequently conferred. It is never easy to decide when to do parades especially in the situation the Regiment found itself in with soldiers deploying and returning 6 weeks apart. Needless to say a decision on dates had to be made and it is important to note that they are Homecoming parades and therefore as much as about thanking the public for their support as for the public to welcome home returning soldiers. Therefore A Squadron had to be put through the mill a little with regards to their leave but in the end all agreed that it was worth it. The Regiment deployed to RAF Wittering on 19 Nov 11 and following two days of set up and rehearsal the Regiment took to the streets of Northampton on 22 Nov 11. Northampton was seen as the “banker” and so it proved. The parade route was the same as 09 and there were no concerns with format or the turnout of the public. Two days later followed the “big one.”

The Brigade Reconnaissance Force – too green to wear No 2’s

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24 Nov 11 is the date that Leicester City officially conferred the Freedom of the City on the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) in a ceremony involving the Lord Mayor and Maj Gen MJ Rutledge OBE. The estimated public turnout was 25000 people, a staggering display of support in very cold conditions. This was further underlined by the incredible generosity of the Nottingham Oddfellows Society who were the most generous hosts of the post parade reception. Once Leicester was complete much of the pressure dissolved, the Regimental Sergeant Major was happy with the standard of kit and drill, the Commanding Officer with his orders. The Derby Parade on 26 Nov 11 was unique for the moving Cathedral Service and the attendance of Mr Watkins, father of LCpl Paul Watkins. This was technically a Freedom of the City Parade but to highlight the Civil-Military relationship between the City and the Regiment the reception was excellently catered by the Regiment’s own chefs. The Derby Parade also marked the first time that Capt Harris and Fisher led the parades as mounted Lance Guard. When asked by an old infantry veteran why our parade was so much smarter than the recent Mercian the following reply seemed the most simple: “Well, we are Cavalry so we are just that bit smarter.” And finally to Chesterfield and the medals parade on 28 Nov 11. This was a fantastic way to finish because the number of families and ex members of the Regiment who turned out on a freezing day, led by the Regimental Sergeant Major’s own father, made this parade the most intimate and therefore the most satisfying. The Chesterfield Council had been fantastic throughout and considered the parade an overwhelming success – we have since been awarded the Freedom of the Borough for Chesterfield. Although the parades were over there was the small matter of clean up at RAF Wittering and then the hospitality of Leicester City Football Club who provided 200 VIP tickets for the Regiment to attend their game on 29 Nov 11. Hopefully the Swain and Neal families made good use of the spare tickets! And so Operation RESTORATION 11 came to an end with soldiers and officers rushing off back to work, on post operational tour leave and for some their last acts at Regimental Duty. A fitting end to a demanding, successful and at times tragic year for the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s). ST

The Lancers at Leicester City Football Club

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Officers’ Mess


ith the prospect of deploying to Afghanistan, 2011 promised to be an exciting year for all Officers. However with five different groups deploying, all with different organisations and in different locations, this did mean that the Officers’ Mess would spend a lot of time apart, or passing in the Mess like ships in the night, whether that be because of training for tour, the deployment itself, or Post Operational Leave. This considered it made it even more important for the Mess to make the most of any opportunity given to get together. And with some excellent excuses to celebrate, the Mess set about making 2011 a socially very enjoyable year, whether that be in Schloss Bredebeck or the check points of Afghanistan. With mission specific training almost complete and Operation HERRICK 14 looming a no holds barred all out impressive farewell bash was very much on the cards for the Mess. This time around it involved transforming Bredebeck into Dante Alighieri’s epic poetic journey from death, through hell and purgatory and on into heaven. This was an ambitious project set in motion and directed by the Adjutant, who had the subalterns working well into the night for the weeks running up to the 19 Feb 11. The stables became a mortuary, the cellar hell, the Anti-room purgatory and heaven while many young ladies were assured it was the first room on the left in the Ghetto, was actually the dining room. The lion’s share of the work was transforming the cellar, traditionally a dumping ground for generations of officers’ unwanted kit, into Charlie Luke’s realisation of Dante’s Inferno. This involved a lot a red paint, complimented with devilish artist flair by Cpl Patterson’s ghoulish graffiti, maggots, rock music, pigs heads and of course Charlie himself in all his glory as the prince of darkness to greet guests.

As the last great hurrah before disappearing from the social scene for many months, it was important for members of the mess to surround themselves with girlfriends and friends to comfort them through hell, party through purgatory and encourage to heaven, it came as somewhat of a surprise then when Lt Rory O’Shea took it upon himself to neglect the fairer sex and instead invite the best part of the Light Dragoons mess, throwing into question his interpretation of heaven. The night went exceptionally well, with a fiery start and poetic greeting from Lt Ed ‘The Grime Reaper’ Aitken and cool finish from the Ice Angel in heaven. The excellent food and company was complimented by a dramatic and unorthodox fireworks display by careering subalterns, and all danced on into the night. Despite Helmand province being a rather uncivilised place in comparison with the ornate surroundings of Bredebeck, the Officers did manage to create their own special atmosphere. Delete loos with inspection trays, insert silver bags (usually too hot to sit on as they’d been baking in the sun all day), delete large wood carved dining tables with 9 stick candelabras and insert rickety plastic tables with ‘Jase loves men’ carved into it amongst other obscenities, and most excruciatingly delete Moscow Mule and insert ‘cofftea’ (the warm, brownish water that can’t decide whether it’s coffee or tea) and you have a standard evening in Geresk for the officers of C and A Squadron. Hours were spent chewing the fat reminiscing about lost love, the latest contact and extravagant plans for R ‘n’ R and post operational tour leave. If you were lucky, at night you may even have caught a glimpse of Capt ‘Ivan Drago’ Greig walking back from the gym, or stumbled upon Lt ‘Chopper’ Aitken stargazing. With the officers of A and C Squadron in the privileged position of having each other to bounce off, which in all seriousness was excellent for morale, poor old B Squadon were stuck with their Afghan multiples and Marines. And although Capt Horsfall likes being on his own, even this recluse probably longed for a touch of Bredebeck magic – he did however come back bi-lingual, what in Dari or Pashtun you ask, no the language of ‘Bootneck’ and even now we are still having to endure his ‘Marine-isms’. That said, with all the Officers spread throughout Helmand, it is a tribute to the special bond created by such an emphatic mess life that on the odd occasion when brother 9/12th Officers bumped into each other, be it on the ground or in Camp Bastion, it truly was a fantastic feeling and excellent to see that the ethos

Looking after the attached arms

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Lt Tree-D looking as happy as ever’

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The Greigster learning to eat

Not entirely sure why these two are so sweaty

endured throughout what for most was an extremely testing 7 month tour.

An early start the following morning lead onto the officers vs. senior’s football match which can only be described as a rematch of the clash of the Titans. The officers where lead by Major Barnett but even with Paul Scholes (Capt Horsefall) on the wing and a solid midfield with Lt Robinson and Capt Luke adding some bulk to the team the Seniors where able to come up victorious wining the match. Following an enjoyable game all dashed back to the mess to get ready to serve the junior ranks Christmas dinner in ‘JBs’ dinning hall. After some flamboyant entertainment the officers were invited back to Sergeants Mess for drinks and to return their generosity the officers’ mess invited the seniors to Bredebeck for a demonstration of hospitality at its highest level. After some brilliant attempts at de-corking champagne and some potentially risky haircuts the seniors said there farewells’ and left the officers to continue the party.

On return from Afghanistan the mess life was reinvigorated with a number of events; after a most enjoyable dinner night at the Cavalry and guards club all attentions were focused on the much anticipated Officers mess party at the Kensington Roof gardens. The Doors swung open at 1930 and a cunning password kept the ‘rif-raf ’ away from the free bar. Attendance levels where high with 300 people enjoying the stylish setting of the roof gardens. As the evening progressed the tempo increased and everyone’s belief that they looked like Justin Timberlake on the dance floor rose to feverish levels. After the drinks tab was finished the club opened up and individuals found themselves being able to stroll around the endless maze that is the roof gardens and even with some members of the mess enjoying the hospitality of a wedding reception. The festivities went on late into the night and new romances were blossoming after some spectacular displays of cavalry style. Thanks to Major Richmond and Capt Kemp-gee for organising a spectacular evening. The final muscle movement for the mess in 2011 was Christmas week, which started with a carol service around the fire in Bredebeck with some brilliant singing and a beautiful solo by Lt Taylor Dickson.

Finally our Colonel-in-chief, his royal highness The Duke of York visited the Regiment in order to award the Regiment’s Operation HERRICK Medals. He had a hasty but beautifully presented lunch in Bredebeck prior to heading to the parade square and after learning of the hunting trip to Namibia he appeared disappointed not to be going as well. I am sure that the other ranks will agree that the officers put on an impressive performance on the parade square, all of which rounded off an enjoyable Christmas week by the Officers’ mess. EJM

Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess


ollowing the flood caused by the extreme snow conditions in January 2011, which caused the cancellation of the New Years Eve party, the Regimental Sergeant Major seized the opportunity to reinvigorate the property supposedly damaged during the flooding (more of a leak really). The property as a whole needed the loving attention it was going to get and after a few insurance claims (legal) and a dip into the Regimental chattels account the Mess began to look like a more appealing venue for its Mess Members, Guests and visitors. As a result of the hard work getting the Mess to an acceptable standard it was time to show it off in all its true glory, which saw the first dinner night with the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess’ members hosting the Officers. The evening was a huge success and one that should be revisited annually. Even WO2 (AQMS) Bruce managed for the first time to prove he could read

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Warrant Officers Lunch, Hosting 1United Kingdom DIV Regimental Sergeant Major

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Party time


Go on Kenny, give us a kiss!

the newly formed Mess rules. Well at least until the Officer’s departed. The Mess was also blessed with some high profile visitors starting with a Warrant Officers lunch and an invitation to the Divisional Regimental Sergeant Major WO1 Whiteway. The usual crowd attended and spent the majority of the time ‘bigging’ up the Regiment, which was the intention so the good news story could be passed to the General Office Commanding 1 United Kingdom Armoured Division. The second visit planned in the hectic social life of the senior’s cohort was the visit of our Colonel of the Regiment Lt Gen Short to present LS&GC medals to WO2 Broadhurst, who after some serious grovelling to wipe the slate clean was awarded the medal. SSgt Swain received his medal under normal protocol unlike his brother WO2 Swain. Finally Cpl Browne was invited to the Mess to receive his LS&GC. The Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess’ has now had its history re-written and updated to accommodate various visits from Potential Officers and Potential Junior NCO Cadres. The idea behind these type of visits is to enlighten personnel into Regimental ethos and traditions so they can aspire to join the Regiment and become members of this prestigious mess (where the business gets done).

What you looking at?

During the deployment on Operation HERRICK 14 the mess remained open, even after many attempts by NAAFI to close it. Remaining on Rear Operations Group were thirty plus members and so the battle to maintain the Mess was a necessity, which the NAAFI could not dispute. During this time the Mess had more informal functions which included Pub Nights, enabling the

The old Mess manager on the verge of a heart attack

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members to dress down, however Mr Beuttell was later to realise trainers is still not an option within the Mess. Also a Games Night against the Cpls’ Mess was organised and well run, if not only for the fact the Senior Non Commissioned Officers were the victors. On return from Operation HERRICK 14 the Mess opened its doors once again for some serious social activities and within week one of our return a Pub Night was organised to mark the return and get the members back to their usual drink fit standards. As a necessity and in pursuance of excellence the Warrant Officers once again held a Warrant Officers’ lunch to show those junior to us the levels of pain we have to endure to always be one step ahead of the game. The most memorable experience during this lunch was not WO2 Swain’s bottom slapping and dart throwing ventures, but WO2 Galley’s port toast lasting 15 minutes. A well executed Christmas Ball by the AQMS and his team was to set the ball rolling for the remainder of 2011 and the approach into Regimental Christmas week. This year the ball was held in the target factory canteen (I had my doubts when I heard the word, “canteen”, also). The evening consisted of a Drag Queen (I seriously started having doubts when I heard, “Drag Queen”), Fire eaters, Christmas Choir, band and a very expensive prize draw. It was only when I had the third concern did I request the company of the AQMS asking why did he need an extra €4000 to offset the overspend incurred. All my concerns aside, it was a fabulous event and venue, well worth every penny.

Christmas week began with the Senior Non Commissioned Officers beating the Officers 7 – 4 in the annual football competition, with the referee overheard saying, it should be more like 14 – 4 (at half time). A quick change parade ready to greet the officers into the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess for a swift one before being summoned to the Soldier’s Christmas Lunch. Then back to the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess for the Officers to sing their way through the front doors with a festive carol, only on this occasion it was two carols due to their original attempt being slightly below average. The Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess were kindly invited back to Bredebeck with lead singer WO2 Beuttell showing his own rendition of ‘Old Stable Jacket’, unfortunately later on in the night this powerful ballad was ruined with WO2 Swain’s own rendition of ‘Ice, Ice Baby’. Although it has been a hectic year with Operation HERRICK 14 the Mess has maintained its high values and socialised exceptionally well. The mess is looking immaculate and this is down to every mess member playing his part in upholding the traditions of the Regiment and taking a keen interest in the heritage of the mess. The future is looking bright with mess functions forecasted out for 6 months, with the next event being the dine out of Capt Rickett and Capt Styles. CRWE

The Corporals’ Mess


he Corporals’ Mess started the year with a new squadron in charge; the mighty HQ Squadon for the first time since the Regiment has been in Germany. HQ Squadon held the responsibility for 18 month’s, the longest time on record. The PMC endeavoured to revive the Corporals’ Mess and make it more like a Mess instead of a youth club, by modelling itself on the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess. The committee also held a vote pushing to bring in Mess Kit we now have mess dress as well as some new mess rules. Despite the busy year, the PMC has managed to organise numerous event, namely the dining in of the new Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Whitehead, which was an outstanding event with all the NCOs in Mess Kit. A good night was had by all especially

Let the games begin

The new Mess Kit in all it’s glory

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Cpl Thompson looking surprisingly at home

Mr Vice (LCpl Smith) who sported a very sore head in the morning. Next on the agenda was a very entertaining, games night/ pub night with a casual feel about the event. We then move to the next function which was the Christmas ball, one of the biggest events of the year and since as we all know “No Plan Survives First Contact” we were resigned to holding the function in the Mess since the original venue planners decided we were unable to use it at the last minute. The Christmas ball was one of the best functions of the year even if I do say so myself. I would like to thank the Christmas committee for an excellent night and their ability to turn last minute dot coms into a Christmassy winter wonderland to delight young and old… Even the extremely cheerful Cpl Mark (Fraggle) Fackrell. Last but not least on the functions list, the Cpl’s mess were invited to the dark side (Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess) for a games night; unfortunately age outwitted the youth.

Cpl Brewster surprisingly with his mouth closed

As PMC I enjoyed my time in that post and I had a very strong committee behind me which has made my tenure so much easier. I handed over to Cpl Smith in September who carried on with normal duties of the PMC and has voted in the ordering of a new piece of silver to commemorate Operation HERRICK 14. We very much look forward to the next year and to the new and upcoming events. RNT

Lancers Ladies and Young Lancers


ow quickly time passes is invariably determined by the level of enjoyment and to look back on another year, requires a moment to reflect on so many events and activities, all of which have been both memorable and indeed moving. The opportu-

nity to capture and preserve some of these key moments, was achieved in The Lancers Ladies Regimental Calendar; a notion conjured up during one of our monthly C.A.M.E.O (Come And Meet Every One) coffee mornings, held in The Lancers Retreat.

Big smiles all round

Bavarian fun

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Juliet Fooks

The year that was to bring Operation HERRICK 14 and the absence of loved ones deployed, presented The Lancers Ladies with the ideal opportunity for the first ever Young Lancers Exercise. Organised by HQ Squadron, under the direction of Major Barnett, the weekend was tremendous, so much so, people are still talking about it and want it repeated next year. 2011 also included successes for the Young Lancers, whose achievements were recognised across the Garrison. For example, Alex Rickett, in year 5 of Montgomery School, was presented with his Bronze Medal for Monty Merits, having already received his Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Certificates. This recognition was awarded for doing over and above the normal expectations of the school, as an outstanding achiever.

the Rear Operations Group and the families. This lifted everyone’s morale especially when he made a poignant presentation to the parents of Lance Corporal Paul Watkins of the Elizabeth Cross. Throughout the tour, the Officers’ Mess provided the perfect setting for some splendid social occasions; from picnics to parties and garrison gatherings. One example was the annual drag hunt with the Niedersachsen Meute – the Lower Saxony Hounds – and another was the Treffpunkt Fermate – the hunting horn blowers of the Hannover British Society, which brought us closer together with the local German community. Then finally, came the end of Operation HERRICK 14 and the celebrations that followed in November with Operation RESTORATION – the homecoming parades in Northampton, Leicester, Derby and Chesterfield. Those of us lucky enough to attend and witness a wonderfully memorable experience, could fully appreciate just how much the British public appreciated the sacrifice and courage of 9/12L.

Then came the Royal Wedding in April, which had us all cheering with street parties sprouting on every corner. These celebrations not only brought us together but stretched as far and wide as our loved ones in Afghanistan and everywhere union flags could be seen flying. May proved to be a big fundraising month. With spring fairs and “Floh Markts” (flea markets) in The Roundhouse and on Hoppenstedter Strasse. Once again there was money donated for good causes, raising both the profile of the Regiment and equally, recognising the many talents and skills of all ages and abilities across the regimental family. The summer blessed us with a visit from the Colonel-in-Chief, HRH the Duke of York, to Hohne where he spent the day with

So to conclude my final contribution to the Delhi Spearman, this new year marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne) in June and the Olympic Games in London from July to August. It promises to be quite a year to end Will’s command and without doubt our best two years to date. We wish you all health, happiness, success and good fortune. And remember: Carpe Diem… God bless you all. JSF

Regimental Welfare Office


uring Operation HERRICK 14 the welfare team organised and took part in many Regimental and garrison trips/ events. The events were designed to cater for all the loved ones and soldiers left here in Hohne and the welfare team certainly found it a challenge to try to accommodate everyone. The events started off in March, the first being a Mothers Day lunch at Gradierwerk in Sulze. The day consisted of a 3 course meal, disco and a one off chance to drink as much as they wanted (although we

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didn’t tell them beforehand that it was non-alcoholic drinks only!). We also held a lunch for Easter in Glyn Hughes restaurant, which included a bunny hunt and chocolate bunnies for all. On 29 April we all celebrated the Royal Wedding by organising a Tea Party. This event was extremely well attended, with over 120 people, which created a great atmosphere. The hot weather helped with bringing both families and single soldiers together in celebrating with a traditional street party, sandwiches, cakes

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Go get em girls

and of course the very British pot of tea, although not everyone chose the tea as their drink of choice! This was an enjoyable and sociable occasion for all. The SSAFA Red Rat Race was held on 01 May, which saw the garrison community come together to raise funds for SSAFA. This event was run simultaneously with a Red Rat Race in Camp Bastion. There was a good representation from the families of 9/12L, who took part on the day but also from the Rear Operations Group who helped out as markers for the routes. The Big Curry lunch was on 06 May and was organised by the welfare team to raise funds for the Army Benevolent Fund and the Regimental Association (RA) charities. The curry was a tremendous and tasty effort by Pte Thapa of 9/12L and helped us to raise £146.67 for the Army Benevolent Fund and €150 for the Regimental Association, due to those who gave generously (railroaded or not!). There was yet more fun to be had at Meuden Wildpark on 14 May, where a brave (and some not so brave!) team tackled the Tree Climbing Trek around the park.

Sgt Chollerton looking shifty

The future Lancers

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How twee

HRH The Duke of York holds court

On 22 May we held our first Sunday brunch at Anna’s Café in Bergen. The Brunches proved extremely popular, gaining momentum and popularity each month, as it helped to break up the monotony of the weekend and offered a reduced price continental breakfast. Also a first in May was a Children’s Disco, which was held in the Corporals’ Mess and was such a great success that it also continued to grow in popularity.

in our very own garden. We catered for all, with a bouncy castle and beer on offer (age dependant!).

June was full of fun for all with the usual Come and meet every one, Coffee Morning and Sunday brunch events taking place, but also a chilled out afternoon in Airlies welfare centre with a BBQ was held on 17 June. The BBQ was open to both families and the Rear Operations Group to enjoy an afternoon in the sun

The biggest event organised by the welfare team in June was a Regimental Fun Day, this was again for all families & the Rear Operations Group to enjoy together and was completely free for all. A mix of fun inflatables for all ages, an entertainer and a BBQ made for a fun packed, busy day with the great weather again helping to get people out of the house. The attendance was

We also had the opportunity to have another meal at Gradierwerk restaurant in Sulze. The meal wasn’t to everyone’s taste with a whole roasted pig (teeth included) on the menu, but it was another enjoyable afternoon in the sun.

Don’t jump!

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fantastic and the day was a great success with a lot of very tired children and adults at the end. The second largest event in June was the Lancers’ Ladies & Young Lancers’ Exercise, held on the weekend of 18 June. This event was organised by Capt Rob Millar and the Rear Operations Group, it was a challenging task as this was the first ever joint exercise. Capt Millar managed to cater for everyone and kept all those who attended busy with drill, an assault course and paintballing to name but a few activities. The weekend was rounded off with a BBQ and prize giving at the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess, attended by family and saw everyone awarded with a group photograph and “Certificate of Achievement” for all their effort. July saw another busy month of the usual events, which also included a trip to Heidewitzka (indoor play centre), a shopping trip to Bremen and a Sudsee beach & picnic day. The garrison also held “Party in the Park” (which unfortunately was a very wet day) and a trip to Hansa Park. Also in July we had the Brigade Commander’s visit to meet and greet the 9/12L wives. This was held in Airlies with an American themed lunch provided (due to it being American Independence Day). Once again the welfare team organised a Regimental Fun Day, which was held on 27 July, where the families and Rear Operations Group had the honour of our Colonel-in-Chief, HRH The Duke of York visit. The day was again organised as a free event for all and was packed full of activities like paintballing, a wide selection of inflatables, bouncy castles and an entertainer. The food was a BBQ and was another great effort from the chefs from Glyn Hughes restaurant.

August was a quieter month due to families going back to the United Kingdom for the Summer Holidays. 3 main events were organised to keep those who remained in Hohne busy and there was also a garrison fun trip to Serengeti Park. The ever popular children’s disco was run at the start of the month, followed by another brunch and lastly ten pin bowling in Soltau. The bowling saw some “friendly” competition occur between 2 age categories, these were won by Victoria Broadhurst for the adults and Mollie Noone for the children. September had brought back refreshed families from the summer break and we cranked the activities back up. There was the usual ‘come and meet every one’, Coffee Morning, children’s disco and the last BBQ of the year in Airlies. These activities were accompanied by a car boot sale on the regimental parade square and 2 garrison run events, the “Rats Dessert Competition” and a trip to Luneburger Wildlife Park. The welfare team held their first weekly “Homecoming Brief ” on Wednesday 21 September, these went on straight through to Wednesday 12 October. October was the last month of events planning for the welfare team and saw the start of the majority of our loved ones returning from Afghanistan. A Sunday lunch was held at Glyn Hughes restaurant, a brunch and the usual ‘come and meet every one’, coffee morning was combined with the SSAFA Big Brew, which raised €268.79. Lastly we held a children’s Halloween party, which was very well attended and ended our run of events organising for Operation HERRICK 14. It was a very busy time but we would like to say “Thank You” to everyone who supported the welfare team throughout the tour.

