December 2011 - British Army Website

December 2011 - British Army Website

December 2011 THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011 1 2 Here is the Larkhill-based team that brings you The Gunner every month, The RA Journal twice a yea...

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December 2011

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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Here is the Larkhill-based team that brings you The Gunner every month, The RA Journal twice a year and The Blue List annually. The Regimental Secretary Col (Retd) NG Quarrelle oversees all publications Editor Maj (Retd) Mike Shaw can be reached on: (Civ) 01980 84 5652 (mil) 94322 5652 Deputy Editor Miss Kate Knowles can be reached on: (Civ) 01980 84 5241 (Mil) 94322 5241 Blue List Miss Lucy Neate can be reached on: (Civ) 01980 63 4204 (Mil) 94322 2204

OPSEC

ALL articles and photographs relating to continuing operations MUST be cleared through your chain of command, and be signed off by your commanding officer, at a minimum. If you are in any doubt please phone The Gunner: 94322 2204.

Merry Christmas

Gunner Publications HQ DRA, Royal Artillery Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 8QT Fax: 01980 84 5210 Email: [email protected] www.army.mod.uk/artillery Please note: Emails over 5MB will NOT get through to us. Please send photos as original jpegs, NOT in Word documents. Many thanks!

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Cover

Front: 32 Regt RA march through Salisbury prior to a thanksgiving service at the cathedral. Full story on page 16 Photograph by Sgt Adrian Harlen RLC. Back cover: The marching contingent at the RA Ceremony of Remembrance, more pictures on page 18. Photograph by Pat Chapman. redmonkeyphotographic.co.uk The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect official opinion in any way. All articles and photographs published in The Gunner become copyright of Gunner Publications and must not be reproduced without permission from the editor.

From Mike, Kate and Lucy. May we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas.

The Blue List The Blue List will be produced early in 2012. It has been proving more of a challenge recently to keep track of all postings and promotions; so if you have been posted or promoted this year, or if your copy of The Gunner has been going astray, please email, telephone or write to us at: Gunner Publications, HQ DRA, RA Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 8QT. Tel Civ: 01980 63 4204 • Mil: 94322 2204 Fax Civ: 01980 84 5210 • Mil: 94322 5210 Email: [email protected]

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Editorial

December 2011 Registered Charity Number 244656

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Cdt Bdr Keiran Jones, Cdt Georgia McIntyre, Cdt Megan Meacock and JCdt ames Lowery from the Gunner cap-badged Merseyside ACF

(4)

Regimental news

(6)

The Director Royal Artillery

In action

(9) The vital role played by the Gunners during Op Ellamy. (12) 26 Regt RA support the ANA. (14) 137 (Java) Bty, 40 Regt RA get out in Gereshk. (15) The RA Ceremony of Remembrance in Afghanistan. (16) 32 Regt RA are stars in Salisbury. (29) 29 Cdo Regt RA are the pride of Plymouth.

Up Front

(18) The RA Ceremony of Remembrance at Hyde Park. (20) 40 Regt RA say farewell to the guns. (22) The RA’s home church. (22) Firepower receives a distinguished visitor. (23) LBdr Andrew Norman is honoured by the Lord Lieutenant. (23) Postings and promotions. (24) Ubique. (26) Regimental Family round up. (27) Letters. (28) In memoriam.

Sport (30) The RA Orienteering Championships. (30) Gunner, gunning for Olympic gold. (32) Gunner rugby on target. (33) The Army Steeplechase. (33) Sappers outgun the Gunners at golf. (34) The Army and RA Hunter Trials. (35) Gunner tug of war. (36) Gunner polo. (37) Gunner basketball. (40) Notices. (42) Competitions. (43) A Neate ending.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

s we reported in last month’s magazine, the headquarters of the Director Royal Artillery is to merge with the headquarters of the Engineer-in-Chief (Army) to form a new organisation called the Capability Directorate Combat Support, based at Andover and initially under the command of a Sapper brigadier. Contrary to my expectations, the announcement has generated remarkably little comment from our readers. Perhaps the friendly rivalry between the Gunners and the Sappers is just that – friendly – especially where sport in concerned. Talking of sport, for the past 10 years I have been the clerk of the course for the Royal Artillery’s popular racecourse – just one of the many clubs, societies and institutions that helps make our regiment, and its home at Larkhill, so unique. As I rapidly approach retirement, and a new home in North Wales, I’ve been casting around for somebody in the regiment to take over this task, sadly without success. Instead the job has been taken on by Mrs Suzie Vickery, the wife of a locally-based, retired cavalry officer who was once the SO2 Armour in Tactics Branch at the Royal School of Artillery, a post he insisted on calling Cultural Attaché. Now working on behalf of our regiment, but not of it, Suzie will need the help and support of all Gunners, especially those with an interest in equine matters. Continuing the sporting theme, next year the Olympic Summer Games and the succeeding Paralympic Games will be held in London, something I’m sure The Gunner will cover in some detail. To set the ball rolling, in next month’s edition of the magazine we will publish an article about the history of Gunners in the Olympic, concentrating on those who have won medals. Believe it or not, over the years members of the regiment have won three gold, three silver and three bronze medals, the last being the three day eventing gold medal won by Sgt Ben Jones of The King’s Troop RHA at Mexico City in 1968. If you are a Gunner, serving or retired, hoping to take part in either of next year’s games, please get in touch and we will include you in our coverage of the London Olympics. After over 40 years without a medal wouldn’t it be great to see another Gunner on the podium? Returning to my opening remarks, one of the outcomes of the merger of our Directorate with that of the Sappers is the loss of the appointment of Director Royal Artillery, a post that has been in existence since mid-way through the Second World War. As you may have read in October’s Gazette, the current incumbent, Brig Nick Eeles, has been selected to command the Edinburgh-based 2 Div on promotion to major general, an appointment he assumes early in the New Year. With the imminent demise of HQ DRA he is not being replaced and Brig Eeles is therefore the last in a long line of distinguished Gunner officers to fill the appointment of DRA. In recognition of this fact in this month’s edition we take a quick look at the history of the appointment, and some of the senior officers that have filled it. If nothing else the list of past directors, which includes many of our most talented and respected post-war officers, is bound to touch a chord with many of you. If you have a favourite story concerning any of them please let us know. On behalf of Gunners everywhere we extend our warm congratulations to Brig Eeles on his promotion and prestigious new appointment, while at the same time thanking him for all that he has achieved during his time as the professional head of our regiment. His calm leadership at a time of war and turmoil, which has led to much reorganisation and the introduction into service of several major new bits of kit, has been truly impressive. And that’s it for another month. On behalf of Kate, Lucy and everybody working so hard on your behalf here at RHQ RA, may I wish you a very happy Christmas and an equally happy, prosperous and above all safe and healthy 2012.

RACF

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regimental news

The Welfare Secretary of the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund is pleased to receive calls for assistance from the serving and retired regiment at any time. If you need assistance or you know of someone who does, please telephone him on (01980) 63 4309 or (Mil) 94322 2309.

Disbursements

In October the RACF disbursed the sum of £53,683 on 128 individual cases. From all sources the sum of £169,579 was disbursed on those cases, making an average grant of £1,325 for the month.

Gunner Charities

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he Gunner Charities are always very grateful for donations and legacies. It enables vital support and assistance to be given to serving and retired Gunners and their dependants. We are very grateful to the following people who have recently left legacies in their wills to the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund and Royal Artillery Association: RACF Col G Hatch £15,000.00 RACF Mrs E Kersley £ 1,944.65 RACF Mr H V Sawyer £ 50.00 The RA Charitable Fund would also like to thank whole heartedly the kind anonymous donor who gave their winter fuel allowance to the charity to help others. It is much appreciated and valued.