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Light Role Reconnaissance Commanders Course


he Light Role Reconnaissance Commanders Course based in Warminster, is 10 weeks long with 2 weeks spent in Brecon and 1 in Longmore. The first couple of weeks consist of nightly navigation tests a painful amount of running and tabbing, military in tests and a wide range of theoretical and practical lessons. By the end of the second week the course had been culled from 42 down to 16 with exercises in the latter weeks still to claim 2 more with injuries. The camera week was a slight rest bite with our focus on shutter speeds, low light levels and some technical photographic work. However the Sgt Major had other ideas, and not wanting us to soften up too much kept us pushing with some pre dawn runs and unarmed combat sessions. We learnt quickly that ‘one man’s jog is another man’s sprint,’ a phrase that started off the morning sessions with a few grins, evaporating well before we reached the first hill. Then it was into a relentless 7 weeks of exercise, where we conducted a wide range of functions including raids, close target reconnaissance, instant action drills, urban observation posts and the ever friendly sub surface observation posts, taking it in turns to hold bags or bottles when you could hold on no longer! There were some memorable insert tabs carrying over 85Kg, where a quick glance and the man next to you was an assurance that it wasn’t just you feeling the weight! Each week was focused and specialised in particular areas to develop our skill sets. The estimate process was vital and when presenting courses of action to the Commanding Officer, every base needed to be covered. This ensured a detailed build up with the reports and products from close target reconnaissance, observation posts and the triggering of targets crucial in order to maintain and develop the battle picture. The information and intelligence gathering combined with accurate and timely assessments developed this further.

Lt Robinson playing where’s Wally

We were mentally tested throughout particularly on planning and the delivery of orders which were always done on limited sleep, fatigue and heavy eye lids always seeking to claim another victim. Mental grit and physical robustness was often tested when the weeks exercise came to an end, and a run without a set finish line kept us digging deep. Although it was tough, it was incredibly rewarding and the live firing range week stood out as a particular favourite. Whilst we may have got cold, wet and covered in mud it was great fun and drilled home crucial individual skills as well. The course finished on a 9 miler with a weighted stretcher thrown in for the last mile. Because the Para’s made up just over half the remaining course, competition intensified and it became ‘Hats’ Vs ‘fancy dress hats’, sadly but unsurprisingly they sneaked it on the line. AJWR

A Cavalry Sergeant On The Infamous Platoon Sergeants Battle Course


rior to leaving Hohne to attend a course that I could only imagine would resemble “Hell” frozen over, I was understandably nervous! As I turned up at the gates of the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Brecon, the gates that make every Infantryman shiver, I was engulfed by a hanging black cloud, it didn’t move once during my course, I could only assume Sennybridge has its own weather system. I was the only Cavalry soldier in my platoon, a little intimidating due to the fact that normally we have vehicles to carry our kit around (which we take for granted by the way). In Brecon you carry every piece of kit on your back, it soon became clear that ‘black taxis’ were the only form of transport. After a mile or so the weight started to hurt, after 10 miles or so I can only describe the feeling as carrying an Olympic steak eating champion over hills, never ending hills, for miles at a time. The phrase ‘licked out’ came out on more than one occasion as well as ‘are we there yet?’ As the course progressed we started to carry out different command appointments; these consisted of Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Radio Operator, 51mm Mortar Man etc. Whilst carrying out platoon or company attacks we took the role in battle but there was also the battle preparation and administration that had to take place, model building, orders, kit checks; all time consuming and meaning sleep was a nicety we did not see much of.

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The fitness side of life was hard; amongst the relentless field exercise we had to complete a ‘2 Miler’ in full kit followed by an 8 mile combat fitness test with 25 kgs over hills (especially testing due to my lack of hill training in pan flat Germany), however during my time on the course my fitness definitely picked up, the Infantry call it TAB’ing fit. A big test when we had gained strength was to endure the dreaded ‘3 miler’ which for the first 1.5 km was up hill (Gift) followed quickly by a further 5 miles with every piece of kit you owned and any extra platoon kit that was around at the time. Anyone who went ‘man down’ and couldn’t handle it anymore was then yours to carry also (along with his kit) to ensure the whole platoon crossed together at the finish line. One Tactical Advance to Battle (TAB) I will always remember as if it happened yesterday was a 16km insertion TAB carrying the weight of the world (180lbs+) over endless hills and straight into a platoon attack, no comment is necessary. The grand finale was the notorious 24 km Fan Dance. I now think everyone in the army should attempt this at least once, but at the time, loaded up with haribo and all the stronger for a pint of guiness the night before I just wanted it to end. You feel unstoppable until you get to the stretcher at the bottom of the rather large and steep slope. 4 km later at the end of the test you definitely feel a sense of achievement, the weight physically and literally off your shoul-

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Despite all the tabbing, there was always time for a bit of artistry

ders, knowing you have passed the Fan Dance, the only dancing that was involved was in the bar later.

about myself, the Infantry and what your can do if you push yourself and take things day by day.

Overall the course was great fun through my rose tinted specs. You always remember the good bits and consign the rest to the dark bowels of your memory, regardless, I learnt a great deal

Senior Ranks get yourself on it.


Pre Parachute Selection The mission of Pegasus Company is take students beyond their own appetite for challenge, testing their physical and mental robustness and in order to asses their commitment and suitability to serve with airborne forces. I arrived in Infantry Training Centre Catterick on the 18 Sep 11 with the right attitude and much anxiety of what was coming my way having volunteered to do P Company. The intent, ‘Candidates will run, march and carry dead weights over distances of between 1 and 20 miles across undulating terrain. Any candidate without the necessary physical fitness, mental robustness, determination, self discipline and motivation will fail the course’, we were told on the first brief by the Officer Commanding and SSM Pegasus Company. The course is divided in 3 Phases: Phase 1 Screening first Monday and Tuesday, Phase 2 Build Up 2 ½ weeks progressive physical build up and infantry skills and Phase 3 Test Week the Eight Tests. We were treated really well and given instructions of the

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next day’s events which were a comprehensive 2 day Selection process of the personnel fit to begin the course. Day 1 of the selection was a Personal Fitness Assessment on an undulating terrain less that 9 min 30 secs and straight after Trinasium training on a very windy day. I wasn’t worried about the Personal Fitness Assessment having got sub 8 min Personal Fitness Assessment on the day unlike the trinasium that I was worried about because I had never had a chance to practice or even use one. The Aerial confidence test passed quickly as none of the candidates seemed to have a fear of heights. Day 2 and the first event was a 10 mile combat fitness test march which was finished in less than 1 hr 50 min. Having passed the selection process, I began my Phase 2 build up training for the final test. This came as a shock to the body with 12 para-trained personnel taking us through very tough training, which included marching 4 times a week with a 16 kg bergen all at a distance of 10 miles in under 1 hr 50 min. The famous hill repetitions on the Land of Nod and the four horse training was good fun. Other progressive training included tri-

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nasium training, the steeple chase, Officer Commanding Fitness tests, endurance circuits training and boxercising. We grazed through it with aggression, drive and focus in order to gain the competence to be part and parcel of the airborne forces. As hard as it got, I remembered the joke from my Regimental Admin Warrant Office, WO2 Nolan, ‘Do not come back if you fail’. Failure was never in my mind at any point and in everything I made sure I was placed in the top 3.

Finally, Phase 3, test week approached. See table below for tests. On the Wed 12 Oct 11 on the Parade Square in Helles Barracks, I was issued my maroon beret, congratulated for passing Pegasus Company and welcomed to the airborne forces. JM

Phase 3, test week. The tests were as follows: EVENT 10 Miler Trinasium Log Race Steeplechase 2 Miler Endurance Stretcher Race Milling

DISTANCE 10 Miles – 1.9 Miles 1.8 Miles 2 Miles 20 Miles 5 Miles –

TIME 1hr 50m – – 19m 18m 4hr 30m – 60s

TEAM Individual Individual Team Individual Individual Individual Team Individual

BURDEN 16 kg + Rifle + Water – 60 kg between 8 people – 16kg + Rifle + Water + Helmet 16kg + Rifle + Water 79kg between 4 people (16 in team) + Webbing + Helmet –



s the German winter started to show its face it was time for the Cambrian Patrol team to start their training. As team manager, Sgt Davies organised a two day exercise to get everyone used to being back in the field. Cobwebs were quickly blown away and we all went back to basics, revising patrolling techniques and infantry skills. It was just a shame that the time to practice wet-dry drills never did materialise!

where the directing staff carried out more kit checks and delivered an initial set of orders. Time was then given for me to write a set of orders for the team. The remainder constructed a model and distributed ammunition under the guise of LCpl Fullard. Orders delivered we tried to remain on our feet as we set off down a muddy track and onto transport that would take us to our starting point.

After a few more days training in and around camp the whole squad moved over to the United Kingdom. We decided to stay at Bovington in order to acclimatise to more dramatic terrain and not move straight into the patrol having driven from Germany. The coastal path around Bovington provided a great area to stretch the legs and work up a sweat. This time in the United Kingdom also allowed us to finalise the eight members that would start the patrol and make sure our kit was ready. This involved packing everything, having a kit check before repacking our kit. This got mildly tedious after the fifth inspection!

As the bergans were hauled off the back of the Land Rover it became apparent that there were few directions in which to travel but up rather large hills! It was great to see that nobody was fazed and we made good progress as we carried our 40kg bergans to the top. This was very much the nature of our first day. Impromptu breaks often materialised as another person was swallowed by a bog. LCpl Fullard was kind enough to give everyone a 15 minute break as he wrestled free from one particularly nasty bog encounter! As night fell on day one we were to carry out a close target reconnaissance (CTR). In order to gauge as much information as we could about the enemy, Cfn Billington and Tpr Wilson rummaged around in deep wet grass. This just

We left Bovington at 2300hrs which got us into the Brecon Beacons for 0200hrs. We were hurried into a sodden woodblock

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The team looking fresh before things got wet and wild

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Tpr Ordinando pleased to be at the top

guaranteed that after a day in constant drizzle they were now completely soaked through. We pushed on through the remainder of the evening and by dawn were at the next checkpoint. News was delivered to us that we had to get ourselves across a body of water but there were no boats available. We quickly stripped out of our combats, donned a full Gore-Tex outfit and followed the example set by Tpr Taylor quickly swimming across the reservoir. We used a woodblock over at the other side to get our bodies warmed through again and re-dress ourselves in some dry combats. This was a major psychological barrier crossed and everyone was in high spirits as we set off into the dusk of day two.

This time we were informed of the whereabouts of an enemy position that we were to assault. With live general purpose machine gun fire overhead and no end of pyrotechniques the whole team dug deep and “destroyed” the enemy with bags of aggression and professionalism. As we were lead away and down a track by the directing staff there were hints about the end being in sight. Unfortunately the rumours of what awaited at the final checkpoint were true-a 2km casualty evacuation. I was taken away from the remainder of the team and informed to lie on a stretcher. My legs were taped together and the simple orders to carry me down a road were delivered. Tpr Taylor stepped up and provided great leadership at a time when it was truly needed, motivating everyone right to the finish line.

Through the night of day two we covered lots of ground. Tprs Goodwin and Bale came into their own and set the right example of how to crack on when times were often hard. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity we reached another checkpoint.

It was a great feeling to arrive at the final checkpoint. Everyone had dug deep and felt a great wave of satisfaction. Now all that remains is to look forward to Cambrian Patrol 2012! TJB

Lancers in Kenya


leven 9/12th Lancers deployed to Kenya, attached to D Squadon, Royal Dragoon Guards, to act as enemy forces to the Second Battalion Fusiliers battle group during Exercise Askari Thunder in November. It was an excellent opportunity, for some new additions to the Regiment to get a chance to exercise in a harsh and different environment than they were used to, and being able to hone those all important dismounted skills – and soon the group became a feared and respected enemy for The Fusiliers . The rainy season was well and truly under way by the time the Contemporary Operating Enforcement Force arrived, with the main camp outside the town of Nanyuki, looking and feeling more like something from the Western Front than tropical Kenya – however spirits were not dampened and everyone remained excited about what lay ahead. The time in Kenya was split up into three phases, with the first the 9/12th travelled north and split up to conduct some company level dismounted ranges up to section level bush camp clearances. During one section attack, luckily, for the rest of the battle group the ‘Recce Eyes’ of Tpr Pipe, who was attached to the Fusiliers for the exercise, spotted a lion prowling nearby and training had to suspended until it had moved on. This proved a very useful few days to acclimatise to the sweltering heat of the day and the cold of the evening.

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The battle group then moved to the north to Archer’s Post where the Contemporary Operating Enforcement Force were involved in an offensive and defensive phase, using the updated and highly impressive Tactical Engagement Simulator vests that use laser and GPS technology to simulate injuries to the exercising troops and the enemy forces. There was a real emphasis on enemy

(Left to right) Trp Parker, 2Lt Richardson, LCpl Callaghan (top), Trp Newton. The insurgents are happy to find a stash of fancy dress in the Jungle.

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‘free play’ so that the actions of the Contemporary Operating Enforcement Force remained unpredictable to the battle group, and the 9/12th Royal Lancers certainly gave the battle group a run for their money conducting ambushes and shoot and scoots to the advancing troops before falling back to a main defensive positions. The highlight was LCpl Callaghan and Trp Newton’s stealth assault on an enemy sniper position on a high feature, catching them completely unawares and taking the position. The extremely hot weather and insects caused a lot of issues and there were plenty of run-ins with Camel Spiders and Scorpions to keep everyone on their toes. The local nationals, however, caused the most dramas with Tprs Waring and Parker both succumbing to some very enterprising thieves who managed to crawl through the camp razor wire to relieve them of their kit.

There was an opportunity to for most of the Contemporary Operating Enforcement Force to get away for some adventurous training with a bicycle safari, white water rafting and for the more adventurous a bungee jump, that Trp Butler took advantage of, before the final exercise took place in the training area and game reserve of Lolldaiga. It was a great opportunity to exercise alongside elephants, giraffe, buffalo and camel; however the 9/12th Lancers, when not on safari, gave the battle group some difficult problems to overcome and cemented their reputation as a feared enemy. HR



en young (ish) Officers set off on another adventure to a hot dry sandy place, fortunately this time it was just for the week and rather than the dusty plains of Afghanistan this was an Officers’ Mess field sports expedition to Namibia. Under the moniker of ‘Kalahari Lancer’ the trip, organised by Lt Robinson, would see the ten of us in pursuit of an African game ‘surf and turf ’ with sharks for the surf and antelope for the turf. Namibia is in South West Africa and in the central areas is home to wide open bushveld that grows sparse as you move west until you encounter endless rolling sand dunes that fall dramatically into the harsh South Atlantic . Sharks stalk the coastal waters whilst the stunning interior is home to herds of almost every exotic African antelope you could imagine. Driving from Hohne to Frankfurt airport was the first in a series of road trips on this expedition. Driving through the freezing German countryside in early December the spirits of the team were high with excitement and anticipation. After Capt Will ‘The Doc’ Buxton loaded us with a concoction of sleeping pills the 10 hour flight passed in the blink of an eye and slightly groggily we loaded into a 3 car convoy of the slowest 4x4s available and set off North, deep into the interior. For our first African

sunset we climbed a kopy, infamously known as Bushman’s bum and with a few beers we watched as the sun dipped behind the Brandeburg fire mountains ready for the days ahead.

Lt ‘sniper’ Groome shows the Eland as much mercy as he did the Taliban

Baron Von Eeny Meenie Miny Moncketon the Third and Oryx

Maj Coombes goes fully tac in his favourite T-shirt. Wildebeest ‘One shot – one kill’

Big boy’s games in an even bigger sand pit

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The Officers put their worm bait to good use catching this Bronze Whaler Shark

We were up early with the two Louis, our Professional Hunters and very sadly it wasn’t long before all strength drained from Lt Ed ‘Chopper Fla-’ Aitken’s body and we had to rush him to Namibia’s finest hospital with a collapsed lung. Enough excitement for the first day, but fortunately we did get a couple of firsts with both Lt Taylor–Dickson and Major Coombes getting their first Oryx and Wildebeest respectively with perfect shots. Having gone a little bit hungry until this point we feasted heartily and got through 25kg wildebeest fillet steak on the Barbeque over the next 2 days. With early morning and evening visits to see Ed we carried on hunting and despite a few misses and fruitless stalks the Doc and Lt Groome managed to get a couple of Eland whilst Lt Robinson and Capt Inglefield shot an Oryx and a Wildebeest. With the new boy 2Lt Ed Monckton setting records with a monster Oryx (the trophy for which is thought to be in the top twenty best ever in Namibia), Capts Luke and Grant had a Oryx and Wildebeest respectively. For our last morning in the bush we went boulder hopping, saw the ancient bushman rock paintings and took a few group photos. The Doc demonstrated precision accuracy shooting a Guinea Fowl at an unprecedented 40 meters putting an end to a fantastic first half of the trip.


For the second phase of the trip we bade fond farewells to our guides and headed west on a three hour road trip to the coast where beach fishing for sharks was to be the next three days activity. After a couple of small Sandy and Spotted sharks (10-30kg) were hauled ashore for a quick photo before being put back Lt Groome hooked a monster. Sadly this big Bronze Whaler Shark decided to head out across the Atlantic and snapped the line on a reef about 500 meters out. Before the disappointment of ‘the one that got away’ could take hold Lt Robinson hooked a big one that burnt the reel as it disappeared out to sea. After an hour of aching arms the 110kg monster was on the beach, before being hauled by its tail back into the surf. Another great couple of days saw all bar one catch a shark. With Lt Aitken dosed up on a few African pain relievers, we were in town for the evenings for gigantic steaks, racks of ribs and one or two beers. For the last morning we went quad biking across the vast dunes of the Namib Desert. The dunes were spectacular, stretching as far as the eye could see along the infamous skeleton coast. After a quick safety brief we headed out on the quads and managed to stay within the recommended speed and versatility limits for most of the time – although as confidence grew the extreme biker urges were difficult to suppress! With fortunately only a few wipeouts, we made it back and loaded up again for the final road trip back to the capital Windhoek and our departing flight. The expedition was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all. So many great experiences had been packed into a single week with all of us gaining a superb knowledge of African gamelore from shooting techniques, tracking and animal armoured fighting vehicle! The shark fishing was also epic with the finesse of fly fishing giving way to hardcore muscle busting fishing and drinking in equal measure. All up it was a great experience and a fine way to begin our post operational tour leave. AJWR

On Top of the World – Exercise ANDALUCIAN LANCER


o be entirely honest the thought of over two weeks in the Spanish mountains seemed a little steep. However after the reassurance that Adventure Training (AT) was a very equal mixture of fun and hard work we thought why not. After all this is half of the reason the military is so appealing to us all and as one of our first real experiences of this appeal, we were encouraged that Exercise Andalucía Diamond would be a fantastic start. The group included Instructors; Staff Miles, Capt Horsfall and Lt Fisher as well as fifteen ‘students’ ;LCpl Bennett, LCpl Pretorious, Pte Bashford, Tpr Leaper, Tpr March, Tpr Holloway, Tpr Wright, Cfn Currey, Cfn Windsor and Tpr Roelfse.

tains. In between these two extremes we conquered mountains that ranged from Penon de Stella at 1160m to Sierra Alta at 950m. On our trek up in the Sierra Nevada range we made for a three day round trip. Firstly on day one we climbed to around 2400m where Tpr Holloway found the altitude a little too much. Here we camped before dusk in the snow covered plateau we discovered. It was bitterly cold but that didn’t stop the snow ball fights and sledging that kept us warm until bedtime under

The expedition began with an extremely rigorous and demanding 28 hour bus drive down to Spain. The journey to Benissa in Spain was something we would rather not experience again unless it was to be undertaken in a plane. Nonetheless after what seemed like days we had finally arrived, albeit with stiff backs and sore bums! On awakening the scene around us left us all in awe, a stunning view from the villa over the village and down to the sea made us all anticipate with excitement what we were about to embark on. This was the beginning of the ‘trip of a lifetime’. For two weeks we climbed, scrambled and fell up and down slopes from 450m to 2800m above sea level in a beautiful part of the world known as Andalucía. We started on a small scale at Penon de Fach overlooking Benidorm and Benissa and ended with a bang 2800m above Trevelez in the Sierra Nevada Moun-

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Reveille in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

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Trying to fly isn’t going to help

Summer adventure training, really?

A pretty good endorsement

Staff Miles working his hip flexors and scaring off any tourists for a group photo

Not a British tourist in sight

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the brightest stars we had ever seen. Day two saw us move on up to a refuge 2800m above sea level. Here we literally found refuge in a warm wooden lodge that served up a filling hearty meal that sent us all in to a slumber. Day three saw our decent to ‘feet back on the ground’ level as off we headed back to Benissa for a farewell meal. These were trails used before but that were left just as bare and untracked as undiscovered routes, left for us to explore ourselves. We were advised to ‘only leave footprints and take only pictures’ and it seemed that this was a first discovery for us all. The reason for ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure training’ was indeed becoming apparent. Our instructors took us through many skills and tactics useful for navigating and leading in the mountains. These included technical weather forecasting as well as the ingenious fun of leading a group of people into the unknown and scrim skiing with some hilarious results. We discovered that


our previous navigational lessons had indeed become an asset as well as learning that weather truly is unpredictable above the clouds. We found that we became more able in our use of maps, compasses, and the like as well as the discovery of new friends; all whilst a distinct fondness of the outdoors was reinforced. As soldiers in the British Army we would encourage everyone to experience as much adventure training as they can. The feeling of returning to work having learnt so many new skills and with pictures firmly in memory is one that will stay with us as a brilliant building block to add to our development. The days that are spent hard at work in the office or around the Tank park are made even brighter by the memories that we will keep from what we hope to be one of many adventure training trips we will take part in. AJH

Extreme Mentoring


rior to deploying on Operation HERRICK 14 I set Pte Danielle White the challenge of competing in a half marathon on my return in order to work on her stamina and belief in herself. Having scoured the internet for a date that would match up with the end of the tour we finally opted for the Windsor Half Marathon on 25 Sep 11.

told her that she knows she can make it to 8 mile as she can pass her army fitness test we continued to run. Her attitude was good until we reached the 11 mile point and there was a steep hill through the woods to climb, at one point I lost the plot and screamed at Pte White to stop walking and run up the hill. It was at this point that 2 older women started to run up the hill and in passing me commented that even if my shouting had On my return we headed to the United not affected Pte White then it had certainly Proud as punch Kingdom for a weekend. The next mornmotivated them into running up the hill. ing we got the train to Windsor and headed Once through the wood it was all downhill to the venue which was a substantial distance from the train staand you could see the finish, with the crowds cheering us on we tion to the registration area. The venue was set in the stunning ran as fast as we could to the finish and crossed the line together grounds of Windsor Park. at a respectable 2 hrs 31 minutes. We lined up with the other competitors and could feel the atmosphere as we waited for the start. We had decided that as it was the first half marathon that Pte White had participated in that we would set a time of 2 hrs 30 minutes in which she was to complete it. We set off at a good pace but then at the 2 mile point Pte White stated that she thought she would not finish. Having

Having returned to the hotel we relaxed with our evening meal and plenty of fluids. Pte White is now looking for another venue for her next half marathon and has challenged herself to beat the time she set at Windsor. JF

Exercise Rhino Soldier


n Wednesday 9th November 2011 the 9/12th Royal Lancers fielded a team of five for Exercise Rhino Soldier. This Iron Man/woman competition was run in Hohne Garrison and saw some 443 persons from across the armed forces competing to win. Capt Buxton, Cpl Smith, LCpl Hall. Cfn Quansar and Pte Mairura represented the 9/12L in this gruelling challenge. The rules were simple, all team members must start together and cross the finish line together. If a team member failed to finish there was a 15 minute team penalty. More than two members failing to finish resulted in disqualification. Obstacles could only be crossed with all of the team members present. If any team member failed to complete an obstacle this gave a five minute penalty to the team. The day saw our team run more than 12.5km over 20 different obstacles including jumps, ropes over water- strung up between vehicles, through water, underwater, through tires. The temperature was a cool 1°C, which those readers familiar with Hohne

9th-12th Delhi Spearman 2011.indd 81

Say no more

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Teamwork in action


is unusually luxurious for a November day. Though perhaps not hot enough to tempt most sane people to get up to their neck in ditch water… We completed every obstacle, had no time penalties and finished as a team with a time of 1 hour 15 minutes, shivering and broken wrecks but alive! We came 32nd out of 64 teams present.

The overall winner was Lt Col Mead OBE Commanding Officer 3 Royal Horse Artillery who won Rhino soldier in 57 minutes. The overall team winner was 32 Engineers 28 Squadon with a time of 1:01.28. Next year we look forward to returning and dominating in true 9/12th style! WB

Triple Crown Challenge


he Adjutant Generals Corps Triple Crown Competition is run annually and is open to all branches of the Adjutant Generals Corps and attracts teams from the Staff & Personnel Service, Royal Military Police, Education Training Service, Army Legal Service and Military Guard Service and each year the French send a team from their officer training establishment. The format this year, not unlike the last, consisted of two events running concurrently. A 12 mile march & shoot and a four mile military skills event ending with the assault course.