The Joan Wanklyn Memorial Prize

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

From a retired Gunner Mr Nigel Pedge, a Gunner SNCO who served for 24 years and was a tremendous runner in his day, lives with his wife and young son in Lincolnshire. Both he and his wife are disabled and find it difficult getting about. His local council gave assistance with some mobility aids in the house and a car, but they needed an orthopaedic bed to help them sleep more comfortably. They also had problems parking outside their house which had become a real and pressing issue due to their disabilities. The RACF actioned the request immediately. Besides sleeping more peacefully they are able to go to and fro without worrying about parking when they get back. It has made such a big difference to their lives and he wanted to remind serving and retired members of the Royal Regiment that the RACF is always at hand to help and what a great charity it is.

RHQ RA, Artillery House, Artillery Centre, Royal Artillery Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 8QT

he Joan Wanklyn Memorial Prize is a bursary to be presented each year by the Royal Artillery Association in memory of Miss Joan Wanklyn who was, for many years our regimental artist. The bursary comprises a cheque for £500 to be presented at the RA Assembly in May 2012. Applications are open to the sons, daughters and grandchildren of serving or retired members of the regiment, regardless of rank or station, who have reached the tertiary stage of education and are in their first year of a course at a recognised college or university to study art in its broader form. For the May following the award, the successful applicant will be required to produce a piece of work judged by the Grants Committee to be worthy of public display. The work may be a drawing or a painting, or piece of sculpture for which any medium or process may be used including ceramics, synthetics and metals as well as traditional materials. Those eligible are invited to apply in the first instance to the General Secretary of The Royal Artillery Association at the address given below. Initial applications are to be in manuscript and must be received at Artillery House by 27 January 2012. A form of application will then be supplied. The General Secretary, Royal Artillery Association, Artillery House, Royal Artillery Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 8QT.

RA Historical Society Lecture Current and Future Capabilities By Capability Branch, HQDRA 1100 hours, Wednesday, 18 January 2012, Newcome Hall, Larkhill

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he lecture is open to all ranks of the Royal Artillery at no charge. Coffee will be available in the Newcome Hall foyer from 1030 hours. RAHS Members should reserve places at the Lecture and Society lunch with the RAHS Secretary by Wednesday, 4 January, sending names of member and guests, car details and £15 per head lunch cheques payable to the RA Historical Society. Membership of the Society is open to all ranks of the Gunners, serving and retired. Please contact the RAHS Secretary, Lt Col R S Clayton: [email protected]

Service Of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

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he Queen has commanded that a Service of the Order of the British Empire is to be held in St Paul’s Cathedral at 1100 hours on Wednesday, 7 March 2012. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, Grand Master of the Order, will attend this service. Those belonging to the Order and holders of The British Empire Medal who wish to attend should apply for a ticket giving their full name, address, email address, appointment (GBE, KBE, DBE, CBE, OBE, MBE, BEM) and other decorations in BLOCK CAPITALS as soon as possible and not later than Friday, 13 January 2012, to The Registrar, Order of the British Empire, Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, St James’s Palace, London SW1A 1BH or www.obeservice.org.uk. No tickets are available for spouses who are not members or medallists of the Order, or guests, due to the size of the Order and the limited seating capacity in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

regimental news

Regimental events

Calling all Gunners Sandown 2012 Last year’s Royal Artillery Gold Cup race day at Sandown was a huge success and enjoyed by all who attended. The race committee has been working hard on your behalf and has secured a range of special deals for the next Gold Cup day on Friday 17 February 2012. These improved arrangements, which apply for all serving or retired members of the regiment and their families and friends, include • A web page at www.sandown.co.uk/UBIQUE which includes full details of the day including the purchase of reduced price entry tickets • Park View Suite. This is a special entertainment suite in the main hospitality area which has been reserved for the regiment. It provides anyone not going to a regimental marquee with a base for the day in the company of friends to enjoy the racing in comfort • Privileged entry for all • Bar/coffee/tea throughout the day • Uninterrupted view of racing from covered balcony This is your race day so put it in your diary. Come on your own or with family and friends. To make a booking go to the web site above, or call Sandown on 01372 470047 and quote ‘Ubique’