Like most of OB’s duties, the training of the Triple Crown team fell to myself and department members came from far and wide to volunteer. And so the training began in early March 11 with the help of a training programme from SSgt Paul Miles (Army Physical Training Chief Instructor). Although the team comprises of only four men on the day, teams are permitted to take a reserve which meant five of us would train and the strongest four would represent 9/12L.

2011 was the year for 9/12L Staff & Personnel Service Detachment to enter a team into the march & shoot competition and the training was initially headed up by Sgt Ian O’Brien (OB). However fate stepped in, in the form of Operation HERRICK and OB was torn away from the team and was on his way to Bastion Pizza Hut support unit before you could say pepperoni and cheese.

The final five comprised of Capt Matthew Harrison, Cpl John Lewis, Cpl Arun Purja Pun, Pte Job Mairura and of course myself. The weeks went by as training progressed through an unusually hot spring until before we knew it May arrived and the competition was upon us. As team captain the decision was mine as to who would make the final team. After deliberating for approximately three seconds I decided that the other four were better off without me. However, as the competition is held at

How have we ended up in the girls’ competition

Surprisingly tough looking blokes

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Worthy Down, the home of our Corps, and that there may have been opportunity to meet up with some old friends, I decided to tag along in the role of team manager and reserve. Arriving on the eve of the event we received an admin brief and received our start time. The lucky ones stepped off early morning, however team 9/12L picked up a mid-day start. An hour into the tab it became evident that the 24 degree sun did not agree with John Lewis’ bald head however the team still crossed the finish line in a respectable time.


Like any good military event, the competition was closed down with a presentation from a distinguished guest and this year we were honoured by the Duchess of Gloucester. The event ended with a good old fashioned BBQ and a late night stroll through the historic city of Winchester where unfortunately the only places open where drinking establishments. The following day we were treated to a visit the Corps museum. Roll on 2012 the challenge has been set. Over to you Sgt O’Brien! DW

Hohne 2 Headly Court


he last thing that I either wanted to do, or even wanted to think about doing as I sat on a French beach on a warm autumn afternoon sipping my third glass of Chablis enjoying my first few days back from Afghanistan was cycle across central Europe in freezing fog pushing out at least a hundred miles a day under the dictatorial command of Capt Andy ‘Sherman’ Horsfall. So when my phone began to buzz and my old ginger friend asked me if I was interested in a charity bike ride I immediately advised him that I would rather go for a beer with an Royal Military Police officer or spend the rest of my post operational tour leave in a Siberian Gulag. He accepted and understood my response and that was that. However, as I continued to muse looking out to sea and chugging on my white wine, the irrationality of thought that so often walks hand in hand with drinking God’s water began to take over and before I knew it I was ringing Andy up pleading for a spot on the trip……. The team consisted of four young men; Capt Andy Horsfall, Capt Mumbles Willing, Sergeant Major Kenny Swain and Capt Alasdair Grant. The preparation was nothing short of immaculate, no stone was left unturned in the physical and mental conditioning of these men; it was the first time any of us had been on a bike for almost a year. The morning of departure arrived and the team donned their finest lycra for the cameras before getting out of the gate and immediately squeezing into every bit of warm kit they had packed when the reality of the North German weather began to bite. What follows are a series of updates made to our Facebook page during the trip, which reflect our emotions and experiences far better than I could do with the subjective and rose tinted power of hindsight…… Day 1 Having been seen off to the cries of ‘allez allez’ in Tour de France style by the Regiment, the team (well supported with wets and frickies by Staff Tel Coles and LCpl Marshall) had their breath taken away by the sub zero temperatures. However like a flock of migrating geese they thrust their heads into the wind and headed North West. Highlights of the day having included freezing fog, the odd fall as team members forgot their feet were clamped to the peddles, and the taste of flying leaf mush. The crew is now holed up in Vecta having completed 140km and is busy smashing the carbs and defrosting feet... Roll on Tuesday! Day 2 An early start in heavy wind, complicated by bad German signage which delayed the team initially as they rolled through small German back-waters on their way to the border. Unperturbed by the freezing temperatures, the odd puncture and developing saddle sore the team continued to head West. With the rise of the winter sun to it’s zenith came an increase in temperature – albeit only 1°C. A long afternoon, aided by more efficient signs (thanks the Dutch) and billiard-table like cycle paths the team reached their Finish Point for the day – Zwolle. A mere 10 hours after setting off the team are currently enjoying a well

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The team reach Big Ben

earned pint. In their all-in-one thermal suits, unable to sit down due to sore bottoms they are attracting considerable attention in Holland. Day 3 – A truly beautiful amble through the lowlands of Holland and the team are feeling strong having broken the back of Europe. Day 4 – The team set off from Amsterdam this morning having visited the pharmacist to purchase any legal remedies to help with the aching knees. Each team member now has a pet niggle although some are more vocal about it than others. At half time they stopped for a smoothy and made a new fan who was charmed by the lycra and cavalry flair (and hair?), she promised to follow on Facebook and drum up local support. Capt Horsfall’s thigh rubbing technique also attracted some odd looks but Capt Grant was in too much pain to notice. The siting of the ferry terminal couldn’t have come soon enough for SSM Swain whose rock hard saddle and increasingly wobbly wheel are beginning to grate. On arrival we were greeted by SSgt Coles’s travelling greasy spoon, and after a meaty snack and a couple of raw herring, BFBS phoned up for a second live radio interview.

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9th/12th Four out...

With SSgt Swain and Tpr Gilborne in Headly Court

Tomorrow will be an early start in order to make Downing St for lunch and then onto Headly Court for a brew with SSgt Paul Swain and Tpr Jimmy Gilborn.

Day 5 – After an early start in Harwich the team made their way to London. As the support vehicle skirted Central London the team suffered a plague of punctures; 9 in total. With some friendly assistance from city bikeshops they finally made it to the MoD and the House of Commons, where they met MP Bob Stewart and had a guided tour. Probably the first time ever four people have been around the Commons in a red and yellow ski-suit! After refreshments and a pint (thanks Bob) the team pushed on to Headley Court. The sun had set and it was bleak and cold. However, after a hot ‘wet’ with SSgt Paul Swain and Tpr Gilborn all was good. They are both doing extremely well and are making great progress. Thank you for all your donations and support so far; specifically to Stena Line and the support crew headed up by SSgt Coles and all those who’ve given so generously – keep it coming please.

A Lancer in Lapland


fter the searing heat of a summer in Afghanistan the thought of sub freezing conditions and waist high snow was quite appealing. With this in mind and a few extra pennies in the bank, my wife Vanessa, our son Jack and myself decided that a once in a life time Christmas holiday in Lapland was in order. So on December 21st 2011 we made our way to Gatwick airport to catch our flight to Santa’s homeland. Even as we boarded the aircraft with Santa’s hats being handed out, Christmas carol song sheets and an activity pack for Jack, at five years old the youngest of our adventurers, this was the start of an amazing trip. Day 1 – We arrived in Ivalo one of the most northern airports in Lapland we were met by a blanket of fresh snow and a temperature of minus 7 degrees. We made our way across the icy runway only to be met in the airport by a gang of teenage elves who started the fun by causing chaos in the terminal building, much to the delight of all those weary passengers that had just arrived. After going through the normal formalities we made our way to the resort of Sarsielka 250km inside the Arctic Circle and our home for the next 6 days. The rest of the first day was spent exploring the resort, getting fitted for our cold weather gear and being welcomed by the reps followed by an early night ready for the next day activities to start. Day 2 – Saw us start the day with a hearty breakfast and then setting off for Santa’s retreat set deep in the forest. We arrived at

0900hrs in the darkness (I should mention at this point that we only had daylight between 1100 – 1400 daily) and our way was lit with oil lanterns. This was a day spent trying different activities so we could plan the rest of week, but of top of that the scene was set with stories of how the elves (who had now become our tour guides) got their name and the legends behind the northern lights. We also met Santa’s blacksmith who gave an enchanting performance and kept Jack spell bound with her “magic”. However the best was yet to come as we were transported by sleigh to a lonely wooded cabin in which we found Santa himself and as Jack put it “he’s the real deal” another magical moment that captured our imaginations as well as re-installing Jacks belief in the big fella. Day 3 – After our taster day we decided that we would love to have a day out on the snow Main Operating Baseiles. So after our brief and donning our helmets Jack was tucked snugly into a sledge being towed by the instructor and Vanessa rode pillion behind me. As soon as we were all ready we set of up the slopes and through the winter wonderland that surrounded us. Reaching speeds of 50mph with Vanessa giggling behind me and Jack whooping his way along it was a fantastic experience and one that we will never forget, even when we got stuck in a blizzard it just added to the adventure and made the day even more special. Later that day we got well and truly acquainted with the lo - cal sledge run, all 1.4 km of it which was brilliant and left us all freezing cold and tired but we vowed to repeat the performance again before we left and that we did. Day 4 – Christmas eve. We had booked a trip to Elfing land and had started to notice that even though we were busy and there was always something going on we never felt rushed or stressed out. This was another activities day but on and around a frozen lake. We started with a “friendly” game of ice hockey with the elves which ended up with me in goal and getting a puck in the face from an elf that was 6'5. We then

Santa the “real deal”

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Jack and “Whisper” the elf

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Before the blizzard

Yes you even have to wear those hats in the arctic circle

ate local pancakes and toasted marshmallows around an open fire. The children than had to pick out a Christmas tree which was cut and dressed by all, normally a chore but in this setting was a joy. We then took to the lake and did a spot of ice fishing, drilling our own hole to gain access to the icy waters below, but the only thing getting caught was smiles and laughter. Young Jack then made his way onto a football pitch on the frozen lake and found that staying on his feet while trying to be a budding Stevie Gerrard is not as easy as you would imagine.

sledge solo and was given a quick lesson in husky driving. With Vanessa and Jack safely on board and wrapped up we set off on our ride. It was amazing, taking on all that I had learnt I soon got the hang of it leaning in the corners pushing up hill and gliding down picking up speed as we went. With the family laughing all the way and me fully submerged in the thrill of it all we didn’t even feel the cold wind in our faces.

That evening we were treated to an authentic Finish Christmas banquet which was fabulous with a whole host on delights on offer including fresh arctic salmon and slow roasted hock of ham that was delicious. If there is one bit of advice I would give you is the drinks are a bit pricey with a glass of wine setting us back about 8 euros and a beer 6 euros. Later that night we went in search of the Northern lights and decided that the best place to see this spectacle would be at the top of the sledge run. With Jack and Vanessa taking the sensible option and getting a taxis I walked up the 1.4km ascent to meet them at the top, only to find that the low cloud cover would prevent any light show on that night. Not to waist an opportunity we took full advantage of the sledge run by doing some night tobogganing. With Jack sat on one sledge in front with me laying on a separate sledge behind him guiding him down we set off at break neck speed. With little or no other sledges to slow us down we did top to bottom in 4 minutes 20 seconds and it was amazing, closely followed by Vanessa who was in fits of laughter the whole way down. Oh I forgot to mention this was all done at about midnight.

That night saw another trip in search of the northern lights in much the same circumstances as two nights previous. However on this trip we were successful and this was truly a brilliant end to another outstanding day. Day 7 – The last day was spent packing and doing a little last minute shopping and picture taking, but still it didn’t feel rushed in the slightest. It was soon time for us to head back to the airport and get on our return flight to London. This is a holiday experience that we will never forget and will probably never happen again, well maybe when we’re grandparents, but until then we have so many great memories that will never leave us. I do have one bit of advice to all of you parents out there in the regimental family and that is make a trip to Lapland a must for the future you won’t regret it SMM

Day 5 Christmas Day – After our late night out we had a lay in and took full advantage of the 10 o’clock breakfast that was on offer. We spent the rest of our morning relaxing in the hotel and re-charging our batteries before our next outing. After lunch we were again transported out into the forest this time for a reindeer sledge ride through some of the most breathtaking country I have ever seen. It will be a Christmas afternoon I will not forget in a hurry. It was tranquil with only the sound of the snow underneath our sleds breaking the silence. That night we had our Christmas day ball with everyone making an effort to impress. The food was superb with a traditional Christmas and plenty of beer and wine flowing. The children were entertained as they were every night by our reps, one of which looked the spitting image of James Corden and was just as funny. Day 6 Boxing Day – Our last full day with yet another busy schedule, this time our mode of transport would be a husky sledge. After arriving back at the frozen lake we had been to a few days earlier I was informed that I would be driving the

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The only way to travel in Lapland and probably faster than a CVRT!

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Regimental Sport 86



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Alpine Skiing – Exercise WHITE NIGHT LANCER


ollowing a glorious week based at RAF Wittering for the Regimental homecoming parades, the ski team set off for Verbier, Switzerland, for the 28th Exercise WHITE KNIGHT. The team, initially comprising of 2 officers and 4 soldiers, arrived at Les Petites Quins Quins, a chalet used by 9th/12th Lancers for many exercises previously, to find no snow whatsoever. Despite this, spirits were not dampened and the team made the most of the one slope artificially created above Lac de Veau. During the next week LCpl Hall and Tprs Cliffe and Goodwin, all novices, got to grips with skiing exceptionally quickly. Tpr Cliffe found himself graduating through the groups and all of our novices quickly displayed great determination to become recognised as the most promising novice team on the exercise. Meanwhile, the almost veteran status Cpl Edwards was doing his best to scare all of the Verbier virgins with tales of twisted limbs and assaults of near vertical slopes. After ten days of repeatedly skiing the same run and listening to Cpl Edwards “dits” our prayers were finally answered and snow was delivered, in abundance. At last the team had the opportunity to explore more of the runs that Verbier had to offer. Unfortunately the sheer amount of snow meant that the conditions were rarely right to practice racing techniques. On a positive note however there was some of the best off piste powder skiing that Verbier has seen for 10 years. The racing finally got under way and there were some very promising performances for the future of the team with LCpl Hall per-

The team 2011, before injuries took their toll

forming particularly well in the slalom, coming the 2nd novice and the A team finishing 3rd in the team slalom competition. The team left Verbier with high hopes for the Div championships that took place in Les Contamines, France where the team really came into their own for the downhill, coming third for the team competition. Capt Davis secured a finish position of 13th giving the team a strong chance for the Army championships the next week. Confidence levels soared for LCpl Hall during the divs, to the point a slope was named after him following some speed training which resulted in his extraction from the mountain via a blood wagon with a fractured rib. This may suggest to some that he has more to offer than his day-to-day duties behind a desk in the admin office would suggest. Finishing 4th overall in the championship and a clear Royal Armoured Corps winner illustrates potential for an excellent future for 9/12L skiing.

No 1 skier in the RAC – 2Lt Richardson

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Unfortunately, in the end, due to the high injury rate team with Capt Willing, Capt Davis, Cpl Edwards, and LCpl Hall all having to retire before the end of the season with skiing injuries the team could not compete in the team competition for the Army Championships in Serre Chevalier, France. 2Lt Richardson and Lt Burwell did compete in the individual category coming 26 and 66 respectively. 2Lt Richardson won best Royal Armoured Corps skier and returned to Germany with the silverware to prove it, an outstanding achievement which has been won by Army Men’s Ski team captains in recent years. JETD

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The Cresta Run “If you come back with both your legs then you’ve done well.”


iven the operational nature of 2011 for the Regiment, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that this advice was said to the Regimental Medical Officer as he filtered like a zombie through Reception, Staging and Onwards Integration in Camp Bastion. In fact it was the advice from a friend prior to flying to Switzerland to take part in what can only be described as the lunatic sport that is the Cresta Run. The vast majority of people will have heard of the Cresta and either intelligently avoided the event or shelved their sanity temporarily in order to fly down the ice. For those that have not the foggiest; a simple description: ‘A private members club where the idea is to wear outdated clothing, take vastly inadequate and outdated safety precautions, lie on an outdated tea tray and go head first down a tobogganing run, with your head two inches off the ice at over fifty miles an hour and get rewarded for crashing at a certain spot.’ This year, coordinated by the veteran Yeomanry rider Capt Kemp-Gee, the Regiment submitted an all novice team of Maj Doherty, Capt Harden, Capt Buxton and 2Lt Wythe. For novices the week begins with a ‘Death Talk’, a sort of safety brief designed to filter out any of the more lily-livered, sober or sensible members of the audience. Once that is done, it is out on the ice for practice runs. One’s first ride is always a daunting prospect; everyone has heard the stories, typed “Cresta crashes” into YouTube and seen the x-rays. But for our novices told to watch a couple of the more experienced riders set off, the sight of the air ambulance climb into the beautiful sunny St Moritz air brought home the reality of what we were about to take on. Life expectancy in a Formation Reconnaissance Regiment is never very high. In all BATUS/CATT scenarios it is never very long before a battle group’s Reconnaissance screen is down to just the Squadron Second-in-Command, trying desperately to inform ‘zero’ that the enemy is indeed coming. It is this quasi-suicidal streak that lends the 9th/12th Lancer to perform particularly well at dangerous sports. The regimental team at Cresta started posting decent times from a very early point. Maj Doherty in particular was flying by his third attempt and kept the bar at an inspirational height for the others. It was disappointing that he had to leave early for he would have certainly been an asset for the Team competition later on in the week.

Capt Harden, Capt Buxton and 2Lt Wythe

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Going, going……

On the Friday, after five practice runs, the Inter Army competition took place. Due to previous form the bookies had the regimental team in about seventh spot. In fact it was a great success. There were three teams with experienced riders who would naturally fight for the podium spots but the shock of the day was the 9th/12th team who came in fourth. Of the three remaining riders; Capt Buxton, who had been steady all week, produced three personal bests in a row and Capt Harden (who notched the fastest novice time of the day) ended up representing the Regiment. Capt Harden won the Open handicap prize and runner up in the novice competition (based on aggregate times). Lt Wythe, who had showed the most promise throughout his first two runs and was leading the novice category by a country mile, then suffered what can only be described as a commonsense malfunction and after a rush of blood to the head, forgot to apply the breaks and exited stage right at ‘shuttlecock’. It was not all doom and gloom for the reckless subaltern. His lack of self concern had impressed the selectors and he was invited to stay on another week to train for the Army team in the Inter Services. After achieving success down the run in the required time, he became the first regimental rider to compete from the top for over a decade. However, a leopard rarely changes it’s spots and unsurprisingly, it was on his second run in the Inter services that, once again, exit stage right Wythe. A huge congratulations and thanks should be said to Capt KempGee who coordinated the Regiment’s participation at the event and in light of the good performance of the regimental team hopefully the seed has been set to return next season and continue to plunder the silverware in the billionaire’s playground. EPAH


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Apache in overwatch for the big match


can remember writing for the 2010 journal with high expectations for the 2011 season. The aspiration was still to build on the 2009 season but with regret my aspirations couldn’t be met. As you will have read in the pages before this one, the Regiment has been extremely busy preparing and then deploying on Operation HERRICK 14 which accounted for absence of many regimental players. The rescheduled Inter Mess competition that was due to be held during the spring 2011 again had to be cancelled but was held later in the year, more about that later. With seasoned footballers deployed Sgt Whitworth set about establishing a team to compete in the Hodson’s Horse, the RAC Sports Competition and compete they did. The team played with abundance of enthusiasm and at times produced some really good football but unfortunately 9/12L didn’t fare too well finishing in the bottom half of the league but it provided an opportunity to identify a number of players that will become regulars for 9/12L Football Team.

The long awaited Inter Mess Competition was to be played in December. All four Messes fielded decent teams. The match being played for the Football Association Cup was an excellent display of skillfull, aggressive football which saw the Tpr’s defeating the JNCO’s by a convincing 7 – 0 score line. The GOOJERAT cup fixture however proved to be a closer affair. The Senior Non Commissioned Officers eventually winning by 7 – 3. One of the highlights of the match being the solo effort from Capt Rickett (as voted for by WO2 Beuttell)! What for 2012? The team has entered the British Army Germany Northern League, it will compete for the Army Cup, continue to provide players to the CORPS and Army U23 teams and the priority will be to regain the Cavalry Cup in May. Before signing off I’d like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to SSgt Paul Swain. Paul was a great servant for the Regiment Football Team for 16 years but due to an injury that was sustained whilst in theatre will probably never wear the 9/12L football shirt again. Thanks for your efforts and best of luck for the future! LJS

Although football wasn’t a high priority in Afghanistan a ball was kicked. In fact it was kicked by an officer who resembles Manchester United’s Paul Scoles. Capt Horsfall was selected by his Tolay (Afghan National Army Company) to play against their British counterparts. It was played on a hot summer’s afternoon on a ploughed, dusty, grass less field. Both sides played the game in the spirit expected and all told Capt Horsfall probably performed well enough to be selected for the officers mess team that would challenge for the GOOJERAT cup later in the year. Spot the ringer The goalie looking ready for anything

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ike so many other sports the operational tempo of 2012 saw the Regimental Golf team take a hit in competitions and training. However the stability of the Rear Operations Group did allow the Regiment to ensure it retained good coverage across the committee roles at the British Army Golf Club (BAGC) Hohne. Maj Lee Barnett has taken on the Club Captain’s role, Capt Chris Hatton is the Assistant Club Captain, SSgt Dickie Clarke is the Greens Member and SSgt Aidy Hall has been given the thankless task as the Competitions Member.

In June the above mentioned all represented the Regiment at the GOC’s Inter Unit competition that was held at BAGC Sennelager. In what is a notoriously long day (over 6 hours a round) SSgt’s Clarke and Hall produced a good return of over 30 points each, however the older generation of Maj Barnett and Capt Hatton obviously wilted under the heat and time of the round and returned with 20 and 18 points respectively which sadly nudged us out of a podium finish. That said it was a great day out with some good competitive play. The same four also had an invitation to represent Hohne Garrison play in an Anglo-German

competition that was held near Hannover and once again it was another fantastic day out. During the golfing season there was a lot of competitions held at BAGC Hohne that SSgt Hall had to run, all of them were a great success and the majority of them had members from the Regiment either winning or in the top three of them. SSgt Hall won the Scratch and Nett Singles competition, and SSgt Clarke was one half of the winners of the Pairs Competition that were run over the season. SSgt Hall also finished as the runner-up in the BAGC Hohne Club Championships. He was leading the competition after the first day but had a bit of a melt down and was pipped at the post by a 1 handicapper. In the latter part of the year Capt James Rickett and WO1 (RSM) Whitehead have also turned their hand to golf, hopefully during the next year there will be more members of the Regiment that would like to get involved in either playing or help in the running of Regimental or BAGC Hohne Golf. All are welcome no matter what standard of golf you are at. RC



eing a part of 9/12 Royal Lancers to the Inter-Corps Championships. Rear Operations Group was mainThat night to celebrate we went out ly quiet so when I received an email for a meal and to the cinema. from my chain of Command asking if I would like to try out for the AdjuThe day of the Championships arrived tant Generals Corps Netball team with and the air was buzzing with nervous the opportunity at attending the Corps tension. Unlike some of the teams Championships I jumped at it. Having that had been training together for not played since school I knew I would years the Adjutant Generals Corps are be a little rusty but thought it was brought together from the four winds White girls can jump worth a try. On 27 October I boarded for intense training prior to the event the plane and nervously headed to Alas geographically it is not feasible for dershot. I did not arrive until late and then took an age to find us to train together. The first match settled our nerves as we beat my accommodation. the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 15 – 8 and having played well throughout the day we made it to the final. Sadly I reported to the gym the next morning where we started with we were not to be triumphant and lost to the Royal Logistics ice-breakers and then were put into teams. I soon forgot about Corps. The tournament is used to select the Army side for the the nerves as there were girls there from a myriad of units and Inter Services which is something I now aspire to be a part of. we were all in the same position. We practiced all day perfecting our passing and footing which can easily count as a foul. That Although we were not the champions it was a good competition afternoon we were given the position which they felt we could and I feel that I achieved a lot during it and I made new friends best play and I was Wing Defence (WD) which is a position that that I keep in touch with. I enjoy and my opponent was a lot taller than me so I used the DW height difference to my advantage. In the final two matches of training I was informed that I had made the team and was going

Nordic Skiing.


his years Nordic ski team was made up from Lt Wythe, Cpl Burbidge, and Tprs Blanksby, Bale and Ford. Training involved two weeks in the resort of Sjusjoen, learning the basics of both classic and skate technique along with getting to grips with shooting the .22 anschlutz target rifles. At the end of each week a small race was held to consolidate everything we had been taught.