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December 4 14 16

St Barbara’s Day Service, Larkhill RA Museums Ltd, board meeting Woolwich Sovereign’s Parade, RMAS

January 7 14 16 17 18 20 21

Larkhill Racing Club Point to Point, Larkhill Cole’s Cop Day–14 Bty ,16 Regt RA Corunna Day –17 Bty, 26 Regt RA Abu Klea Day – 176 Bty, 39 Regt RA Bhurtpore Day – 57 Bty, 32 Regt RA Subalterns’ Dining in Night, Larkhill RA Hunt Point to Point, Larkhill

February 4 6 17 19 24

Combined Services Point to Point, Larkhill Royal Salute – Anniversary of Accession of HM The Queen, Hyde Park RA Steeplechase Meeting, Sandown Park Martinique Day – 13 Bty ,19 Regt RA Battle Axe day – 74 Bty, 39 Regt RA

March 3 13

An oral history

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irepower, the Regiment’s museum, is seeking Gunners both serving and retired to take part in an oral history project funded by an award of £48,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Firepower in Woolwich wants to hear from any Gunners who would like to be considered to become one of the 50 men and women whose stories will be preserved for posterity. Entitled Fighting Talk, the project will gather and preserve the memories of men and women who have served in the Royal Artillery, as well as their families, from the immediate post-Second World War period to the present day. The museum is especially keen to hear from Gunners who have served in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, The Balkans, Iraq (First Gulf War and more recently) and Afghanistan. The project team are keen to stress that they wish to hear from all ranks who have served or are still serving. Eileen Noon, Chief Operations Officer at the museum says “The Lottery-funded project will ensure that that human stories behind increasingly technologically complex conflicts are recorded and preserved for future historians. The oral histories collected for Fighting Talk will become a valuable historical asset of national significance and the recordings will also be used for education and community outreach activities by the museum. “ The Fighting Talk project is part of Royal Artillery Museum’s commitment to telling the story of Gunners in post-Second World War conflicts. Readers won’t need to be reminded that Gunners have participated in every conflict involving the British Army since the Second World War and these veterans have a unique and numerically significant role in Britain’s history. Since the 1982 Falklands conflict for example, over 50,000 Gunners have served in the Royal Artillery.

For more information on how to become a Fighting Talk participant contact Nigel Clifton on 020 8312 7130 or email [email protected]

Information supplied to The Gunner is subject to change. Please check with the individual organisers concerned that the information is still current, or contact SO2 Pol on 01980 845830

The Mansergh Memorial Award

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he Mansergh Memorial Award is presented annually by the RAA in recognition of an act of outstanding bravery not recognised in any other way. In the absence of such an act, the award may be given for an individual special achievement in the Regiment. The Award, which comprises of an illuminated certificate and an inscribed brass carriage clock, is presented by the Master Gunner at the Royal Artillery Assembly. Further details have been forwarded to the Chain of Command and Commanding Officers.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

FIGHTING TALK

17 23 24 27 31

Meiktila Day –148 Bty, 29 Cdo RA Master Gunner’s Committee 121st Meeting, London St Patrick’s Day – 24 Bty, 14 Regt RA Spring Dinner, Larkhill Hyderabad Day – N Bty, 3 RHA Keren Day – 1 Bty ,14 Regt RA Sanna’s Post Day – Q Bty, 5 Regt RA