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Following a small break over the Christmas period the team regrouped in Hochfilzen, Austria for the Royal Armoured Corps championships. The competition was fast and furious, taking place over a world championship grade course. As the pace picked up so did the number of accidents. Broken bindings, and bent poles inevitably followed. Thankfully no injuries were sustained.

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Cold then?

The Nordic Ski Team 2011

Following Austria the team moved to Les Contamines, France for the Divisional championships. More races followed, with a gruelling 15km classic starting the proceedings. Another testing course saw more falls, and plenty of entertaining sights as everyone was getting more used to the tight race lycra. Needless to say they didn’t leave much to the imagination! The final race was a 15km military patrol race. Comprising of a long classic route interspersed with military style stands, including burden carries, map reading and military knowledge. Decked out in our finest white race suits the team performed admirably.

Overall the team learnt a lot of new skills over the season. Pushing themselves hard at every point and showing huge amounts of determination to not only finish but finish with heads held high. Although our results weren’t the best, we were up against some very experienced athletes. The team now has a good base to build on and develop further in preparation for next season. It was a fantastic opportunity to get some first class instruction in a very rewarding sport, but also to see some stunning parts of Europe, travelling to three different countries over the space of four weeks all while getting the chance to spend time together in a slightly more relaxed environment then found on camp. TW

Modern Pentathlon – 13th World Biathle Championships 2011


he biathle is one of the events managed by the governing body of the Modern Pentathlon Association of Great Britain, the biathle is a run/swim/run (with transitions) combination (similar to the aquathlon) using the maximum distances that are competed over within the format of the Modern Pentathlon (swim 200m (non-wetsuit) and run 3000m). This competition is broken down into age group competitions with the distances adjusted accordingly. The World Championships for 2011 was scheduled to be held in Monaco in October, but at short notice was rescheduled to Bulgaria for late September.

Last year in 2010 I moved into the 50+ age group and successfully qualified for the Great Britain team, but arrived in Dubai injured and lacking 2 months of decent training. It was only the efforts of the physio department here in Colchester that I even made the start line and felt that having preformed well I still had not done my best biathle event. So on my arrival in Colchester post-Dubai the whole of 2011’s training year was focussed on making the Great Britain team again and putting together a decent performance. The first challenge was to sort out the list of injuries that my ailing body had accumulated over the years. The next hurdle was the

The swim – run transition’

Even more medals to wear

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open water cold swims straight off the run; these had always been a challenge so I competed in the Norfolk Broads Aquathlon series and competed in as many open water swims, training sessions and events as possible during the summer. All this work paid off and resulted in me winning the National Championships in August 2011 and it was the first time I had been given permission to wear the Army Colours. This result also gave me automatic qualification for the World Championships. The 13th World Biathle Championships were held in Sofia and it was the first time that Bulgaria had played hosts to the World Championships and despite a last minute change of date and location managed to attract competitors from seventeen different countries. The event was held at the Sofia Arena Complex in the centre of Sofia under very hot weather conditions (28oC), and most definitely suited to the athletes from South Africa, Argentina and Spain. The course used for the event was a 50m swimming outdoor pool in the sports complex and the run course was held between the pool and the arena. The nature of the course was very flat the transition area was close to the pool which produced a very fast course and promised some fast times. My race was held over 2000m run with a 100m pool swim separating the two 1000m run legs. The initial run leg was taken out

very quickly by the South Africans and the field was soon pretty well strung out by the time we were in the first transition which meant if nothing else the entry into the water was not congested. I went into the water in 5th place, and was convinced I would be overtaken on the swim. To my surprise I held my place although the swimmers behind had all gained some ground. With my shoes back on I started the second run but could feel the athletes behind getting ever closer. I managed to hold my position until the last 200m of the run where I was overtaken by my good friend Dr Kurt Tohermes from Germany. My 6th place made me the first Great Britain athlete home and our combined team total was enough to get us the team silver medal. My finishing time of 9:48.40 mins was a huge personal best and definitely my best performance to date. At the close of these championships the Great Britain teams placed second in the medal table just behind old adversaries South Africa but ahead of the host country Bulgaria. The biathle format finds itself at the opposite end of the multi-sport spectrum, with Ironman being the other. However, the event is ideally suited to military personnel, as it is just a personal fitness assessment with a military swimming test in the middle! PAW



t has been a year of progression and development for the 9/12L polo team. With the Regiment deployed, it was all hands to the pumps and down to those based in United Kingdom and fresh from the factory at Sandhurst to get together, train where possible and then play at the Captains and Subalterns’ tournament at Tidworth in July. Maj Matt Eyre-Brook, Capt Mat Woodward and 2Lt Hugh Richardson were the staple of the team and were joined by a Bristol university student – one Officer Cadet Matt Cullen. Capt Woodward and 2Lt Richardson joined forces to train with the Queen’s Royal Hussars at Tidworth in the week preceding the tournament and it was with eager anticipation that we tackled Johnny Lea, James Anderson and gang in the Yeomanry in our first match. They had beaten us in the last two finals so we had much to prove. After an extremely close fought match, with Woodward, Richardson and Cullen riding off hard and E-B clinically finishing, it was a great delight to put one over on them and get ourselves into the final of Division 2.

Cullen, Capt Woodward, 2Lt Richardson, Maj E-B

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The final, played against our long-term arch rivals the King’s Royal Hussars was on the main ground and, due to an ill-planned Christening, we would be without E-B. Disaster! However, the Queen’s Royal Hussars stepped into the breach, lending us an equivalent -1 in the form of Ct Doug White. He played extremely well (obviously his game was raised playing with such heroes) and, despite nearly letting it go to pot in the final chukka, 9/12L emerged victorious. It was fantastic to walk away with some silver and it has been the subject of much interest in 5th Division Headquarters sitting on Capt Woodward’s desk! A few weeks later, 9/12L put a junior team into a small tournament in Norfolk. Organised by Capt Tom ‘Gustav’ Kappler and Cambridge University Officer Training Corps, we would play single chukka matches against the Yeomanry, Cambridge OTC and the Light Dragoons. Glorious weather and a heroic party with 9/12L officers’ mess favourite band ‘Beaver’ bashing out tunes into the wee hours made for a fantastic weekend. Capt Woodward and 2Lt Richardson were joined by new arrivals 2Lt’s Ed Monckton and Tom Pritchard for the matches and, de-

EB bags another one

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spite losing two out of three of them, some excellent foundations were laid with novice players. Individually, Maj Eyre-Brook not only represented the Army in the victorious team at the Rundle Cup against the Navy but was awarded ‘most valuable player’ and played for a club in Wiltshire. Undoubtedly his reign at the top of Army polo will continue.


2012 promises to be an extremely exciting year. La Martina have just produced some incredibly smart new regimental shirts, which they intend to sell globally and give us a cut of the profits, and the team deploy to Argentina in February to train for a fortnight at an estancia near Buenos Aires. This, combined with a course running in Germany and some practice in Tidworth should set us up nicely for the tournaments in the summer. This year IS our year…! MHJW



eturning to Germany mid tour was a bit of a pace change. I soon found myself getting bored with the Rear Operations Group pace of life, not to mention it was the middle of a great summer. It wasn’t long until the pool on camp became the favorite pastime. Cpl John Lewis, Pte Kiri Bashford and I would get together regularly at lunchtime or after work and go swimming. It then became apparent that John Lewis had an ulterior motive for this sudden bout of enthusiasm. He had secretly entered the Hamburg Triathlon. He only informed us when registration had closed, therefore, we were unable to crash his party. As the day drew closer more and more Triathlon paraphernalia, or odd bits of kit could be found around the office or in the duty bunk. I’ve got to admit, by race day, I was more than a bit envious of him. I hid this by constantly scoffing at the price of the kit and the cost of the races, which vary from about €30 – €80. He did the race regardless and loved it, and then spent every waking moment thereafter regaling us with tales of heroics. I’m not sure what tipped me over the edge, the desire to beat John and wipe the smile off his face, the opportunity to get out and try something new, or maybe it was just the swimwear section of his TT220 magazines. We started searching around for another event. On 4 Sep 11, we would all compete at Hannover. To add to the excitement, the Doc had decided, he too would come along. Having earned himself a bit of a reputation during rear party as someone who just turns up every now and then to win something, this was starting to get serious. It was then we realised a fatal flaw in the race plan, neither Kiri nor I had a bike! Luckily with a couple of days to go, Kiri managed to get hold of the Regiment’s bike and I borrowed one from Mr Robinson. So we were on.

On arrival in Hannover I was surprised by how big the event was. The check in was, in true German style very efficient and well organized. John enjoyed his role of subject matter expert and did a fantastic job of guiding us through every aspect of the race. However, as the time got closer I realised how under prepared I was. I stood out like a turd on a pool table at the start as I was one of just a handful of people who didn’t have a wetsuit, tri-suit or goggles. The swim was hectic at the start and it soon became apparent that a lot of energy could be wasted jostling for position to gain only a few seconds. I decided to remain on the inside line and followed the crowd. To my amazement this tactic worked and I exited the water just behind Kiri, a far stronger swimmer than the rest of us, but more importantly ahead of John. There wasn’t much in it though and that lead was eaten in transition. Soon after the bike leg started he was with me. To be honest this helped as I had no idea how to pace myself on the bike as I’d never raced before. I’d never even been on that bike before, which was another mistake. I just kept telling myself, as long as I can see John by the time we start the run, I’ll beat him. The bike leg was far harder than I had imagined although I did manage to stay with John. We started the run at the same time and I knew I had it in the bag. However, almost immediately I felt something was wrong as I had never run after riding a bike before and my legs felt like jelly; I couldn’t believe this was happening and I’d been robbed of the only advantage I had. I was hanging on John’s heels for the entire race, hoping he would fade, but it wasn’t to be. He kept going and beat me by a couple of hundred metres. I was gutted, but that was probably the point at which I was truly bitten by the bug. This was now the sport for

Cpl Lewis turns it on for the camera

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Pte Bashford looking professional

me. Kiri had an equally disappointing end to her race. She had misunderstood one of the race officials and accidently entered the finish zone on the first lap. She too was gutted, although on the official results, her time does not display as a disqualification which could make her an unofficial world record holder. As for the Doc he continued his Rear Operations Group tradition of turning up and beating us all by a couple of minutes. I was not the only member of my family bitten by the Triathlon bug that day. My eldest daughter, Joanna, who had come along under the guise of moral support, If you can call constant heckling moral support, also decided she wanted to do more than watch from the side. So, as well as devoting every free moment at work to training or planning the next race. I would return home and have to do it all again with the girls. It was a fantastic time, even my wife Iris had been recruited by the children as head coach, driver, team manager and general dog’s body. Their training regime put mine to shame, which was not hard as mine usually consisted of cigarettes, coffee and one of John’s magazines. The main hurdle to making this a family activity was Joanna’s age at just 7, she was too young to compete in Niedersachsen. Joanna was determined she wanted to race, so I had to look further afield and found an event in Exter, near Herford in NRW. It had a pool swim and no minimum age. Convincing John and Kiri to have another day out was easy and we registered immediately. We all met at the pool in Exter on the Saturday morning. Even the outlaws turned up to see their granddaughter’s debut. The 7 P’s didn’t fail me again. I over inflated the tyres on Joanna’s bike to make it faster, but then realized the wheel wouldn’t actually turn as the brake couldn’t cope with the new tyre size. With seconds to go before the start, I disconnected the brake, while Joanna moved to the pool. I was allowed to wait in transition are in order to use a few precious seconds to brief her that she only had one brake when she exited the water. She happily started the bike leg but my heart was in my mouth as it occurred to me what might happen. I quickly put my bike in the transition area and followed the children’s race in my car asking at every checkpoint who had been through and was that all was fine and the children were all safe. The children’s cycle course was extremely hilly, something Joanna is not used to. I was relieved to see her running in the stadium when I finally arrived. I was able to watch her finish, before I had to return to start my race, but I was still unaware of her result. My race didn’t lack excitement either. I had a steady swim, but as I got on the bike, I managed to wrap the chain around the spindle, stopping me dead in my tracks. I lost some precious minutes sorting it out, but it just served to spur me on for the rest of the race. The course was horribly hilly, I was kept going by the thought of John appearing on my shoulder. In the next transition, I was met by Kiri who had now finished her race. I was trying desperately to calculate in my head if I was able to beat her and completely forgot about

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John. Although the run was the hardest we have done I figured it played to my advantage. Whereas Kiri was the fastest swimmer, John was the fastest on the bike, the run was definitely mine. The locals really helped during the run. As we passed houses, people would stand in their front gardens with hoses at the ready. A thumbs up would result in a drenching in cold water from head to toe which was a welcome relief from the soaring temperature of the day. I finished the race in confusion as John Start em young was stood at the finish line. I couldn’t believe how I had not noticed him pass me and he kept the charade going for a few minutes before letting me out of my misery and informing me that unfortunately he had retired before the run due to an ongoing leg injury. Thankfully, I had beaten Kiri’s time, so pride was partially restored. The big winner of the day was Joanna, who despite having a chaotic start, came third. A spectacular achievement as she was racing in the under 11 category. The next race came out of the blue. It was an Royal Logistics Corps run event in Hohne. We hadn’t thought we’d be able to compete until the last minute, therefore this time I wasn’t the least prepared. John was still injured, so he leant me his bike. The Doc was also back in the frame. This time we had a new addition to the group. SSgt Paul Smith decided to venture out of retirement. With John in the role of manager everything went without hitch. As usual the Doc exited the swim first, but this time I wasn’t far behind Kiri. I didn’t see her on the bike though, leading me to assume she was about to exact revenge for the previous week. I started the run with John shouting “The Doc is about 200 metres ahead”. I gave it everything on the run but couldn’t close that gap. Afterwards I was to find out he’d used a bit of artistic license with his estimation. It turned out Kiri had a mishap in transition which explained why I had not seen her on the run. We all cheered Paul in, who finished looking just as fresh as he started. The Doc had won by a couple of minutes yet again, but we had definitely recruited another competitor into our unofficial club. I went to United Kingdom for a course the following week but couldn’t finish the season yet. I had just bought my own bike and needed to get out and test it. I entered the race to the Bill, in Portland. It was Olympic distance with a sea swim. The course was fantastic and the event well organised. I even managed to organise myself so the race came and went without mishap although I did miss the banter. It occurred to me that the best part of our venture into Triathlon has been competing together. Spending all week helping each other with kit or new ideas, then spending the weekend trying our hardest to beat each other. Despite being on my own in United Kingdom the following weekend I made the decision not to do another Triathlon and instead went to Wales for the Black Mountains Ultra, now there’s a solitary sport! Looking forward to this season and it looks like the madness is about to start again. I lost a drunken bet in France and have entered Ironman France in June. Naturally the first people to hear the good news were John and Kiri, John has now also registered. He’s busy making and remaking schedules taking every possible eventuality into consideration. I’ll have a cigarette and a cup of coffee and see what happens. RB

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ERE 1 Mechanised Brigade


ime always passes quicker when one is in command than slaving on the staff, so I am not surprised that it has hurtled by. I am now well into my second year, and will be required to hand over 1 Brigade in the autumn. This is a time for us when the plans of last year are executed. The Brigade is just ahead of 7 Brigade in the readiness cycle, so all that we will do in the next few months will be similar to that experienced by 9/12L a little later. A series of exercises in Kenya and Canada start at about the time this journal is published. The series will see armoured, armoured infantry, light role infantry and formation reconnaissance battle groups training in exactly the fast moving combined arms environment the Army needs to prepare for, lest it becomes expert only at counter-insurgency.

The past few months has been spent conducting combined arms demonstrations, in which each unit has demonstrated, with considerable flair and ambition, its core function. All officers and seniors in the formation have attended them. It is good to see a brigade which is much more geographically dispersed than those in Germany, get together in this way. My headquarters has exercised repeatedly in the last year, getting back under armour and moving around Salisbury Plain. Cpl Oliver (my 9/12L driver) and I have relied heavily on our upbringing to make sure that our battlefield discipline and fieldcraft does not let the side down. On that note, Cpl Oliver has been a credit to the Regiment. The demands of the job have been rewarded with some decent planned down time which he has used to travel to Brazil and Vietnam, as well as deploying with me to Canada and Kenya in due course. In October the Brigade Headquarters conducted Urban Warrior 3, the Army’s major experiment in operations in urban areas. One of the key deductions, with the evidence to support it, was that the Army needs to invest in the art of manned ground reconnaissance. It also needs to be disentangled from the science and process of ISTAR, a useful label that is now sometimes a clumsy generalisation. It is clear to me, as a formation commander, that I need a discerning and trusted human being, on the ground at the right time and place, to inform my decisionmaking and cut through the mass of information which can be

presented to me. This human being needs to be highly capable, protected and able to fight and survive, often in isolation. As well as being capable of finding, he needs to be good at protecting the Brigade’s vulnerabilities and exploiting opportunities. In other words, the future for ground manned reconnaissance, even in a smaller army is bright, I believe. It is the place to be for tough, intelligent and trusted officers and soldiers. Whatever the future holds, the importance of our trade as reconnaissance and light cavalry soldiers will not diminish. I watched from the sidelines as 9/12L operated in Afghanistan, keeping up to speed as much as I could. I was really proud of what was achieved and relieved to see the Regiment back in Hohne at the end of a very successful tour. I wish it all the best for the training season and other challenges ahead. If any lancer is in the Tidworth area and I am here, please do call in for a brew and a chat. TPR

Kate Robinson before jumping out of a plane

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Kuwait Joint Command and Staff College


he United Kingdom established the Kuwait Joint Command and Staff College in 1995 with 15 British personnel providing the Directing Staff (of whom Lt Col Brodey was one). I act as the United Kingdom Director of Studies and collectively we deliver a Joint Staff Course based on British Doctrine to 100 students, a quarter of whom come from Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as Egypt, Syria, Sudan , Maldives, Mauritania, Korea, Pakistan and Jordan and the ‘Western Alliance ‘ countries of the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, France and Australia. The Course includes a Middle East tour, which this year went to Jordan and studied the terrain of the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and Israel.

2011 was the 50th anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom and 20th year of Liberation from the Iraqis. Numerous events marked these occasions and 3 Prime Ministers, Sir John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron all visited as well as the senior military commanders during Operation Desert Storm, Generals Sir Peter de la Billière and Sir Rupert Smith. HMS IRON DUKE came alongside and held an excellent Cocktail Party on board and, latterly, the Prince of Wales visited and was hosted at a Garden Party at the British Embassy. The Arab Spring has not arrived in Kuwait as that would give a sense of discontent which does not exist and also would entail people taking time off from being the world’s most dangerous drivers. Kuwait has 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 95% of the population are employed by the State; there is no tax and there are subsidies for most things and all utilities and land line calls are free. To ensure his people feel loved, the Amir gave each citizen £2500 and free groceries this year. Kuwait is geologically blessed but geographically damned and although Iraq is no longer the threat it once was they are still very wary of their northern neighbour as well as the emerging danger posed by Iran across the Arabian Gulf. That this is an interesting region would be a monumental understatement. The Kuwaitis are especially hospitable and the experience of the Arab culture and way of life is unforgettable and, although there

Community outreach in Kuwait

are inevitable frustrations, Loan Service offers a unique and entertaining perspective. I have got used now to holding hands with Arab men and, although I can’t say that I always enjoy it, I can see the benefits of such behaviour and no one can accuse me of not putting my country first. We sail a lot to get away from the petro chemical haze; the camping has been brilliant and the family has enjoyed driving hundreds of miles all over the desert in search of that single elusive sand dune. The camels are abundant and very friendly and we have been the hottest inhabited place on earth this year with temperatures soaring to 55˚C. Please do drop in if you are ever travelling to Iran or Iraq – we are ideally situated. DMB

Loan Service in Sierra Leone


MATT, IMATT” shout the small ragged boys as they run alongside the Land Rover, hoping for sweets, a bottle of water or maybe a few coins, even though they know they won’t get any from us. IMATT – the International Military Advisory and Training Team – has been in Sierra Leone for nearly 10 years now, having emerged from the training teams set up in 2000/01 following the successful intervention by British troops that brought peace to this troubled country. The ghastly civil war that raged for 10 years and caused so much loss of life, destruction of property and infrastructure, and left so many orphans, amputees and

Col Martin firing a 12.7mm dushka

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Presenting a certificate to the top student

mentally scarred people, was declared officially ended in 2002, the year that the first democratic elections for many years took place in Sierra Leone. In the years since then, IMATT has been here helping the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) to develop its military capabilities and to become a functioning, democratically accountable armed force. At the same time, IMATT has provided a reassuring presence to the civilian population – a tangible and visible demonstration of Britain’s and the West’s commitment to encouraging peace and stability in this tiny but strategically important African country. At its height, IMATT was nearly 200 strong, with many different nationalities involved – Brits, Canadians, Americans, Australians, Nigerians, Ghanaians and even a Jamaican. A mixture of officers and soldiers, the emphasis to begin with was on reforming and retraining the old Sierra Leone army, giving them basic tactical training and developing their organization, structure, processes and procedures from J1 to J9. Gradually over the years the IMATT numbers have shrunk, quite rightly, as the RSLAF capabilities have improved. At the same time, IMATT has stepped away from its ‘executive’ role, where IMATT personnel

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did much of the work: planning, staffing, delivering training or whatever was required, to a much more advisory role. Now IMATT is only 33 strong, with 21 Brits, 10 Canadians, one US Army officer and one Ghanaian Army officer. Our role now is one of providing mentoring, support and advice to the RSLAF, helping them to develop their capabilities and to embed processes and procedures that will endure beyond IMATT’s eventual demise. Life in Sierra Leone can variously be described as heaven or hell, and sometimes it manages both at the same time. Freetown itself is crowded, filthy and smelly, with appalling infrastructure, heinous roads and worse traffic. The threat of illness from poor sanitation or drinking water is high, as is the risk of death on the roads. But the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming – after nearly three decades of operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, I find it incredibly refreshing to be wanted in a country and to be able to drive around with the windows wound down, smiling and waving at the people who smile and wave back. And on the heavenly side are the beaches, which are stunningly beautiful, and the barracuda or lobster and chips you can get while sitting on the beach are very good too! The job of advising the Government of Sierra Leone on all military matters and of helping the Ministry of Defence and the RSLAF to become increasingly professional and capable is a challenging one. It is by turns frustrating (meetings that get delayed for 4 hours because the Minister is unavailable), demand-


ing (meetings that can go on for 3 or 4 hours and achieve very little), bizarre (having to agree that they should sacrifice a white cow to appease the spirits because the RSLAF had suffered a string of deaths from traffic accidents – amazingly, the numbers dropped rapidly the following week!) and sometimes very satisfying (when they listen to our advice and act on it). The RSLAF is 8,500 strong and with IMATT’s help over the years it has turned itself around to become arguably one of the best small armies in Africa. It has been providing a recce company to the UN mission in Darfur (Sudan) for two years now and will hopefully be deploying a battalion on a peacekeeping mission elsewhere in Africa later this year. It suffers hugely from a lack of resources, as does the country as a whole, but Sierra Leone has enormous mineral reserves (diamonds, bauxite, iron ore, gold, and potentially oil and gas) that are only just being tapped into, so the future looks reasonably bright. The third set of democratic elections take place later in 2012 and if they go well, then Sierra Leone should be seen as having achieved most of its postconflict objectives and be considered as having emerged at last from the aftermath of the civil war. However, there have been outbreaks of violence and unrest at some recent political events and it looks as though we could be in for a ‘bumpy’ year. As ever in Africa, one can never be certain of how things will go and only time will tell. Meantime, Sand and I will be continuing to try to ignore the dirt, squalor and poverty and to make the most of the good things out here for another year or so. JMM

Lancer in Manhattan


am writing this article from Manhattan, where I have been working for the last two years as the military assistant to the senior military officer in the United Nations – a delightful and exceedingly sharp Lieutenant General from Senegal. Assiduous readers of this August journal will recall that my previous article was written from Darfur, where I was the Chief Plans Officer for the UN mission there. I was fortunate enough to be selected for my current post in New York on the back of that appointment and so made the rather unusual journey from Darfur to Manhattan. To say it was a contrast would be an understatement. The UN currently has around 85,000 military peacekeepers in the field, spread across 15 missions. Darfur and the Congo are the two biggest, with almost 20,000 troops in each, but there are some very difficult and challenging ones out there. The UN currently has three missions in Sudan, and others include Côte d’Ivoire; Haiti; Liberia; Lebanon; East Timor and, for the old sweats in the Regiment, one of the most civilised of all – Cyprus. Many are Chapter VII, or Peace Enforcement missions, and therein lies one of our greatest challenges. The old traditional peacekeeping missions like Cyprus, where the UN patrols a border or buffer zone, have largely gone. The stakes have been upped considerably and UN personnel can very often find themselves in the middle of a complex and dangerous intra-state conflict where the peacekeepers themselves are often seen as legitimate targets. 87 peacekeepers have been killed in 2011 alone.

porting the military planning process. The UN has no standing forces or reserves, and can only generate personnel once the UN Security Council has issued a Resolution authorising a new mission. As Kofi Annan once said, “The UN is the only fire brigade in the world which has to wait until the fire has broken out before it can go and obtain a fire engine.” It has been a tremendous privilege to see the workings of the United Nations at such an elevated level. I am frequently required to be part of very senior meetings indeed with the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, or with visiting Heads of State. My role is a humble one – usually as an adviser or note-taker, but it is fascinating to be sitting 15 feet from President Obama or other well-known faces. The United Nations can be a deeply frustrating organisation, but it does the very best it can. It is easy to take much of what it does for granted. The 120 military staff in New York are drawn from 43 different countries. Only four are currently native Eng-

The deployed personnel work to the Force Commander of that Mission and then to the Special Representative of the SecretaryGeneral in theatre – the overall civilian head of the mission. In the Headquarters in New York, there are 120 military staff working for the 3-star Military Adviser – to whom I work. His role is, as his title suggests, to provide advice to both the Force Commanders in the field and to the Under-Secretaries-General and Secretary-General in New York. The 120 staff are responsible for generating all the personnel that are deployed; overseeing the rotations; liaising closely with the staff in the field and sup-

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lish-speakers. Some officers are highly-experienced and come fresh from Afghanistan or elsewhere – others have never been in conflict before or deployed outside their own country or region. That said, the United Kingdom still retains its permanent seat on the UN Security Council (with France, Russia, China and the US) and still has considerable influence. It has been a joy to work in New York. To move from Darfur, where for my last four months I slept on the floor in my office after the house was attacked and compromised, to an apartment just off Central Park has been an unmitigated pleasure. After a long day in the office, to come outside and immediately be immersed in the film set that is New York is a pleasure of which I have yet to tire. This will be my last article for the Delhi Spearman as I have chosen to retire in early 2012. I have had an astonishing ride but it would be very difficult in the current climate to top Darfur and

Manhattan, and I have decided to leave while I am ahead. Thirty years have passed since 2Lt Stafford wrote his first article from the Maze prison as a troop leader in the Regimental Secretary’s squadron. Since then, I have had a remarkable journey via the Falkland Islands; Oman; Bosnia; Iraq; Hawaii; the Congo; Darfur and many other unusual places. I had the privilege of commanding D Squadron twice, including on operations in Bosnia. I am deeply proud to have been able to follow in the footsteps of my 9th Lancer grandfather. I joined the Regiment when it was just 21 years old, in Hohne, shortly after it had been issued CVR(T) for the first time. The Regiment has its 51st birthday looming, but is still in Hohne, and still with CVR(T). Even better, Fred Reid, who took such glee in stitching me up as a potential officer, is still serving. Thank you all for the most extraordinary journey – it has been an honour. Ich dien. NMTS

Perfecting the Southern Drawl


011 has rolled swiftly by down here in the Manoeuvre Battle Lab (MBL), the background for which I covered in last year’s submission. After three months as cover for the gapped Liaison Officer post, the majority of the year has been spent as Project lead for a $2.7 Million simulation experiment, which focused on reconnaissance at the divisional level. A scary proposition from the start, I had to rapidly come to grips with US acronyms, structures, current and future designs; ‘divided by a common language’ proving to be a rather apt statement! Fortunately the five hundred participants were pulled together in timely fashion, the plan was executed as intended and the subsequent report submitted on time (all four hundred and forty pages of it!). It was a robust introduction to US experimentation, but ensured I earned my ‘spurs’ within the organization and at least I now serve with a little more credibility whilst being able to make some contribution to the debate of the future construct of our army back home. On the experiment’s conclusion, my focus switched solely onto the formation of the Executive Officer post (read Chief of Staff) within the MBL Headquarters. Due to the Manoeuvre Centre of Excellence’s current focus on the Infantry Squad, coupled with the arrival of a new Colonel Director, the requirement for the post has suitably evolved and is proving to be a fascinating and educational experience. I find myself right at the heart of the US army’s efforts to determine, equip and train its future manoeuvre force at the same time as we transit into a combat posture back home.

“Duchess of Cambridge’ bar in the basement, thereby providing a little British flavor to the community through its resplendent array of union jacks, London pictures and even a karaoke machine! Away from home, and we have made best use of available travel opportunity despite a remarkably reduced LOA rate. We have managed trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Savannah and South Carolina amongst others but the year’s highlight was certainly our trip to mark our tenth wedding anniversary to New York. For this, Col Noddy Stafford generously offered us of his ‘UN subsidised’ apartment just off Central Park, which proved to be a fabulous base and suited us perfectly for exploring the city despite the three mini CBs being in tow. It was also great to hook up with Col Noddy on his return from a speaking engagement in Rio de Janeiro before our return south. No doubt plans will soon start to unfurl for our return back across the pond next summer. It has certainly proven to have been the right decision to come here and effectively sidestep some of the nonsense that has been experienced back home. Professionally I am being challenged and am (so far) surviving a very different working environment and culture; meanwhile domestically we are having a ball. With a strong post profile, a relevant working environment and a wonderful place to live, this assignment has all the trappings of a great posting and hopefully it will entice many a volunteer over future years. JRCB

I finally concluded a MSc study in Defence Acquisition Management in September with submission of a thesis full of ‘midnight effort’ and which had required a great deal of sacrifice from the family especially over the preceding months. Hopefully ROCC2 will see the reintroduction of formal masters training for majors thus negating such study having to be taken in ‘hobbytime’! In November I turned my attentions to preparing for the Soldier marathon, which took place here at Ft. Benning. Inevitably, I failed to prepare properly and died pretty impressively towards the end eventually virtually collapsing over the finish line in 44th place; I had at least ensured a multinational element to the race through my participation. The next goal is providing coalition representation within an office team for a ‘Tough Mudder’ (US version of ‘Tough Guy’; same idea and just as stupid) in February. Last year I alluded to the size of the houses over here – the US only refer to square footage rather than number of rooms – our 3200 sq feet being considerably larger than anything we have experienced before. The impressive space allowed us to create the

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JCB wins employee of the month

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In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz…


oseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness tackles the human tragedy that European man brought to the Congo as he exploited its natural resources in the 19th Century. There is no longer evidence of Belgians cutting off the hands of natives as an incentive to meet rubber quotas, but the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains plagued from the terrible legacy of poor colonial rule followed by rapid withdrawal before thirtytwo years of Main Operating Baseuto’s kleptocracy. Ironically, it is Africa’s resource-rich countries which are most blighted by corruption and war. With a broken army and hundreds of miles of border blurred by rainforest, DRC’s nine neighbours are easily able to exploit its resources: consequently conflict is widespread. The most significant fighting is a legacy of the Rwandan genocide, more than two million Hutus having been displaced to what was eastern Zaire. Today a group is fighting for a return to govern Rwanda, but the true purpose is closer to a struggle for power and wealth through illegally mining minerals including gold, and diamonds and the very lucrative columbite and tantalite – ‘coltan’ – used in Main Operating Baseile phones. Yes, if you have a Main Operating Baseile phone you probably have blood on your hands! MONUSCO, with some 19,000 troops, is the largest UN operation and its main effort is to ‘protect the people’, particularly in this same eastern border area of North and South Kivu. Its record is not fantastic as anyone can testify who read of just one incident, the 2010 Walikale rapes, where some 200 women suffered a mass rape from Congolese militia while UN troops stayed in their camp nearby. A deployment in autumn 2010 for 7.5 months to the UN’s Forward HQ in Goma on the waterside of Lake Kivu as the intelligence staff officer covering the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was a dream job. Living in a bungalow in Goma’s lively and NGO-heavy community with the Rwandan border one kilometre away with its national parks and gorillas – Camp Bastion it was not! The LRA are a Ugandan group known for terrorizing communities, mutilation of victims and Darwinian selection between siblings abducted as soldiers or brides. The LRA operate in the very north east of the Congo and in South Sudan and so regular travel in antiquated Soviet aircraft was part of the job. But after two months of the high life (if one ignores the daily water and electricity outages and odd bouts of the ‘ab-dabs’), the UN’s British 2-star deputy commander tasked me to leave for Dungu, an airstrip held by Moroccans 100 kilometres from the South Sudan border. My mission was broad: establish a Joint Intel-

ligence and Operations Centre and stop the UPDF (Ugandan army) and FARDC (Congolese army) from falling out. The first task was relatively simple – physical set up of an operations room and collection of information on LRA attacks from available groups: UN troops and agencies, UPDF, FARDC, locals and even NGOs – quite often in broken French. The second task was mission impossible. During the Second Congo War (1998-2003) the Ugandans and Rwandans turned on DRC and plundered it – 5.4 million people died in all. Consequently Congolese soldiers hate Ugandans. Following failed peace talks with the LRA in 2007, the Ugandans conducted Operation LIGHTNING THUNDER in Garamba National Park with a verdict that the majority of LRA had been destroyed, less some 300 who got away. The UPDF took responsibility for this Ugandan legacy, but it was more likely as a cover to justify their continued presence in the DRC for nefarious purposes. Between 2008 and 2011, the Ugandans claimed to have gradually killed those 300 LRA, but the obvious deduction, clear to the Conglese divisional commander, was that the UPDF had lost their justification to remain in the DRC and should go home! With a need to maintain the UPDF in DRC to tackle the very real LRA threat, it was necessary to establish the LRA’s actual strength; however, incident reports originating with local communities wanting attention from NGOs were unreliable in most details, especially in an environment bereft of decent communications. The solution was to task teams to visit attack sites and interview victims first hand – but how could they identify those responsible? Attackers could be unpaid FARDC, renegade or serving UPDF or SPLA, poachers, Mbororos cattle herders, local bandits, organised criminals – all using the LRA fear factor – or simply it could be LRA. Sitting in a conference one day I noticed that all the Ugandans had black skin and all the Congolese a lighter brown skin. The ‘LRA Analysis Tool’ was created. Teams would question victims on the indicators associated with the LRA and the incident type (killing, looting or abduction – the LRA signature activity). The LRA, from North Uganda’s Acholiland, have Nilotic black skin, speak Acholi, are known for their professionalism, trademark Rasta hairstyles and their mixed dress, dirty from living in the forest. These

Happy to be at the top of Mt Nyrogongo

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Maj Wooley flying to Sudan in a plane built in the 40’s……

Two happy men

indicators and more were used to distinguish between the numerous groups that could be responsible for a given attack.

Combining this activity we were able to establish 40 original Lord’s Resistance Army fighters by name and some 70 camp followers. This provided a diplomatic start point for continued presence of UPDF and cooperation with joint patrols with the Congolese. Mission impossible worked for a time but reports are that the UPDF are now withdrawing from DRC – at least officially! My cynicism is based on a number of factors but one interview in particular. A woman victim of the Lord’s Resistance Army recounted how she had been captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army and made to carry a heavy blue bag for days before coming to a clearing where she was made to lie face down. A man with a Thuraiya handset called a helicopter in, a white Mi-8, which she managed to see land and witnessed its whitefaced crew. The group unloaded supplies and the bag she carried was taken. The UPDF happen to have five white Mi-8s in their camp in South Sudan. I know this because I flew there on the bi-plane for a visit to my Shrivenham alumni and spoke to the Russian helicopter pilots. This part of Africa is where the extremes you can’t believe in Boy’s Own films such as Wild Geese are a reality. This activity can only have been UPDF dressed as Lord’s Resistance Army to cover illicit activity (ivory or gold dealing) or the UPDF dressed as Lord’s Resistance Army in their attempt to hunt Lord’s Resistance Army.

This success helped achieve my first task. To achieve the second – mutual trust and cooperation between Ugandans and Congolese – the interviews of victims and Lord’s Resistance Army had to be transparent to both sides. It so happened that the chief Ugandan Intelligence officer in South Sudan was a graduate of ACSC, Shrivenham a connection that helped me persuade him to send victims and captured Lord’s Resistance Army from their base in South Sudan to the JIOC for questioning. Arriving in the UPDF’s 1947 Antonov 2 bi-plane, I was able to interview first hand people who had lived amongst the Lord’s Resistance Army. Within two to three months a picture was established of more than half the remaining groups with details of names, countries of origin, weapon states, locations and behaviour. Most fruitful were child soldiers who are inherently honest but this aroused the attention of child agencies who thought they knew better about how to defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army. Forbidding official interviews in a UN building it was simply a matter of taking the children to the FARDC camp where the agencies had no jurisdiction. From the interviews we learned that the Lord’s Resistance Army lived along the larger rivers for water, fish, cassava, cover from air and navigation which helped narrow our search. The USA, increasingly interested in the Lord’s Resistance Army, operated a surveillance aircraft out of Entebbe which refuelled in Dungu, so, ignoring direction from Kinshasa, we used information from the victims to cue surveillance sorties, especially along the rivers running from South Sudan.

Conclusion: never ignore the international students at staff college – they operate in fascinating parts of the world and may be useful one day! MMRW

Teaching counterinsurgency to the Nigerian Armed Forces


s the lead on education in the ‘Land Stabilisation and Counterinsurgency Centre’, I spend a lot of time training the British Army and Royal Marines in counterinsurgency. I am occasionally invited to teach a foreign military and I was fortunate to be invited to go to Nigeria to instruct the Nigerian Armed Forces in the British approach to counterinsurgency. I flew out with a team from the Ministry of Defence and from the British Staff College to Abuja (the capital city) from where we were driven for 3 alarming hours north to the town of Kaduna, the location of the Nigerian Staff College. The roads are terrifying and I elected to sleep off the overnight flight rather than consider the consequences of the crash that seemed inevitable.

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I spent 5 days instructing an array of officers from the three Nigerian Services; they were eager and it is always fun and satisfying to teach such a receptive audience. The British team consisted of Army, Royal Marines, civilian Police and one academic from the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. Nigeria is a fascinating country; it has significant oil wealth which is largely skimmed off due to a massive corruption problem. Everyone acknowledges the issue of corruption but the only people powerful enough to do anything about it are extremely rich because of it, so actively protect it. Transparency International (an anti-corruption organisation) list Nigeria as the 43rd most corrupt state in 2011 against some stiff competition. The

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Lt Col Goggs at the Nigerian Staff College

police force is largely ineffective and does little to promote law and order in a chaotic land. The once affluent, civilised and educated north of the country has been badly hit by the discovery of significant oil reserves in the south; they now have almost no education or health provided by the state and are disaffected as a result. It is the most populous country in Africa with a population of between 130–190 million; it accounts for half of the malaria cases in the continent. The population is roughly 50% Muslim, 50% Christian with both religions living peacefully side by side (sometimes within a single family). The sense of unfairness and injustice felt by a large portion of the population has generated several insurgent or terrorist campaigns. Around the Niger Delta in the south MEND is a terrorist group currently observing a cease-fire. In the North, Boko Haram is an active group (they set off a suicide car-bomb in Kaduna when I was there) currently growing in popularity and influence. They are tapping into the population’s anger and are exploiting the global Islamic Jihad ‘brand’ although in reality religion is a side issue. The government is busy fighting the military battle against Boko Haram but will need to address some of the underlying causes (corruption and ineffective police) before they can hope for lasting peace. The Nigerian Armed Forces are keen to be part of the solution and have requested assistance in training for this from the British. The majority of officers have a good grasp of the basics of

Tough crowd

the British approach and are keen to adopt it as their own but this will require significant work on their behalf. For example, at the moment they conduct no pre-deployment training prior to embarking on operations (we conduct 9 months solid predeployment (or ‘Mission-Specific’) training and with additional training before that). Having had an interesting, fun and rewarding visit (and a welcome break from office routine) I hope to be able to go to Nigeria again to teach and advise them in the future. DMG

Afghan National Army Advisor, Operation HERRICK 13


n the bus, off the bus….some things never change, especially when the RAF were dealing with two feet of snow on the runway. Even the presence of a rather disgruntled James Blunt (who I sat next to on a plane for 5 hours despite never leaving Brize Norton) could not expedite our departure. So started Operation HERRICK 13 after two excellent years Platoon Commanding at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst…. I was to be part of the Irish Guards led Brigade Advisory Group, then sub-attached to 3 Para, based in Patrol Base Shahzad in Nad Ali North. My role was to provide a G3 Afghan National Army staff lead to the commanding officer of 3 Para and also to work with B Company, mentoring the newly arrived Afghan National Army multiple who would rotate on a monthly basis between 1st and 6th Kandaks. Although this meant I lacked con-

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tinuity in being able to develop one group of Afghan National Army, I was able to keep them fresh and (reasonably) motivated. The result was a very interesting deployment. I would usually spend 5 days out of 7 in one of the tiny patrol bases on the front line, where the threat was highest and the need greatest and mentor the Afghan National Army on the ground, supported by a section or two from B Company. Most of my time was in Patrol Base TAALANDA or OMAR, and I spent a couple of weeks with C Company in FOLAD. For the 2 days a week I was back in SHAHZAD, I worked in battalion headquarters while the Afghan National Army would administrate, wash and re-supply from the local market.

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Absolutely shagged, at least the tache looks good

Queuing up for the hotplate

The Afghan National Army were, for the majority of the time, excellent to work with. They were real characters and incredibly brave. Generous and welcoming, I was made to feel very much part of the gang – I ate with them, drank gallons of chai and spent time getting to know their mannerisms and customs. Each monthly rotation brought new personalities and new challenges and there was certainly a lot of work on my part in managing expectation – both of the Paras and the Afghan National Army. It was not always easy and over the tour there were significant frictions between the two which needed ironing out. I spent a lot of time learning Dari and by the end of the tour could conduct orders groups and give direction in contact without use of the interpreter, much to the entertainment of the Afghan National Army who kept telling him that he was surplus to requirement and could go home!

part of deep strike night air assault operations but also on the main effort (just me, the interpreter and the Afghan National Army) were a particular highlight. We were always in the thick of the action and always at the forefront of activity in the area of operations. The Afghan National Army did require leading and they needed a great deal of management in contact, their modus operandi being to put down a huge weight of fire and a volley of rocket propelled grenades in the general direction of the enemy, but we were successful. Over the course of the tour, the security situation improved significantly and Nad Ali North was able to develop in a way that had been previously impossible.

I was fortunate to have experiences that one would not expect to have as a senior Captain in a cavalry regiment and it was a great privilege to work with 3 PARA. They were consummate professionals and outstanding soldiers to a man. Not only being

Overall, I feel a great sense of pride in what was achieved. I am ever grateful to have returned intact and had an excellent experience. 3 PARA and the Afghan National Army fought hard together and drove the insurgency out of Nad Ali North. I hope it remains thus. MHJW

Like a scene from Black Hawk Down

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Aide to Camp to General Officer Commanding 5th Division


he graveyard of ambition’ was how Shrewsbury was initially described to me. Which is pretty fair, because once you spend time here, you don’t want to leave. And many don’t – there pervades here a slightly more relaxed ethos compared to other bits of the army and there is a lot of fun to be had. It is not to say that the headquarters is not busy. Far from: with 90 odd sub units and 20,000 people spanning Wales and pretty much everything in England north of the M4 and south of Sheffield, it covers a huge area and there is a lot going on – from force generating reservists for demanding operational tours to dealing with infrastructure projects and service enquiries. The GOC is permanently juggling balls and trying not to drop any. The Aide de Camp therefore has a particularly interesting job. He is party to everything but involved directly in nothing, so it is a great environment to listen, learn and absorb, especially at a time when the army is undergoing such enormous structural and organisational changes. The Aide de Camp exists to ensure that the GOC sees everyone in his division sufficient that he can fulfil his MS responsibilities and offer reassurance to them that those at the top are listening to what those at the bottom have to say. So there is a lot of travel, often by helicopter which is very civilised indeed, especially if it lands in the GOC’s garden and then in the garden of a stately home, owned by an ex 9/12L friend of the GOC who happens to be letting the Territorial Army exercise on his land. From a personal perspective it has been a wonderful 8 months. I came here from two busy years platoon commanding at the Royal Military Academy Sandhust followed by Operation HERRICK 13, so it has been great to lead a normal life, finish work at a reasonable hour and be able to get to London on a Friday before having the weekend off. The ADC has the benefit of a

Woowah and Gen Rutledg

small cottage at the end of the GOC’s garden and it has been a great pleasure to be out of the mess and cooking for myself. And the countryside is wonderful, to say nothing of the hunt balls, dinner parties etc that the extremely welcoming locals have invited me to. However, this is the end of an era. As my tenure here draws to a close, the divisional headquarters is imminently shutting down. There will be no more ADCs; no more GOC. There is some wonderful symmetry here though: The 5th Division was raised by the Duke of Wellington, previously a 12th Lancer, and is being shut down by a 9th/12th Lancer, whose father, uncle and father-in-law were 12th Lancers. A fitting end to a long and illustrious history. MHJW

SO3 Combat Arms, Combined Training and Advisory Group-Afghanistan, Kabul


suspect slightly out of sight to those in the Regiment operating at the sharp end within Helmand Province during Operation HERRICK 14 was the vast Afghan National Security Force training engine of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTMA). NTM-A is centred in Kabul but with numerous outlets

around Afghanistan. Within NTM-A is the Combined Training Army Group-Afghanistan (CTAG-A), whose raison-d’être is the development of the Afghan National Army. Colonel Charrington will of course be very familiar with it, having been its Deputy Commander in 2009–2010. In this organisation from November 2010 to June 2011 I held the post of SO3 Combat Arms – grandly sounding, even exciting. In reality it held the undoubtedly interesting, yet very staff focused, task of assisting the Afghan National Army in turning their ‘Phase 1’ trained ‘mass’, into something of a ‘Phase 2’ trained force prior to the recruits entering the field army via the Consolidated Fielding Centre (CFC). Easier said than done but improvements in training standards are being achieved. Coordination of training covered most arms and services including infantry, artillery, armour, engineer, signals, and other Afghan National Army officers and soldiers.