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regimental news

The Directo I

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

n the last edition of The Gunner we alerted readers to the fact that next year the Headquarters of the Director Royal Artillery (DRA) is to merge with the Headquarters of Engineer-in-Chief (Army) to form a new organisation called the Capability Directorate Combat Support, under the command of either a Gunner or Sapper brigadier. Upon his departure this month to assume the appointment of GOC 2 Div, Brig Nick Eeles (left) will become the last officer to hold the appointment of DRA, bringing to a close a long lineage of Directors reaching back to 1942. It therefore seems an appropriate moment to look at the post of DRA, its history, purpose and some of the outstanding Gunner officers who have held the post. There were no arms directors in the War Office between the two World Wars, and therefore there was no one senior officer who could be regarded as the professional head and spokesman for the serving regiment. The Director of Artillery in those times was a purely technical staff officer working under the Master of the General Ordnance. He received directions as regards General Staff requirements from the Director of Military Training and was responsible for the technical development of equipment. As a result of this lack of a recognised spokesman in the War Office, reliance was placed on the advice of a number of senior Gunner officers, chief among them being the Commandant of the School of Artillery. There was also an Inspector of Artillery who was responsible for visiting Gunner units worldwide, who reported to the appropriate branches of the War Office after each visit. Another influential member of the regimental hierarchy was a full colonel appointed to the RA Branch of the Adjutant Generals Department, known as AG6, concerned with the career management and postings of all regimental officers. Although there was no Director in the period between the two World Wars it was considered necessary to hold at the War Office special staff to deal with the operations and equipment of the Royal Artillery. There was at the time a branch of the Directorate of Military Operations which was responsible for home defence, including the air defence of Great Britain and the defence of establishments overseas. As the danger of air attacks on the United Kingdom became increasingly apparent in the 1930s, the increasing importance of the Royal Artillery’s role in air defence led to the appointment of several Gunner staff officers to deal with its problems. In April 1937, two years before the start of the Second World War, two Royal Artillery officers were attached to the RAF’s Headquarters Fighter Command for liaison

duties concerning the joint services’ air defence of the country. In October 1938, Lt Gen J Marshall-Cornwall was appointed Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff (Coast Defence and Anti-Aircraft) a clumsy title that changed in 1939 to Director General, Air and Coast Defence, having a staff of 11 Gunner and Sapper officers. It was this specialised organisation that became the Directorate Royal Artillery when the arms directorates were eventually created in 1942.

Key appointment In January 1939 Lt Gen Sir John Eldridge was appointed GSO I (Operations) at the newly formed Anti-Aircraft Command. This was a key appointment for the country which had just woken up to the total inadequacy of its air defences. There was an enormous amount to be done, in close co-operation with Fighter Command, to form and equip a robust air defence organisation that was subsequently fully tested during the Battle of Britain, and later in the Blitz. In 1941 Gen Eldridge became the Director of Anti-Aircraft and Coast Defence at the War Office. Shortly afterwards the Arms Directorates came into being and he became the first DRA. As such he was faced with the challenge of changing the order of battle of the Royal Artillery, which at the time bore little relationship to the needs of the Army. As DRA he immediately instigated a farreaching programme of conversions and retraining of units to meet the requirements of an ever-changing battlefield, and in so doing he ensured that the Royal Regiment remained a major battle-winning element of the war effort. Soon after the end of the war, much discussion took place on the reorganisation of the RA Directorate and the best peacetime location for the regiment’s headquarters. In January 1946, the large RA Directorate needed for wartime purposes was reduced to five branches, under the DRA, known