One of the Minards brothers in Kabul

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To achieve this NTM-A relies upon the contributions of many ISAF nations, for example Aussies to train the Afghan National Army gunners and Norwegians to train Afghan National Army signallers. Underpinning it all are numerous personnel from the US Army. I was based throughout at Camp DUBS located adja-

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cent to the old King’s and Queen’s Palaces just south of the city. Both are now literally shells of their former selves, and serve as a contrast to the rapid development of other parts of Kabul. Control of NTM-A was affected from Camp EGGERS in the centre of the city; a camp that held the greatest seething mass of staff officers known to man – upwards of 3,000. A place to avoid where possible. Arguably the technically most ambitious training mountain to climb was mentoring and developing the Afghan National Army armour capability; led primarily by a French armoured training team. Not only are the Afghan National Army attempting to reinvigorate their T-62/M113 capability, but are also to receive up to 550 brand-new M1117 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, provided of course by the US. The initial working of how to meet the training bill for this project was a particular mix of challenge and frustration, but ultimately one which will provide the Afghan National Army with an operational ability to react to events around Afghanistan, with speed and force, if reinforcements are required at short notice. The French were a good bunch, laughed at my GCSE level grasp of their language, and were never more than

3 feet from a bottle of red wine and some camembert cheese. Kabul itself proved intriguing, and in most ways a world away from the rest of Afghanistan. Only in Kabul have I seen three men on a motorbike riding at 70 mph the wrong way down a dualcarriageway. But I suppose you need to get your kicks somehow. On returning to the United Kingdom I have now embarked on Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L)). It is going well and dare I say it is very interesting with some varied speakers such as Dean Richards (former England rugby captain), Maj Gen Carter (currently working on the Army 2020 design), Lord Ashdown (former leader of the Lib Dems), and Ken Guest (a former Royal Marine who has spent from 1982 on and off in Afghanistan as a photo journalist). So for those officers currently at regimental duty who may be looking towards ICSC(L) in the future, it is certainly a course that is satisfying to attend and one that sets you up well for future appointments. It is something to look forward to! Finally, may I wish all those currently at regimental duty well for the coming year. WJM

Army Training Regiment (Bassingbourn) (ART (B)


he 9th/12th Royal Lancers commitment to the Phase One training Regiment, Bassingbourn, remains an important post in shaping the soldiers of tomorrow’s British Army. Being near Cambridge, the camp is in an idyllic location and full of character. Sadly the camp is due to close in August in order for it to be refurbished in preparation for a German regiment returning back to the United Kingdom – ideal for the 9th/12th Royal Lancers should we be so lucky!

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The new recruits had really taken their toll on Capt Greig

The new year has seen some new faces to ATR(B) and it is Kitchener Company that gets to enjoy the 9th/12th Royal Lancers touch. SSgt Allen as the CQMS and Captain Greig as one of the Platoon Commanders. Over each intake, which last 14 weeks, the permanent staff work hard to deliver a robust and competent soldier to the Phase Two training regiments; the Royal Armoured Corps Phase Two being at Bovington. At the start of 2012, Kitchener Company picked up a new intake of 126 recruits and immediately put them through their paces on the Drill square, room inspections, fieldcraft skills, weapon handling and some unpleasantly cold, but character building nights, on exercise. All going well, the recruits will conclude their Phase One training with a Pass Off parade in late April, which will be witnessed by their proud friends and families. For the permanent staff, there will be a two week gap before taking the final intake through their Phase One training at Bassingbourn, which will run up until the middle of August. When not in work this summer Capt Greig plans to spend many an hour on the banks of the trout lake that is on camp and anyone like Capt Richmond wishing for free tuition is more then welcome! WG

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Another year at 16 Cadet Training Team


his year has flown by! Having expected to return to the Regiment last March my plans were changed when the Career Management Officer phoned and told me that I had been granted a one year extension in post. As I had just bought a house back home in Hereford this was an unexpected bonus and meant that I was able to ensure that the wife and the regimental twins settled in nicely. There have been many changes at 16 Cadet Training Team in the last year. The Team Sergeant Major, WO2 Cheshire retired as did Sgt Sidford, the 16 Cadet Training Team stalwart (with 11 years in post under his belt). Unfortunately neither post has been filled so I find myself in the enviable position of being the most senior member of the team, answering only to the Officer Commanding (when he is not sailing off into the sunset). It is all character building and I’ve relished the opportunity to be the boss! Last year was full of uncertainty for me as my name came out on tranche one redundancy, but I was pleased to be informed that this was a mistake (as I hadn’t had 2 reports in my substantive rank). I was elated; however this has been short-lived now that I have been informed of my place in tranche two. This could be a short return to regimental duty… I have completed all the usual camps in the last year, with 13 weeks LSA earned. I never did get my Mountain Leader Trainer course in, but managed to slip down to Brecon for my A Qualification Course in October. Running around with Paratroopers and Special Forces Pathfinders, most of whom had 10 years on me, was a shock, but I passed and was pleased to see the 9/12 Lancers were well represented with 3 of us on the course (myself, Corporal Mukuwanga and Sergeant Stevens).

Returning last year to Mons Moy was great and at times I felt I hadn’t been away, although it was strange (and pleasing) to see lots of my troopers were now Lance Corporals. Over the last year 16 Cadet Training Team has carried out several courses for both Cadets and Adults including the Adult Initial Training Course which is like basic training but only for a week. We have an eclectic mix of students; from ex regulars with recent operational experience to guys who got out before I was born, ex cadets (who think they know everything) and civvies who have no military background what so ever but fancied doing something in the community. It is fascinating to see how they relate to each other (or not!). We also took 3 range courses where we qualify the adults to run ranges and write Range Action Safety Plans. These are overseen by the Small Arms School Corps Major and are run over 2 consecutive weekends. The camps last year were the usual round robin of training, ranges and shocker exercises. Buckinghamshire Army Cadet Force made my day when we were in Chickerall; they invited me to their Mess Dinner held in Bovington, cue much explaining of pictures and fine Cavalry traditions (I was the last to leave as was right and I made sure nobody nicked out). This was followed by Oxfordshire’s camp in Ripon and a ‘mess’ dinner held in a golf club – from the sublime to the ridiculous! I’m due back in March 2012 and looking forward to seeing you all again. MGPM

Tayforth University Officer Training Corps (OTC) Work and play as the St. Andrews Permanent Staff Instructor (PSI) “To develop the leadership potential of selected university students, raising awareness of the Army’s ethos and building interest in it’s career opportunities; in order to secure their commitment, whether as officers or as future leaders in their chosen profession, to champion the Army in Society”


o reads the mission statement of the OTC. A great deal falls out of it, but more of that later. I arrived at my new quarter at RAF Leuchars in late November 2010, my arrival heralded by a foot of snow. (Always a great start for the removals men to tramp snow through the house, over new carpet – not their fault, but trying telling that to your better half). So, after a very brief period of unpacking and looking round our new environment, I set about my handover/takeover. The St. Andrews Territorial Army centre is a listed building on the western side of the town, bequeathed many moons ago by a faculty member. I am the only member of staff in work daily, though I share the building with the local Army and Air cadets, one night each per week. The saving grace is the view from my office window – overlooking perhaps the most famous golf course in the world and the lowlands of Fife and Angus. (I hasten to add at this point that I am avidly anti-golf. Was it Winston Churchill or Mark Twain that said it is the best way to ruin a good walk? Having tried it, I’m inclined to agree, but it is practically a religion here)!

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Tayforth is slightly different to most OTC’s, primarily because of geography. It is made up from 3 universities – St. Andrews, Dundee and Stirling, so this had some affect on my takeover procedures, but all went very smoothly. So much for leaving accounts, monthly checks, LSI’s, ECI’s, Health and Safety and SHEF behind! This ran almost into the Christmas stand down, so up to this point, my interaction with university cadets had been very minimal. It’s also quite unsettling that whispers of “the new PSI looks scary” and “who’s the big bald bloke” were tied in with ‘rabbit in the headlights’ expressions whenever I passed them. So, my first Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland under my belt, I was more than ready to start getting amongst the new job and instructing officer cadets. The annual training program fits in around term times and although all universities have slightly different timings, the basic run down is as follows: September: Freshers Week and OTC open evenings. (Those of you who have been to university will no doubt fondly remember Freshers – I don’t – absolute chaos)! However, this is where we have a week in which to recruit new cadets. Some will have some kind of military background, perhaps as cadets or parents

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in the military, or know about OTCs before they arrive. For the majority it is something they were unaware of, but because we are the only club to pay them, soon foster a keen interest. Bare in mind that we are not only capped with maximum numbers (varies annually), but are also competing with all other societies/clubs. This was certainly an education for me – everything from debating societies, through whiskey appreciation clubs and tiddlywinks to all manner of sporting societies. Inevitably Freshers are inundated with offers and sign up for anything that takes their fancy. In due course our initial numbers are whittled down and a more or less final list is formed and the relevant paperwork is sent out. Then follows a protracted period of finding original birth certificates, passports, parental signatures and lost paperwork. It does all eventually come together in time for mandatory medicals however. At this point there are a few lost due to unknown, or undeclared medical issues, but at the end of a painful 24hrs a final list is put together.

October: A recruit selection weekend is undertaken, usually over the first weekend of the month. At this point they undergo a PFA, command tasks, personal presentations, discussion groups and interviews. Again, some are not selected and some even voluntarily withdraw at this stage. Following the weekend, the successful candidates are informed by post and an attestation date is arranged. This is normally done at the relevant territorial army centres by the sub-unit OC. Shortly after, they are issued a basic working quantity of CS95, another small adventure! From here they begin training, starting with the Military Leadership Development Program (MLDP)1. This is a concentrated form of basic training, including skill at arms, drill and fieldcraft. This all sounds fairly straightforward, but they are not a captive audience like phase 1 recruits and most parts of the selection take place over weekends and/or Wednesday nights, with them still doing their respective

I would not mess with him

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university studies. Getting them all in one place at the same time is certainly a challenge! November and December: Training continues alongside those now undergoing MLDP2. This is where the officership part comes into it’s own, teaching the 7 Questions, Combat Estimate and orders. For the most part, I have been involved primarily with the MLDP1 training and having seen the faces of the staff teaching university cadets the intricacies of presenting a set of Deliberate Attack orders, I am quietly chuffed about that! January/February: A week long Winter Camp is undertaken, to test both MLDPs. The 2s are eventually tested by external invigilators and if successful attain the prestige of passing and receiving a pay rise. The 1s go through very basic military tests, culminating in a 36 hour field exercise. Their parents are invited to attend a passing out parade at the end of the week, keeping what we do very much in the public eye. This Winter Camp is sometimes replaced with a Spring Camp, around April/May. No change in content, but allows for more training in basic skills. The remainder of the year is undertaken with continuation training for all, assisted by the more senior cadets. This includes a 2 week summer camp just prior to the their summer break. It usually comprises a weeks military training and a weeks adventure training. There is also ample opportunity to attend a myriad of other tasks, such as adventure training and expeditions of all natures. Social events also come thick and fast, from Squadron Balls to barbeques. Assistance with other territorial army and regular unit exercises, help with local community tasks including conservation and the more structured Firm Base taskings over their summer break. These include helping out with various CCF or ACF summer camps. There is never a lack of interest in these and competition for a couple of weeks pay is fierce!


Very suddenly we are back at September and another Freshers Week. Some dates and timings change to accommodate the unforeseen, but that is pretty much how the year pans out. It is fairly well structured and allows for some planning of down time. After working more weekends than not and a great deal of late nights, the down time is very welcome. This is a fantastic part of the United Kingdom, with endless things to do, regardless of the time of year. It’s fair to say that Scotland has something to offer, regardless of your personal interests. For me that has meant that my casting average and catch rates have improved significantly. (I’m a sea angler). To the degree that I was selected for the Army team last year for the Inter Services competition, where I’m pleased to say, the Navy and RAF were shown yet again how to fish! The University Officer Cadet is a strange, unique and complex beast. Constantly engaging, sometimes frustrating but never boring. I very quickly lost all preconceptions of what I thought they would be like. Even now, 15 months in, they continue to surprise me with their ability and attitude. To get the best from them and the appointment, a PSI by turn, needs to be a Phase 1 Sect Comd, a Tp Sgt, SQMS, SSM, OC, big brother, mentor, agony aunt and life coach! I look forward now to starting prep work for the Summer Camp and returning to Regimental Duty. This has been a very challenging, but rewarding appointment. The location is absolutely stunning, the responsibility broad but manageable and the variety endless. I would not hesitate in recommending this to any senior non commissioned officer considering an instructional posting. NU

9/12th Lancers Charity Freefall


hen we moved to Netheravon in September 2010, it didn’t take me very long to notice we were right underneath the drop zone of the Army Parachute school and the more I watched the little black specks fall out of the sky, the more I wanted to have a go. I will try anything once, but thought it would be much more fun to share the experience with friends and decided that raising money for the Regimental Charitable Association was the perfect reason, as I would not normally throw myself out of a ‘plane tightly strapped to a man I’d never met before. Elizabeth Gasson Hargreaves, my cousin Alex Mommersteeg and Tim’s niece Olivia Round all readily agreed with me.

dren through the little window and wondered for a split second if I was normal and then I reminded myself that we had raised nearly £5k for the Regiment and chosen to put ourselves in this situation – there was no going back now. The suspense and anticipation made the next twenty minutes seem like forever. It was all very loud…lots of shouting – banter about Smudge and Joe not having any qualifications etc – en-

We picked a Saturday in June hoping for crystal clear skies and no wind. Unfortunately the cloud cover was lower than forecast and we had to wait nearly 3 hours for it to clear, which gave us a bit too much time to get apprehensive and our instructors Smudge and Joe seemed rather relaxed. Our rigorous and extensive training consisted of about 5 minutes practising the required positions and a bit of information about the webbing and parachute itself – I was quite relieved to learn that tandem parachutes are fitted with a chip which opens them automatically if the instructor doesn’t. I was less happy to learn that Smudge didn’t know who had packed our parachute – or maybe he was winding me up. Finally there was a gap in the cloud and no time to lose before it closed. Olivia (who is only 16) and I went first and we climbed into the ‘plane with about 10 other skydivers. I waved at my chil-

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Tentative smiles

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roundness of the earth and piercing blue of the sky above us. We waved at the photographer and then we were gone. I’m a great believer in ‘if you are going to do something, you might as well do it properly’, and had asked Smudge to do a few somersaults out of the ‘plane – like I’d seen on the internet! Apparently we did 3, but the height, noise and speed is so disorientating I had no idea which way was up. And then we were freefalling and it was fantastic and I was thinking, I am really doing this! …the earth was still round and strangely the ground didn’t seem to be getting any closer and when we went into the cloud I thought Alicia and Verity will want to know what cloud feels like…and then it was over and suddenly there was silence.

Huge relief when the chute opens!

gine noise and when the door opened to let the others out, the wind noise was even louder. Everyone else left at 11000 feet but we had to go on up to 13000 as it takes a tandem canopy 2000 feet to open. I was excited rather than scared and could see Olivia was too. I checked my clips – there were only 4 – for the millionth time and we edged towards the door. I could see the

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We drifted back to the airfield much faster than I had expected (but apparently that had something to do with the fact our lines were twisted) the landing was very smooth, a bit like when you are water skiing and let go of the rope. And I’m quite proud to say the altitude meter on Smudge’s wrist had recorded 44 seconds of freefall at 127mph. Getting out of your comfort zone for a good cause is very rewarding. All four of us thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and we are very proud to have raised over £5,500 for the Regiment while you were in Afghanistan. Thank you to Elizabeth, Alex and Olivia for being crazy enough to do it with me, the guys at the APA, and especially thank you to everyone who supported us. KR

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Home Headquarters Home Headquarters, 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), TA Center, Saffron Road, Wigston, Leicester LE18 4UX Regimental Secretary Major D N Chappell Telephone: 0116 2785425, Fax: 0116 2759571 Assistant Regimental Secretary Captain S P Hardy Website: Administrative Officer Mt S Mamnani email: Or: Another year comes to a close. It was a busy and fruitful year. Firstly the Regiment deployed to Afghanistan and Home Headquarters was prepared to assist in any way it could. The Rear Operations Group at North Luffenham looked after all the casualties and dealt with the arrangements following from the sad death of Corporal Watkins. Home Headquarters acted in a support role to them. It was gratifying to see that the Ministry of Defence had finally assumed the responsibilities that had been in the very recent past, left to the Home Headquarters concerned. The tour coincided with the Dedication of the Memorial at the Arboretum. 105 Old Comrades Association members attended on a rain swept day, that poignantly was the very day that Paul Watkins’s death became known. Bill Norman (whose father had been Colonel 9th Lancers before the Second War) conducted the service and gave a rousing address. The other feature of the year has been the Fund Raising for the Charitable Association. It was felt necessary to do this, as the cost of treating casualties, especially amputees and those suffering mentally in the long term, continues to be ever greater. We felt that we should be prepared for this.

A number of efforts were made, that are referred to in more detail in this journal. I would just like to say that once people were made aware of the potential need, individuals stepped forward and proceeded to jump out of aircraft, run over very testing hills and a marathon, and eat some of the most expensive meals known to mankind. The result has been over £100,000 for the Charity. It is proposed to hold a further event, a Clay Pigeon Shoot, in July 2012. I would like to thank Joe and the team here, who have not just done all the work, but been apparently happy to let me take any credit, when they knew full well that I was actually absent from the office all along. Suresh and Celia make an increasingly experienced team and will continue to support the Regimental family in any way they can. Last and very much the least, I am retiring after nearly eight years here. Not before time, you may say, but I will be closely followed by Joe Hardy. We will be succeeded by a new team headed by Major Martyn Pocock late the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. He lives in Leicestershire and is well versed in his own regimental matters, and will have no trouble adapting. I am sure you will give him your full support, and also to Joe’s successor who has just been confirmed as Major Phil Watson late 9/12L. DNC

Old Comrades Association President: Major General J H T Short CB OBE Old Comrades Association Committee Chairman: Major D N Chappell Deputy Chairman: Captain S P Hardy Hon. Secretary: Mr J W Smith Hon. Treasurer: Mr N A S Higginson Mr W F Brown Major R M Collins Captain O N G Scholte

Members Edward S Nelson Esq Mr R Ward Mr T Gent

To say the least this year has been very busy indeed. It never ceases to amaze me what lengths some old comrades will go to in support of the Regiment. From confirmation of the Regiment’s impending tour, Home Headquarters was inundated with old comrades wanting to help in the form of fundraising for the benefit of any injured soldiers and their families, and to me it only goes to show that we are truly a family orientated Regiment. Some of the old comrades exploits can be found elsewhere within this issue of the journal. As usual the newsletter was circulated in January, with the first event of the year being held on Saturday 26th March in the form of Museum Day, combined in the evening with the Derby Reunion.

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Mr M Lewis Mr G Arnold Mt C C Whitehead

The Museum day was very well attended by 42 members of the Old Comrades’Association, with the main theme concentrating on Aviation within the Regiment, our thanks go to Lt Col Patrick LortPhillips for a splendid presentation. This was followed by a talk on Medal Groups awarded to the 9th & 12th Lancers 1894–1945 given by Mr Colin Hook, who we are most grateful to in bringing his expertise on the subject for the benefit of all concerned. This was followed in the evening by the Midlands Reunion, a total of 208 attended, slightly down on the previous year due to Regimental commitments, but a great evening was had by all that attended. Our thanks once again go to Gary Arnold & his wife Yvonne, plus all the volunteers that help out for a most splendid weekend.

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On Saturday 16th April The Wessex Reunion took place at the Sherborne Hotel Sherborne. A total of 41 attended and were treated to an excellent lunch. Our thanks go to Mr Ken Draper and his wife Liz in organising the event. The Old Comrades Association AGM & Dinner took place at the Civil Service Club London on Saturday 7th May a total of 71 old comrades attended. On Sunday 8th May the Combined Cavalry Parade took place in Hyde Park, our contingent consisted of 22 Officers and 26 men on parade, a good turnout bearing in mind that a majority of the Regiment were away. What can only be described as a memorable occasion took place at the National Arboretum Staffordshire on Saturday 16th July 2011, when 105 Old Comrades Association and 30 serving Officers and soldiers attended the unveiling ceremony of the new memorial to the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and their antecedent regiments. Our thanks go to the Rev Canon Bill Norman (Late 9th Lancers) for officiating, and also the Commanding Officer for allowing the guidon to be paraded.

Service (Poppy Planting). This was followed by a lunch in the Union Jack Club. Just as an after thought, note: numbers are now restricted (ticket only) so if you wish to attend, please send your return in early when prompted.

On Sunday 4th September a Memorial Service and luncheon was held at Canterbury Cathedral, twenty members of the Old Comrades’ Association attended, this was followed by a excellent lunch in the Cathedral Lodge.

On Friday 2nd December the Old Comrades Association held their Christmas Luncheon at the Civil Service Club a total of 27 attended.

The Band of The 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers held their 14th Annual Reunion at the Monkbar Hotel, York over the period 9th/10th and 11th September. A total of 33 attended a little down on previous years, but all in all everyone thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Our thanks go to Mr Denis Haydock for all his hard work in organising the event

Sadly this will be the last time that I will be co-editing the journal as I retire in April 2012 from my role as Assistant Regimental Secretary. I would like to thank you all for your total support over the past 12 years, and wish you all the very best for the future. SPH

Once again we gathered in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Thursday 10th November for the Field of Remembrance

Obituaries Last but not least it is with great sadness that I have to report the deaths of the following Old Comrades: Major A R F Arkwright

Mr Eric Gregory

Major A J Bennett MBE MM

Mr John C Carpenter

Major R M Collins

Mr Arthur Roy Mansell

Captain J E Robson MC The Honourable P J W Fairfax Sir Basil Hall KCB MC TD S W B Landale Esq

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Mr John Robinson BEM Mr Steve Dye Mr Ryan Marven

D C Watney Esq

Mr Brian Taylor

Sgt Bert Westerman

Mr W A Bosley

Mr Roger Bellars

Mr Michael Andrews

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Captain John Robson MC 12L Captain John Robson, who has died aged 88, was awarded an Military Cross in Italy in 1945 and subsequently had a successful career in industry. On April 26 1945, Robson, then a lieutenant serving with the 12th Royal Lancers, was patrolling in an armoured car near Lendinara, northern Italy, with orders to carry out a reconnaissance on the approaches to the river Adige. He was in close country, there were enemy pockets of resistance everywhere, and he and his troop corporal decided that they must cover the last part on foot. As they got near to the river, their way was barred by a strong German fighting patrol. Robson was short of time because the Engineers were in urgent need of his report. He and his comrade were unsupported and heavily outnumbered. If it came to a confrontation, they stood every chance of being killed or captured – but they immediately opened fire with their Tommy guns and charged the enemy. In the short, fierce fight that followed, they killed four and made prisoners of another eight. They then went on to the river and, after getting back to the cars, were able to radio the vital information required. Robson was awarded an immediate Military Cross. The citation added: “This is only one of several occasions when he has shown outstanding qualities of determination and fighting spirit.” John Edward Robson was born in London on April 8 1923. He was educated at Haileybury, where there were compulsory cold baths every morning and the loos – there were about 20 of them in rows facing each other – were in a roofless building that was known as White City. In 1941 Robson went up to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to read Natural Sciences but left in the summer of 1942 and, after completing a short course at Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the 27th Lancers. He was posted to the 12th Lancers and, having joined the Regiment in Algiers in October 1943, landed in Naples the following April. As they approached Venice, in the last days of the Italian campaign, Robson and a New Zealand company commander were told to secure the Hotel Daneili. The order came from General Freyberg, who had spent his honeymoon there. Robson commandeered a gondola and, as he wrote in his memoirs, “we were shot at by the fascists from the palazzos along the sides as we were punted down the Grand Canal”. After the end of the war he went to Egypt and to Palestine, where he went out with the Ramle Vale Hunt. He retired from the Army in 1947 and worked for Samuel Osborn & Company, steelmakers and manufacturers of engineering tools, based in Sheffield. He subsequently became managing director of Samuel Osborn Overseas and, for 30 years, spent about three months every year travelling abroad on business. He retired in 1978 and farmed in Sussex and then in the Ashdown Forest. Robson was an enthusiastic sportsman. He was an expert falconer and also enjoyed stalking in Scotland. By 1955 he had hunted with 19 packs of foxhounds, 19 packs of beagles, 12 packs of otterhounds and various packs of harriers and staghounds. From 1974 to 1986 he was Joint Master of the Old Surrey & Burstow and, in 1995, when he hung up his hunting boots, he had ridden 71 horses since the end of the war.

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He published, in 1998, One Man in his Time, a biography of his friend David James, the politician, writer and adventurer. Robson was also the author of A Portrait of Jorrocks Country: The Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt (2001). He married, in 1955, Wendy Cox; she predeceased him, and he is survived by their two sons.

Sergeant Herbert “ Bert” Westerman 12L Born in Thorp Arch, Yorkshire, the son of a Butcher and veteran of World War One. Bert enlisted in November 1947, serving in the 12th Lancers in Malaya, Germany and Cyprus before amalgamation with the 9th Lancers in 1960. Further postings included Aden and Germany before being discharged in April 1969. Bert continued “to serve”, becoming a Warrant Officer / Instructor in the Wetherby Squadron of the Air Training Corps, a duty he fulfilled with passion until his eventual retirement. Interest in the 9/12L never faded and he was often present at Old Comrades’ Association events. Bert is survived by his Wife Dorothy, four sons, Grandchildren and Great Grandson. MW

Major Anthony Richard Frank Arkwright 12L Anthony died on 6th October 2011, surrounded by his family, at his home at Welbury in North Yorkshire, after a long illness. He was born at Alresford in Hampshire on 5th June 1930. His father, Lieut Colonel Frank Arkwright DSO, MC was killed in 1941 commanding the 4th City of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) in hard fighting at Knightsbridge just before El Alamein. General Sir Richard McCreery, another 12th Lancer, said of him “His men thought he was the bravest and coolest man in action imaginable”. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross and was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Order. In 1947, after Eton, Anthony followed in the steps of his father and his uncle, Major General Harry Arkwright. He went to Sandhurst having completed his basic training at Catterick. He was commissioned into the 12th Lancers and joined the Regiment at Barnard Castle in 1951. Not long afterwards he went with the Regiment to Malaya as a troop leader. While on this tour he was sent home to Bovington for a short course, during which time he married Diana Garle. This led to 59 years of very great happiness and the arrival of Mark and Caroline. Mark subsequently became the third generation of Arkwrights to join the Regiment, at Detmold in 1975. Didy’s most devoted care in the last few years of Anthony’s illness brought him enormous comfort. After Malaya the Regiment moved to Germany until 1958. During this time Anthony went as ADC to General Douglas Fair-

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banks at Dusseldorf. In 1959 the 12th Lancers moved to Cyprus and after returning was amalgamated with the 9th Lancers at Tidworth in 1961 with outstanding success. Between 1961 and 1964 Anthony was adjutant of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry and went on to command B Squadron at Osnabruck. Before his retirement in 1968 he had a short posting in the Armoured Corps branch of the Ministry of Defence. Anthony joined the Jockey Club as a handicapper in 1968 and retired in 1995. Working at home, with his friend the fax and his enemy the computer, he strove for handicapping perfection and achieved it. His crowning moment was when he was asked to join Her Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms in 1981. Before his retirement in 2000 he was made Standard Bearer, a very great honour. In a very moving address at Anthony’s funeral Christopher Mordaunt, his brother officer, racing colleague and old friend said of him:“Like many special people, and they did not come any more special than Anthony, he was able to seemingly combine the opposite demands of life with consummate ease. On the one hand, no one enjoyed a party more than he; but never would this interfere with the utter dedication, expertise and selflessness which he put into his life; whether it be as a handicapper, soldier or the time he gave to the Bodyguard, membership of which he considered such a great honour but which was at the same time simply another part of the life which he graced. On the racecourse Anthony’s charm, friendliness and approachability, combined with the confidence of a man on top of the task, resulted in him commanding the affection and respect of everyone involved. Anthony’s progress into racing was a natural extension of his army career where again, with charm and hard work, expertise and fun, he just made life so good for all those lucky enough to be around him. His soldiers adored him and, by his own example, his contribution to the success of the forming of the 9th/12th Lancers was priceless; especially as, typically, he already had many 9th Lancers friends before the amalgamation was even mooted.” Anthony was once publicly described as “the nicest man in racing”. All those who knew him will remember him as the most loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and staunch 9th/12th Royal Lancer.

Sir Basil Hall Sir Basil Hall, who has died aged 93, was awarded an Military Cross in 1944 in the Italian campaign; he subsequently chose a career in Whitehall, rising to become Treasury Solicitor.

and the War Office.

In 1946, after serving with the Judge Advocate General’s Department of the Army, Hall joined the Treasury Solicitor’s department. In the course of a distinguished career he advised several government departments, among them the Admiralty

As deputy treasury solicitor, he acted as solicitor to the first inquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland. He also represented the United Kingdom at Luxembourg in cases before the European Court. He was appointed Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor in 1975 and Knighted in 1977. Basil Brodribb Hall was born at Finsbury Park, London, on January 2 1918 and educated at Merchant Taylors’ School. After being articled, he passed his finals just after the outbreak of war. He had joined the Territorial Army’s Inns of Court Regiment, and served with the 12th Lancers (12L) in France in 1940. Following the evacuation of the majority of the BEF from Dunkirk, a cadre of 12L formed the 27TH Lancers (27L), an armoured car regiment. It sailed for Egypt in late 1943 and, after some months in the Middle East, in July 1944 landed in Italy. A few officers took the opportunity to visit old friends in 12L. The occasion turned into a party which was slightly marred when they discovered that they had been given the nickname of “The Desert Mice”. The terrain consisted of a series of barren ridges divided by steep valleys. The roads were poor, the bridges had been blown up by the retreating Germans and for many months it was impossible to patrol in armoured cars. Hall was in command of a squadron and, in August at Antirata, east of Arezzo, he led a fighting patrol in which he knocked out a Spandau post and brought back much valuable information. In November he led the first armoured car patrol into the SavioRonco basin, south of Ravenna. Although the driver of his scout car was severely wounded, Hall managed to complete his reconnaissance. He then launched his force, and in the ensuing engagement they took many prisoners and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. He was awarded an MC. Hall rejoined the Inns of Court Regiment after the war and served as a major until 1955. After retiring in 1980, among the many letters that he received from friends and colleagues was one from Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, who said: “You have done splendid work as Treasury Solicitor. I have known many, but you are the best of all in every way.” He subsequently served as the United Kingdom member of the European Commission on Human Rights in Strasbourg, travelling widely on missions to countries to explain how their laws would be affected by adherence to the human rights convention. Hall was chairman of the Civil Service Appeal Board from 1981 to 1984 and legal adviser to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. He was also a member of the Council of the National Army Museum from 1981 to 1992. He was keenly interested in military history and church architecture, and enjoyed excursions to France, where he had a small house. Basil Hall died on May 2. He married device, in 1955, Jean Gowland, who survives him with their two sons and one daughter

He also took part in the negotiations over the independence of a number of Commonwealth countries on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Cyprus, he recalled, had proved particularly testing because Archbishop Makarios, albeit a charming man, made a habit of going back on what he had agreed the previous day.

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Major R M Collins Bobby, as so many knew him, was born in Lancashire, his family home, in 1924. Both his father and elder brother commanded The Loyals, a County Regiment, but after school at Radley, he was invited to join the 12th by General Herbert Lumsden, then Commanding and a friend of his father’s. After training he was commissioned in 1944 and joined the Regiment in Italy, where he was wounded. Service followed in Egypt and Palestine before a break at Trinity College, Oxford. Here he gained an Honours Degree in Modern History and was selected to row for his country in the Coxed-fours, in the 1948 Olympic Games. Shortly before the Regiment, then at Barnard Castle, sailed to Malaya in 1951, Bobby rejoined as 2IC to John Clark-Kennedy, then commanding A Squadron. When Sir Henry Gurney, then Governor of Malaya, was ambushed and killed by communist terrorists, he was despatched with two troops to regain control and to arrange for the retrieval of Sir Henry’s body. For this, Bobby was Mentioned in Despatches. In 1954 the Regiment returned home, briefly, before joining B.O.A.R. in Germany in 1955, where Bobby was appointed Adjutant. Whilst there, some will recall the story of him accompanying his Commanding Officer, a bachelor, and one or two others, to a party one evening in some out of town hostelry. Driving himself back to barracks afterwards in his elderly Mercedes, (allegedly once owned by Herman Goering) he took a wrong turning up a railway line and halted the Berlin Express. This caused some consternation in both civil and military circles. Bobby was quickly spirited back to England for an attachment to the 11th Hussars, then in Carlisle. He again rejoined the Regiment in 1958 to command HQ squadron, when they sailed to Cyprus to relieve The Blues. Based under canvas near Nicosia, the Regiment provided the Governor, Sir Hugh Foot, with both an Escort Commander and an ADC. Resulting from that, he was frequently invited to Government House as a popular and entertaining guest of the family. Bobby decided to retire just before the Island was granted it’s independence in 1960.

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The Regiment returned to England the same year to amalgamate with the 9th at Tidworth. In 1962, as a Retired Officer, he was appointed to form the combined Regiment’s Home Headquarters, initially at Market Harborough and then, in 1967, at Leicester. Whilst there, he was responsible for the foundation and furnishing of the regimental museum in Derby. In 1973 he finally retired to Civilian life and settled in London where, later, he became Secretary of the Association of Genealogists. Another consuming interest was Italian art, which took him to Venice and Florence, as well as any Exhibition in London, latterly with the help of friends. In his younger days he had been Master and hunted various packs of Beagles and, until his health began to fail, was a steward at the annual Peterborough Hound Show, responsible for measuring beagles. Bobby was unique and a most cultured man, possessing an amazing breadth of knowledge, gained by travel, reading and his love of art, history and literature. He could quote from the Bible or recite verse from Chaucer, Shakespeare and the more modern wartime poets and beyond. Above all his abiding passion was his regiment, whether 12L or 9/12L, it’s history and everyone who had served in it. He had an incredible and photographic memory and power of recall. After retirement he remained, in one capacity or another, a key member of the Old Comrades Committee. Countless Colonels and Commanding Officers sought his advice on customs, traditions, regimental property and pictures and personalities. His robust sense of humour and infectious laughter endeared him to everyone. Many would recall his amusing anecdotes, generally prefaced by “and do you know……..”. He was a friend and confidante to many and will be fondly remembered by Officers as well as many past All Ranks. His health failed last year when he spent many weeks in hospital, finally dying of pneumonia and kidney failure , January 27th, a few months before his 88th birthday. We shall never know another like him. God bless him and may he rest in peace. ONGS

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Officers’ Regimental Dinner The Officers’ Regimental Dinner was held on Thursday 1st December 2011. Those in attendance are shown below. Major General J H T Short Major General M J Rutledge Major General R V Searby Major General G M G Swindells Brigadier J R St D Mackaness Brigadier L J R Nash Brigadier T P Robinson Colonel R A Charrington Colonel D H S L Maitland-Titterton Colonel N M T Stafford Lieutenant Colonel N C Everard Lieutenant Colonel T P Fairfax Lieutenant Colonel W J O Fooks Lieutenant Colonel P F G Lort-Philips Lieutenant Colonel R M Readhead Lieutenant Colonel R Slack Major L J Barnett Major J Bishop Major D N Chappell Major D C D Coombes Major P Corcoran Major N S Croft Major S Crofts Major S P Doherty Major M D Everett Major D M Goggs Major A J Jones Major T R Jones Major J F B Panter Major J Pearce Major M D A Pocock Major D R Pritchard Major W J R Richmond Major A E B Simpson Major H G Simpson Captain H F Arbuthnott Captain R J Broadbent Captain R G Bond Gunning Captain E J Carpenter Captain A J Champion Captain B G J Collins Captain N A Foot-Tapping Captain C D Glyn-Jones Captain C W Going Captain A J Grant Captain W N C Greig Captain S P Hardy Captain C S Hatton Captain T R Hercock

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Captain A J Horsfall Captain T P Hughes Captain F T C Inglefield Captain T G Kappler Captain H Kemp-Gee Captain C M Knight Captain C R Lacy-Thompson Captain H P F Lort-Phillips Captain C A Luke Captain R S A L Maitland-Titterton Captain J I D M Matheson Captain C J Miles Captain W J Minards Captain C C F Naylor Captain P H Norman Captain R L Orcutt Captain J Rickett Captain R M Sankey Captain O N G Scholte Captain C G L P Sclater Captain R C Scott Captain E J A Smith-Maxwell Captain D M Stratford Captain J A Styles Captain O A Tickner Captain N A Vye Captain R H Willing Captain T H Woodhead Captain M H J Woodward Lt R E S Aitken Lt C D Fisher Lt N J Groome Lt A Robinson Lt F W H Taylor-Dickson The Reverend Canon W B Norman Sir David Scholey J F St G Airey Esq R S Benson Esq C E S Cherry Esq M G de Burgh Esq J P B Freeland Esq C A Heneage Esq P J S Lumsden Esq E S Nelson Esq M J M Ovens Esq D E H Panter Esq J G Pelly Esq Mr J Miles

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9th/12th Royal Lancers (Princes of Wales’s) Charitable Association The Committee of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) Charitable Association have pleasure in presenting their report for the year ending 31st December 2010 INCOME Subscriptions General Subscriptions from Regiment Donations Investment Income Income Tax recoverable on subscriptions Legacies Total EXPENDITURE Benevolent Grants & Allowances Subscriptions to Charities and other Donations St George’s Church Ypres RAC War Memorial Fund Army Benevolent Fund SSAFA 9/12L OCA Subsidy Home Headquarters, IT and insurance Contribution to cost of Regimental Journal Sandhurst Representative Regimental Museum Charrington History Book Administrative costs Victorian Silver Compass Caton Woodville Painting Colonel of the Regiment Fund JLR Old Boys Association Maguire collection 9/12L Regimental Donations Adventure Sports/Training Mons Moy Chattels Transport to Clarence House Silver valuation Total Excess Income over expenditure

2010 £10,451.00 £31,830.00 £1,829.00 £31,455.00 £3,616.00

2009 £11,201.00 £29,900.00 £9,309.00 £31,266.00 £3,055.00 £1,500.00 £79,181.00




£100.00 £150.00 £5,000.00 £5,000.00 £1,330.00 £2,370.00 £3,600.00 £350.00 £1,000.00 £3,159.00 £4,796.00 £1,009.00 £800.00 £750.00

£100.00 £150.00 £5,000.00 £5,000.00 £2,055.00 £2,370.00 £3,600.00 £350.00 £1,000.00 £11,450.00 £5,049.00

£200.00 £14,415.00 £4,000.00 £4,000.00 £5,000.00 £1,550.00

£6,000.00 £3,000.00

£3,217.00 £65,196.00 £13,985.00

£85,596.00 £635.00

CASES The Association dealt with 43 individual cases during 2010. Joe Hardy continued to work hard to gain additional funding from the other Service Charities. GENERAL Income was down but this is entirely due to the difference in the amount of Donations in the year. The final instalment was paid on the publication of the Charrington History. The Association paid for the acquisition by the Museum of a silver compass that was carried by General Hope-Grant (9th Lancers) in China and during the Indian Mutiny. They also paid £800 to acquire a Caton Woodville Painting of 1914. In addition the Association contributed £14550 towards Regimental activities during the year, including the transport of soldiers to Clarence House.

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Regimental Museum


ork has continued this year on catching up on back-log work left over from the gallery redevelopment, processing and sorting un-accessioned ‘found in store’ material. Finally – with relief – the end is in sight for this material which has included lots of photography, booklets and pamphlets regarding recruitments, invitations and cards. Work has also begun on auditing the stores which was long overdue which has resulted in finding long-lost things as well as previously unaccessioned items such as lance-cap tine and plumes, bugles, collapsible wash basins and pennants. Notable donations have included a set of miniature farrier’s tools (Derbyshire Royal Lancers : 2011–52), made by Corporal Shoeing Smith J W Smith, 9th Lancers while Prisoner of War during the First World War, along with a necklace made from horsehair and a few documents and photographs associated with J W Smith. Corporal Shoeing Smith J W Smith was mobilised in August 1914, wounded 24.8.1914 and from that date was prisoner of war in Germany for the rest of the First World War. He obviously had a lot of time on his hands. I hope to display these items along with others in time for the centenary of the begin-

ning of the First World War in 2014. Other historic items offered to the museum has been a remarkable set of Boer War photographs believed to have been associated with Lieutenant Colonel J N Price Wood of the 12th Lancers and may either feature him in some of the photographs or was taken by him in the field. I am pleased to say that 2011 has been a good year to receive modern current-issue equipment and uniform. Firstly uniform items, belts and other equipment belonging to, and worn by Colonel Richard “Crash” Charington during his time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Secondly a group of items which collectively make up a near complete current issue uniform and basic equipment including Osprey body armour yoke, helmet, boots and new pattern combat trousers and jacket was donated by the Regiment using items from their Afghanistan 2011 deployment. I will use these to replace the 1991 uniform currently on show and will help to keep the gallery up to date with current issue material. As always if you have any items you wish to donate to the museum please contact the curator: Mike Galer on 01332 641913 or MG

The Band of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and Colleagues from the Regimental Old Comrades Association


and of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers and Colleagues from the Regiment Old Comrades Association Reunion September 2011 Once again our Annual reunion was held at the Monkbar Hotel, York. The attendance was the lowest since our inception in 1997/98 but what a lovely weekend it turned out to be with Harry Whitwell, former Trumpet Major and now in his 84th year, leading from the front in spite of longstanding illness and requiring a comfortable chair for the all important photo shoot. A total of 33 husbands and wives sat down to dinner on the Sunday evening with our regular pianist Helen Leach playing background music from the world of show business and a couple of arias from opera sung by a very capable and talented lady from the hotel staff. The pity of all this is that the ones who do not attend are missing a terrific and enjoyable weekend – unfortunately none of us are getting any younger but strange as it may seem it is the elders in our group who year after year appear on the photos looking much younger than their age-take a look at the attached photomost of them are in their eighties but they wouldn’t miss out for anything. Col Crossley couldn’t make it last year because of a prior engagement but will be with us this year-a nice surprise for everyone last year was the appearance at the Sunday dinner of the Hon Daniel Beckett and his lovely wife The Hon Mrs Daniel

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Beckett, son and daughter in law of the late Lt. Col Beckett-they now have a regular invitation to our Annual Reunion. My colleague Dennis Williams has taken a leaf out of the evangelist Billie Graham’s book by circularizing all members in letter form to return to the “fold” and attend this year’s Reunion before time runs out. The dates are Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 14th, 15th and 16th of September 2012.Please contact me on 0161 764 0186 /email: DH

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Unveiling of the Memorial Headstone for Corporal Thomas Hancock VC, 9th Lancers, 1822-1871


hanks to the generosity of Mr Charles Ashton and the hard work of Mr Brian Horton, on 15th October 2011 a headstone was unveiled at the Brompton Cemetery to commemorate the life of Corporal Thomas Hancock VC of the 9th Lancers. Those attending included the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Deputy Mayor and other Councillors, representatives from The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, The Chelsea Pensioners, The Royal British Legion and The Directors of the Corps of Commissionaires. The Regimental Charitable Association Trustees were represented by Mary Anne Charrington and John Smith, the Museum Trustees by Colin Hook and the serving Regiment by Colonel Richard Charrington. Corporal Hancock joined the 9th Lancers as a private in April 1842 having spent a year in the 3rd Light Dragoons. It would appear the motivation was perhaps to enjoy the better standard of life (and opportunity for financial gain) that might be enjoyed in a regiment about to go to India – the 9th’s first tour there was about to begin. Although promoted to Corporal soon after joining, he was not a model soldier and seemed to go up and down the ranks fairly frequently, depending on the state of his acquaintance with the local drink – a series of Regimental Courts Martial ending with conviction for ‘habitual drunkenness’ and later, ‘absence and making away with his necessaries’. Private Hancock, as he was then, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action during the siege of Delhi on 19th June 1857 when he, Private Purcell and Sowar Roopur Khan protected Brigadier-General James Hope Grant (9th Lancers) whose horse had been shot from under him in an action to save some artillery. In the action Hancock was severely wounded and his arm was later amputated. The Regimental report stated: “Brigadier Grant brought to notice the conspicuous bravery displayed in this days fighting by Privates’ Thomas Hancock and James Purcell of the 9th Lancers. The Brigadier’s horse having been killed and himself surrounded by mutineers, these two men went to his assistance and succeeded in rescuing him from his perilous position. While thus employed, Private Hancock’s right arm was carried away by a round shot. Her Majesty was graciously pleased to grant the Victoria Cross to Privates’ Hancock and Purcell for their gallant conduct. The latter did not live to receive the decoration, he was mortally wounded at the assault of the City on the 14th September following.” Promoted to Corporal, Thomas Hancock was discharged as a result of his injury, but returned to England with the Regiment and lived in London from 1858. In the following year he joined the newly formed Corps of Commissionaires, working at a jeweller for a short while before moving to be a Lodge Keeper in the Home Park at Windsor. On the 19th October 1859, Queen Victoria recorded in her Journal that she and her daughter Princess Alice drove out in her

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pony carriage and stopped “To talk to Hancock, who has got the lodge near the bridge. He is a Private of the Lancers, who saved Sir H. Grant’s life, lost his right arm and got the VC from me in June at Buckingham Palace. He was 16 year in India and is covered with medals, – a fine very soldier like looking man….” He left the post in 1862 and the Corps of Commissionaires in 1865 after which little is known of his life. After a long and painful illness he died on 12th March 1871 at the Infirmary at Earls Court with his cause of death given as excessive fluid in the body – possibly a kidney or heart failure. He was buried in a common (unmarked) grave in Brompton Cemetery. Although the exact location of his grave remains unknown it is fitting that this distinguished soldier of the Regiment should be properly commemorated. We are deeply indebted to Charles Ashton and Brian Horton, neither of whom are connected to the Regiment in any way, whose efforts have made this possible.

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Regimental Charitable Association Fundraising Dinner for Afghanistan at White’s Club


s part of the wider effort to raise money for the Regimental Charitable Association a dinner was held at White’s Club on 28th September 2011. Generously hosted by Luke Ponsonby, Algy Smith-Maxwell and Luke Meynell those present dined in considerable style in the Card Room with fabulous food and wine. Although spared suffering through a charity auction, those present were made to endure a most un-regimental blast of speeches to aid digestion and remind those present why they were there. Colonel Richard Charrington spoke of the state of the Regiment, Lieutenant Alex Robinson on the realities of operations in Afghanistan and Major David Chappell on the reason for an appeal for funds. Further entertainment was provided by a quintet from the Life Guards’ Band (including a bandswoman who almost brought all-male White’s to a standstill) with a tear coming to many an eye with their renditions of the Regimental marches as well as other favourites such as Rawhide and Minnie the Moocher. In total £80375 (including Gift Aid) was raised by those attending the dinner and others who made a donation. This was a phenomenal total from a single evening and, as well as thanking our hosts, I would like to thank all those who so generously contributed to the success of the dinner:

Danny Beckett, James Boughey, Anthony Brockbank, Martin Busk, Colin Cherry, Adam Cooke, Marcus Craggs, Willie Crawshay, Charles Crewdson, Giles Crewdson, Nick De Zoete, Robert Douglas Miller, Nick Everard, Tom Fairfax, William Fergusson, Tim Hercock, Anthony Jones, Peter Lewis, Rupert LycettGreen, Hugo Meynell, Luke Meynell, William Parry, Nick Peto, Luke Ponsonby, David Pritchard, Andrew Reed, David Scholey, Algy Smith-Maxwell, Tim Woodhead. RAC

9th/12th Royal Lancers OCA Coast2Coast Walk 2011


fter months of planning and meetings, it was finally time to stop the talk, and walk the walk! June 6th 2011, a cloudy damp morning in St Bees Head in Cumbria, ahead of us lay 192 miles of unknown territory. Had we trained enough, had we bitten off more than we could chew? 14 people, ex serving soldiers of the Regiment, their wives, family, friends and 2 serving soldiers, began the walk with excitement, trepidation, and a little bit of fear of the unknown. Having followed tradition and dipped our toes into the Irish Sea and collected our pebbles to be dropped into the North Sea, we climbed St Bees Head. The clouds cleared, the sun came out and we were able to look out over the Irish Sea, and view the Isle of Mann, Ireland and the coast of Scotland, all in one panoramic view. Sadly, after day 1, that would be the last of the sun for the next seven days. Following our first climb on Day 1, we were all of the opinion that surely, the description of a “lung busting climb” by TV presenter Julia Bradbury, meant that all would be downhill from now on, and went to bed buoyed up by the idea we had done the worst. Wrong, the following days climbing in the Lake District got progressively higher and more difficult. The weather became worse, raining constantly, the rain, combined with the sweat caused by wearing waterproofs made every step a struggle. We would start the day tip toeing through puddles and hopping over streams, and end the day just wading through everything, because we couldn’t get any wetter. Despite all this, we were all stunned by the views on offer every time we reached a new peak, and even more stunned by the generosity and words of encouragement of our fellow walkers. On day 5 we were joined by and ex-Lancer, Peter Latimer, and his partner Rosy. Peter had served in the Regiment during the

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seventies, leaving in 1980. None of us had heard or seen him since that time, but he had heard of our efforts and was determined to join in. This, despite having major heart problems earlier in the year, and heart surgery looming. A wonderful effort by Peter and an excellent example of what the Regiment means to people. The first weekend was another highlight, when family members and friends joined us on the walk through the Yorkshire Dales. We were also joined by the family of a serving senior Non Commissioned Officer currently with the Regiment in Afghanistan, the Dyers. This was a timely reminder for us all as to why we were walking. The weather took another turn for the worse, this time adding hail storms into the equation, not a good start to our only camping experience of the walk. On Sunday morning, everyone was up at 4am, cold, wet and eager to get going, just to warm up! Having reached the halfway point, we said our goodbyes to those who had spent the weekend with us, and they left with a new respect of our achievements so far. On Monday, 13th June, we were joined by the Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Short, who accompanied us from Reeth to Richmond. . This was a real morale boosting visit, and the Colonel spent time with everyone during the walk, and even took his turn in carrying one of two Lances that accompanied us throughout the walk. To end the day, a well earned beer was enjoyed, courtesy of the Colonel, in Richmond square, and for the first time in a week, the sun shone. The following day we were back to the core walkers as we left the Dales and headed into the North Yorkshire Moors. Those that served/trained at Catterick, reminisced about their time there as they walked. The terrain was fairly flat compared to what we had previously walked but as we neared our destination, those dreaded hills came into view, and we knew there would be more pain before the end.

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Finally on Day 11, we caught our first glimpse of the North Sea. This was a magical moment for everyone, and there was a recognisable bounce in everyone’s step. We had arranged to stop in a hotel only 6 miles from our destination of Robin Hoods Bay, so this meant a fairly short last day. Day 12 Following an enjoyable night, everyone was up early and enjoyed their first full English breakfast of the walk. Clean clothes were put on, everyone smiling for the cameras, and blisters aches and pains were forgotten. There was a carnival atmosphere during the walk, lots of banter and even more photographs being taken. We were again joined by The Dyer family and also our old friend Kev Betts, an ex Lancer from the 70’s, now disabled having had both legs amputated. Kev was determined to be with us at the end and was carried to the beach for the final photo session, we were all so “chuffed” that he had made it. It was right that he should be with us at the end, especially after he put so much effort into our fund raising. A great night followed, when all the walkers received certificate and medals for their efforts, and more importantly, we had made others aware of our Regiment and what they were doing. All walkers agreed, whatever we had gone through over the last 12 days, paled into insignificance compared to what they were going through, but it did draw us closer to them. We have continued to raise funds until everyone is home safe and sound; the current total raised so far is over £12,000! This has far exceeded our expectations and on behalf of all the walkers and the Regiment, I would like to say a big thank you to all that donated. God Bless you all! I would just like to end this report by thanking all the walkers and their families, Home Headquarter for their vital support and encouragement, and also the Regiment itself, who have been superb in supporting our efforts. The biggest thank you goes to all those who have already sponsored us, without you, we couldn’t have done it! PO

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Regimental Gazette – Order of Battle Regimental Headquarters Lt Col WJO Fooks Maj DM Goggs Capt WJR Richmond WO1 CR Whitehead Capt H Rendell Capt CJ Miles WO2 SM Mansfield Capt GJN Duffield Capt J Rickett WO2 NJ Galley Capt W Harris Capt RM Millar SSgt CA McIntyre Sgt A Hall Sgt O’Brian Cpl R Ravutia Mrs T Pfaff-Canning

Commanding Officer Second in Command Adjutant Regimental Sergeant Major Padre Operations Officer Regimental Signals Warrant Officer Intelligence Officer Training Officer Training Warrant Officer OC TACP Careers Management Officer Assistant Careers Management Officer Regimental Provost Sergeant Staff Support Assistant G3/Training Clerk Command Clerk

Regimental Administration Office Capt M Harrison Capt JM Franklin WO2 J Nolan SSgt P Smith Sgt D Williams Sgt G Davies Mrs C Morris

Regimental Administration Officer Detachment Commander Regimental Administrative Warrant Officer Financial Systems Administrator Regimental Accountant Systems Co-ordinator Leave and Movements Clerk

Rear Operations Group Maj LJ Barnett Capt H Kemp Gee Capt D Clarke Capt C Hatton Capt DA Fleetwood Capt W Buxton WO2 C Broadhurst WO2 J Curl WO2 I Wright Sgt M Hanby WO2 T Elliott SSgt Revill SSgt Miles

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Officer Commanding (Royal Wessex Yeomanry) Second in Command Quartermaster Quartermaster (Technical) Welfare Officer Regimental Medical Officer Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (Technical) Motor Transport Warrant Officer Regimental Catering Warrant Officer Squadron Sergeant Major Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant Royal Army Physical Training Corps Instructor

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BCR Troop Lt NJ Groome Sgt Bagshaw Cpl Horne Cpl Tawaketini Cpl Chase Cpl Lander Cpl Flude Cpl Garvey Cpl Gourlay LCpl O’Beirne LCpl Maunder LCpl Jones 217 Tpr Jervis Tpr Wooliscroft

Tpr Kennett Tpr Peckham Tpr Waring Tpr Hardy Tpr Butler Tpr Milford Tpr Knox Tpr Kirkby Tpr Wright 138 Tpr Sibson Tpr Nagorski Tpr Taylor Tpr Wilson Tpr Williamson

Tpr Kuik Tpr Lister Tpr Lovatt Tpr Mcneice Tpr Ordinado Tpr Roelfse Tpr Plavecz Tpr March Tpr Hudson Tpr Wilson Tpr Clement Tpr Gill Tpr Stewart Tpr Mcgovern-Scott

Tpr Leaper Tpr Blanksby Tpr Ball Tpr Callaghan Tpr Mountney Tpr Hutchinson Tpr Clarkson Tpr Hannan Tpr Nicholson Cfn Bushell Cfn Lomax Cfn Walters

El Hamma Troop Lt A Robinson 2Lt T Wythe Sgt Stevens Cpl Brierley Cpl Reid Cpl McCabe Cpl Pincott LCpl Bates LCpl Cargill LCpl Gobvu LCpl Ferguson LCpl Loughman LCpl Maunder

LCpl Smith 331 LCpl Weetman Tpr Bowler Tpr Batsford Tpr Buckley Tpr Carnie Tpr Colquhoune Tpr Davies 591 Tpr Dennis Tpr Doney Tpr Easter Tpr Eaton Tpr Findlay

Tpr Foster Tpr Fowler Tpr Fullard Tpr Gooraya Tpr Garvey Tpr Hollands Tpr Holloway Tpr Kirven Tpr Lightly Tpr Newson Tpr Owen Tpr Penhallurick Tpr Pretorius

Tpr Quelch Tpr Sanders Tpr Saunders 460 Tpr Saunders 630 Tpr Shaw Tpr Smith 683 Tpr Stewart Tpr Thomas 027 Tpr Thompson 294 Tpr Trowbridge Tpr Vaughan Tpr Williams Tpr Wright 145

A Squadron Maj MD Everett Capt TR Gooch WO2 LA Beuttell SSgt J Cassidy Capt AJ Grant Lt RES Aitken Lt EJ Minards Lt WG Locke Lt FWH Taylor-Dickson 2Lt J Bull SSgt (Art Veh) Whiteford Sgt Garley Sgt Parker Sgt Champkins Sgt Pook Sgt Foster Sgt Casey Sgt Hallas Sgt Hopper (Royal Yeomanry) Sgt Lewis (REME) Cpl Smith 835 Cpl Southard (RAMC) Cpl O’Kelly Cpl Warburton (AGC) Cpl Browne Cpl Kelly Cpl Byrd Cpl Ferla Cpl Tennant Cpl Mawby

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Cpl Rushton Cpl Charlton Cpl King Cpl Miles 208 Cpl Paine (Royal Yeomanry) Cpl Keen (REME) Cpl Robinson (REME) Cpl Payne (REME) LCpl Graham LCpl Wright LCpl Scott LCpl Njimgye (RMP) LCpl Wooderson LCpl Clarke (Royal Yeomanry) LCpl Smith 641 LCpl Jaekel LCpl Carson (Royal Yeomanry) LCpl Ellerby LCpl Murphy

Officer Commanding Second in Command Squadron Sergeant Major Squadron Quartermaster Sergean Troop Leader Troop Leader Troop Leader Troop Leader Troop Leader (Int Corps) (REME) LCpl Beams (Royal Yeomanry) LCpl Lee LCpl Hancock LCpl O’Bierne LCpl Payne (Royal Yeomanry) LCpl Bloom LCpl Plastow (REME) LCpl Thomson (REME) LCpl Brown (REME) LCpl Donoghue (REME) Tpr Winstanley Tpr Musson Tpr Cross Mne Owen (RM) Mne Williams (RM) Tpr Doyle Tpr Thomas Tpr Richardson Tpr Chapman

Tpr Abbey Tpr Chick Tpr Julian Tpr James Tpr Hastilow Tpr Russell Tpr Tappin Tpr Cliffe Tpr Court Tpr Gorbutt Tpr Burrow Tpr Chapon Tpr Fearon Tpr Hobson Tpr Watling Tpr Aris Tpr Ellis Tpr Burgess Tpr Ghost-Rider

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Tpr Green Tpr Large Tpr Shelton Tpr Sloane Tpr Carpenter

Tpr Brougham Tpr Coleman-Hughes Tpr Miles 157 Tpr Stephens (Royal Yeomanry) Tpr Bowerman (Royal Yeo-

manry) Tpr Dunning (Royal Yeomanry) Tpr Cokayne Tpr Smedley Tpr Matulewicz

Tpr Viveiros Cfn Miller (REME) Cfn Pierre (REME) Cfn Wojick (REME)

B Squadron Maj D Coombes (QDG) Squadron Leader Capt N Foot-Tapping Capt O Tickner Capt AJ Horsfall 2Lt C Fisher

WO2 L Swain WO2 N Galley WO2 N Saul WO2 C Broadhurst

WO2 M Kaminski SSgt D Coles SSgt P Swain Cpl Matai

Tpr Morris LCpl Marshall Tpr Gillborn

B Squadron (BRF) Capt TP Hughes Troop Leader SSgt J Knowles SSgt Potter Sgt Lucas Sgt Dyer Sgt Mann Sgt Nyambira Cpl Browne 821

Cpl Tye Cpl Bedson Cpl Quinn Cpl Butler 604 LCpl Clarke 640 LCpl Farkins LCpl Blakeley LCpl Kimble

LCpl Raines LCpl Olive LCpl France LCpl Neal LCpl Chaple LCpl Moore LCpl Charlton Tpr Needham

Tpr Lowe Tpr Allen Tpr Smith 230 Tpr Cutts Cfn Butcher

C Squadron Maj SP Doherty Capt WNC Greig Lt JET Davis Lt R O’Shea 2Lt T Burwell Capt J Styles WO2 Noone WO2 Mansfield Sgt Liburd Cpl Edwards 918 Cpl Edwards 991 LCpl Stone

Squadron Leader Second in Command Troop Leader Troop Leader Troop Leader BAG LO Squadron Sergeant Major Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant

LCpl Brewster LCpl Owers LCpl Watkins LCpl Younger

LCpl Luff Tpr Massey Tpr Smith 585 Tpr Smith 312

Tpr Campbell Pte Thapa (RLC)

Headquarters Squadron Sgt Hancock Sgt Callaghan Cpl Smith 158

Cpl Spencer Cpl McDaid Cpl Preston

Cpl Weatherhead LCpl Patterson LCpl Oldale

LCpl Gandidzanwa LCpl Culeen Tpr Vallee

Chefs SSgt Asher (RLC) Sgt Phagami (RLC) Sgt Pickard (RLC) Sgt Tookey (RLC)

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Cpl Thapa (RLC) LCpl Davidson (RLC) LCpl Grundy (RLC) LCpl Moloney (RLC)

LCpl Smith (RLC) Pte Berry (RLC) Pte Davies (RLC) Pte Reid (RLC)

Pte Sankey (RLC)

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Miscellaneous PMAG PMAG NTM(A) NTM(A) NTM(A) Medic Art Vehs Dvr Escort

Capt F Inglefield Capt R Willing Sgt Hollis Sgt Hobson Cpl Stephens Cpl Osborne SSgt Taylor Tpr Doherty

Reception Staging Onward Integration (RSOI) RCO TVCCI RCO Minhad LO Range NCO TVCCI Quad Instr

SSgt Pfaff-Canning Sgt Hale Sgt Hopkins Sgt Jordan Cpl Burbidge Cpl Reid Cpl Spencer

Light Aid Detachment Capt MJ Sutton WO1 C Hazel Artificer WO2 W Bruce SSgt McSeveney Sgt Gibbs Sgt Sexton Sgt Seward Sgt Abbott

Cpl Branford Cpl Brookfield Cpl Deveney Cpl Fisher

Officer Commanding Sergeant Major Artificer Quartermaster Sergeant LCpl Wong Cfn Billington Cfn Bradbury Cfn Quansah

Cfn Smith 337 Cfn Bambra Cfn Froget Cfn Murray

Officers at ERE Maj Gen JHT Short CB OBE Maj Gen MJ Rutledge OBE Brig JR St D Mackaness MBE Brig TP Robinson OBE Col DM Bennett BA (Hons) psc+ Col RA Charrington MA MBA psc+ Col JM Martin BSc (hons) psc Col NMT Stafford CMG MA FRGS psc+ Lt Col NJW Bailey psc, sq(w) Lt Col AC Brodey Lt Col MMR Woolley pcs(j) MA Lt Col IR Woodbridge MBE psc Lt Col KL Bannister CAFS sq(w) Lt Col JR Campbell-Barnard Maj GDH Clifford Maj NS Croft MA psc(j) US Maj MG Eyre-Brook Maj JA Farrer BSc, MSc Maj JEJ Fuller Maj J Gasson-Hargreaves Maj GPJ Henderson Maj GJF Hood Maj TR Jones Maj TSD Lyle Maj SM McGann Maj JF Panter Maj J Pearce Maj CBR Preston MA (Hons) Maj GS Reid

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Colonel of the Regiment GOC 5XX Senior British Officer, Ramallah Commander 1 (Mech) Bde Col DS Kuwaiti Joint Staff College Job Evaluation Judge DPS(A) Comd IMATT Special Asst to Military Adviser Dept of Peacekeeping SO1 Recruiting Applications SO1 Land DS Kuwaiti Joint Staff College MONUC, Congo Chief PAO JSyCC PolPlans SO2 XO to Manoeuvre Battle Lab SO2 G7 HQ ARRC JSR/3 Operations Dir MOD SO2 Tech FTU SI JOTD SO2 Plans, NRDC MA2/VCDS & 2nd PUS OC 4CTT SO2 PAO Plans SO2 Armd SOTD 2IC QDG CRR(NW) Trg Major RWxY OC HQ COY ATR Bassingbourn Trg Major RMLY QM RWxY

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Maj DG Rhodes Maj HL Searby MBE BA (Hons) Maj AEB Simpson BA (Hons) MA Maj HG Simpson Maj AJA Stirling Maj PA Watson Capt SJ Clitheroe Capt E Carpenter Capt EPA Harden Capt RJT Farmer Capt T Kappler Capt D Keeney Capt GW Martin Capt WJ Minards Capt JA Rathbone Capt S Tripuraneni Capt AJ Winter Capt M Wellborn Capt MHJ Woodward Lt AJ Champion

ARO Nottingham MOD A Block SO2 Armd/ISTAR FTG ICSC(L) SO2 G4 HQ ARMCEN SO2 G4 Plans & Resources SO2 Armd CAST(G) 2IC RP 1IG ADC/GOC 5XX SO3 G7 AMA/Comd CTAG SO3 J4 HQ 16 (AA) Bde QM MSSG SO3 to Senior Mentor CTAG(A) Adjt RTMC OC UK RP OC ART 13A Ground Liason Officer No II PI Comd RMAS Balkans Tp Comd ATR(B)

Warrant Officers and Sergeants at ERE WO1 S Buckley WO1 M Ingram WO1 L James WO1 R Loseby WO1 G Martin WO1 A Rhodes WO2 S Bennison WO2 M Blunt WO2 D Dalton WO2 A Dynes MC WO2 P Edwards WO2 J Hughes WO2 A Machin WO2 L Major WO2 A Pegg WO2 RO Pritchard WO2 D Wragg BSc Hons WO2 N Ulliott WO2 D Wragg BSc Hons SSgt L Allen SSgt E Fox SSgt R Fleetwood SSgt DT Gibson SSgt C Hackney SSgt D Hallewell SSgt A Johnson SSgt KR Lane SSgt LM Major SSgt J Mawhinney SSgt K Rowley Sgt A Barwick Sgt P Davies Sgt R Doherty Sgt J Dorn Sgt SJ Farren Sgt MA Flint Sgt MGP Milner Sgt RJE Reeves Sgt KA Sidford Sgt G Stoker Sgt M Smith Sgt S Whawell Sgt D Williams Sgt JE Wilkinson Sgt J Worgan

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Trials Planning Office ATDU RSMI CVS JFAC Instr WO1 Platform Integration Author CIS School RSWO RWxY RSWO RY ARMTAT BOWTAG(N) AC-IO A&R Instructor/USSO CBM(L) App Sp Team SSM Waterloo Sqn RAC TR Area Sys Mgr East CIS School Gp B WO BOWTAG Instructor UOTC Instr/SSM Instructor BOWTAG SQMS ATR Bassingbourn TA PSI TA Salisbury D&M Instructor ARMCEN RAC Gunnery Instructor TA PSI TA PSI Instructor LWC TA PSI Trg Wing RAC Gunnery Instructor ACIO JCC Tp Sgt ACA ACIO IT Admin Instr (Op Trg Team) Instructor SI CIS School Instructor Instructor D&M School CIS Instr Tp Sgt Field Training Group Instr D & M Instr Tp Sgt

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JNCOs and Troopers at ERE Cpl M Cattell Cpl RD Fisher Cpl AA Lewis Cpl A Spencer Cpl PW Watson Cpl BR Whittaker LCpl K Aixill LCpl B Brooks LCpl DTJ Brewin LCpl A Galsworthy LCpl A Green LCpl J Markley LCpl J Oliver LCpl J Pearce LCpl C Reeve LCpl SJ Weetman

Tp Cpl RAC TR 2IC Duty of Care 10 Trg Bn Reme Admin Office ISTAR LWDG Storeman Bovington Pl Instr ATR Bassingbourn Tp Cpl RAF Honnington Tp SP COY MT PL Armourer/Storeman RMAS CRT Bovington ART2 ATR Bassingbourn ART Driver Comd 1X TACP 617 Hohne RAC TR DAS

Postings In Maj AEB Simpson Capt D Clarke Capt J Styles Capt E Harden Capt A Lowe Capt C Knight Capt M Harrison Capt S Tripuraneni Capt W Buxton 2Lt H Richardson 2Lt W Fry WO1 C Whitehead SSgt Smith SSgt Miles Sgt Garley Sgt Taylor Sgt Simpson Cpl Chamberlain Cpl Matai Cpl Palmer Cpl Phagami Cpl Cargill Cpl Luckin Cpl Purja Pun Cpl Gibbs Cpl Pincott LCpl McCabe LCpl Obeirne LCpl Donoghue LCpl Smith Tpr Batsford Tpr Clement Tpr Lister Tpr McNeice Tpr Kuik Tpr Roelfse Tpr Pipe Tpr Chaplin Tpr Belcher Tpr Goodwin Tpr Ford Tpr Parker Tpr Towers Pte Penhallurick Pte Bashford Cfn Spencer Cfn Windsor

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From Coll Trg Gp FTG HQ LWCTG(G) 7 Armd Bde HQ HQ 5 Div 1 CS BN REME The Armour Centre 3 Med Reg HQ CFC(A) HQ AMD RMAS RMAS The Armour Centre 102 Log Bde ATG(A) ATR B SEME BATUS 16 AA Bde 22 Fd Hosp 39 Engr Regt 27 Regt RLC HQ 1 Mech Bde Dhekelia 36 Engr Regt 32 Engr Regt ATR B AT and Dev Unit North Luffenham SEME APC RAC Trg Regt RAC Trg Regt RAC Trg Regt RAC Trg Regt RAC Trg Regt RAC Trg Regt ARMCEN ARMCEN ARMCEN HCR ARMCEN QRL HCR 17 P&M SPSTS SEME SEME

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Postings Out Maj Smith Maj Thomson Capt Farmer Capt Guyatt Capt M Welborn Lt AJ Champion WO2 McIntyre SSgt Burnett Sgt Hancock Sgt Howard Sgt McGinley Sgt Murrell Sgt Timmis Cpl Blake Cpl Browne Cpl Dimock Cpl Smith Cpl Spencer Cpl Watt LCpl Davidson LCpl Gulliver LCpl Drysdale LCpl Oliver LCpl Wenderott Tpr Reid Pte Davies Pte Sankey

To 3 Mercian HQ 29 EOD Gp HQ 1 UK Armd Div QRH RAF Marham ATR(B) The Armour Centre BFSAI The Armour Centre BATUS SEAE SEME 7 PARA RHA 21 Engr Regt 35 Armd Regt ATR B The Armour Centre The Armour Centre Cat Inf Dhekelia APC (MAT) 16 Sig Regt 3 Regt AAC HQ 1 Mech Bde 4 CS Bn REME Edinburgh 19 Regt RA INF BN LT

Return to Civilian Life Cpl Bloomer Cpl Dickinson Cpl Durrance Cpl Galvin

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Cpl Gardner Cpl Russell LCpl Arnold LCpl Bacon

LCpl Hicken LCpl Richards LCpl Roe Tpr Cafferty

Tpr Crust Tpr Hobbs Tpr Hobson Tpr Perry

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Marriages Capt P Harris Capt EDS Stiles LCpl C Reeve LCpl AJ Winstanley Tpr S Harvey Tpr R Leaper Tpr G Lowe Tpr Marshall Tpr S Massey Tpr D Saunders Tpr Shaw Tpr NT Smith Cfn JR Bushell

29 Oct 11 3 Dec 11 13 Aug 11 20 Dec 11 19 Feb 11 5 Nov 11 12 Nov 11 12 Feb 11 19 Dec 11 1 Oct 11 18 Nov 11 30 Jul 11 1 Nov 11

Zoe Charlotte Kay Elspeth Natasha Jessica Samantha Emily Laura Lucie Janine Nicola Louisa

Births Maj & Mrs Coombes Maj & Mrs Farrer Maj & Mrs Fuller Capt & Mrs Farmer Capt & Mrs Panter SSgt & Mrs Hall SSgt & Mrs Webb Sgt & Mrs Foster Sgt & Mrs Harrison Sgt & Mrs Parker Cpl & Mrs Brookfield Cpl & Mrs Brown Cpl Butler & Jaymee Cpl & Mrs McCabe Cpl & Mrs Ravutia Cpl & Mrs Robinson Cpl & Mrs Thapa LCpl & Mrs Ellerby LCpl & Mrs Moloney LCl & Mrs Smith Tpr & Mrs Cargill Tpr & Mrs Criscuolo Tpr Shaw & Janine

9th-12th Delhi Spearman 2011.indd 127

Poppy Beatrice George Henry Bertram David Douglas Freddy Gareth Jemima Alice Charlotte Jayden Leigh Sienne Rose Charles Freddie Albert Joshua James Evelyn Annie Hope Jamie Johannes Philip Darren John Layla-Leigh Jenson David Theresa Evie Royce Freddie Daniel Olivia Bell Ranielle Evie Mai Kourtney Rose Tyler Jay

22 Feb 11 3 Nov 11 17 Aug 11 4 Apr 11 19 Jul 11 10 Sept 11 24 Jun 11 20 Nov 11 25 Aug 11 21 Sept 11 8 Jun 11 17 Dec 11 15 Jun 11 1 May 11 17 Oct 11 20 Sept 11 27 Oct 11 17 Dec 11 4 Jul 11 18 Jul 11 2 Jul 11 1 Jun 11 18 Sept 11

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9th-12th Delhi Spearman 2011.indd 128

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9th-12th Delhi Spearman 2011_cover.indd 2

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9th-12th Delhi Spearman 2011_cover.indd 1

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9th/12th Royal Lancers  

Delhi Spearman 2011

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