as RA1 through to RA5, all located in War Office buildings in Whitehall. In July of that year the five branches were reduced to two: coast and anti-aircraft artillery located in Ibex House, and field artillery at Foots Cray. Much argument and debate took place for the next four years over the vexed question of the proper location for the Regimental Headquarters, the two basic options being Larkhill or Woolwich. Although the rebuilding of the School of Artillery, partly completed during the war, had already been approved and was in hand, further new buildings to house the rest of the headquarters at Larkhill could not be afforded. The counter-argument that Woolwich had been the historic home of the regiment since its inception in 1716 was certainly valid, and the fine pre-war buildings of the RA Barracks needed only modernisation to house both 17 Trg Regt RA, then at Oswestry, and the Directorate. The argument was clinched in April 1950 at a special conference, later ratified by the Master Gunner’s Committee, that the Regimental Headquarters should be at Woolwich, and that the RA Mess there continue as the HQ Officers’ Mess of the Royal Artillery. Four years later, in May 1954, the Freedom of the Borough of Woolwich was conferred upon the Royal Regiment of Artillery. In December 1964 the RA Directorate moved to the Old Military Academy. Three years later, and by now known as HQ DRA, the organisation moved across Woolwich Common to join RHQ RA on the Front Parade in conformity with a major rebuild of the RA Barracks. And there it remained there until the move of the regiment to its new home at Larkhill in 2007. Few who witnessed our Captain-General formally opening the new home in July 2008, a visit organised with great style and panache by HQ DRA, would have imagined that only three years later HQ DRA would be reorganising and moving once again.

regimental news

7

or Royal Artillery N

ot unnaturally, the list of 29 distinguished officers who have held the coveted appointment of DRA reads like a Who’s Who of post-war Gunners. All of them have had a marked influence on the Royal Regiment, but only two have gone on to become the Master Gunner St James’s Park. The first to achieve this notable double was the charismatic Harry Tuzo. Born in Bangalore in 1917, the son of an army officer, Harry Crauford Tuzo was commissioned into the RA in July 1939, just prior to the outbreak of World War Two. Sent to France with the BEF, he fought with 21 A-Tk Regt RA before being evacuated through Dunkirk in May 1940. He returned to France as part of the invasion force in June 1944, fighting his way into Germany and being awarded an MC for his actions in Op GOODWOOD. After commanding 3 RHA, in the early 1960s, Tuzo was appointed to command 51 Gurkha Bde in Borneo at the time of confrontation with Indonesia. On promotion to major general he became Chief of Staff Rhine Army in 1967, before becoming the DRA in 1969, holding the appointment until 1971 when he was chosen at short notice to be the GOC and Director of Operations in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. Under his leadership and direction a major operation, Op MOTORMAN, was mounted in which 30,000 troops were sent into Republican no-go areas to re-establish the rule of law. He then became C-in-C BAOR in 1973, and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe in 1975 before retiring in 1979. The Queen appointed him Master Gunner St James’s Park in 1977, a post he held until 1983 when he was replaced by an equally charismatic Gunner officer called Thomas Morony. Gen Sir Harry Tuzo GCB OBE MC died in August 1998.

General Sir Thomas Lovett Morony KCB OBE

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homas Morony, one of only two Gunner officers to hold the appointments of both DRA and Master Gunner St James’s Park, was an officer known, loved and respected throughout the Royal Artillery, the Army and NATO during a career that spanned the Cold War years. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career serving in the Middle and Far East, Africa and Germany, all at regimental duty. He was CO of 22 Regt RA in the early 1970s before going on to command 1 Arty Bde. This wide experience of all parts of the Royal Regiment held him in good stead when he became DRA in 1975, holding the post until 1978. Morony went on to become Vice Chief of the General Staff during the Falklands War, providing that sure and safe advice behind the scenes which turned policy direction into operational plans and orders, thereby helping to achieve a successful outcome to a short, but bloody war with Argentina. Appointed Master Gunner St James’s Park in 1983 he had the honour to receive our Captain-General on three great regimental occasions: the review of the regiment in Dortmund in 1984, the massed bands on Horse Guards Parade in 1986 and Her Majesty’s review of The King’s Troop RHA in 1987. Gen Sir Thomas Lovett Morony KCB OBE died in May 1989 at the early age of 62.

Directors Royal Artillery Maj Gen W J Eldridge CB CBE DSO MC

1942-1944

Maj Gen O M Lund CB DSO

1944-1946

Maj Gen C G G Nicholson CB CBE DSO MC

1946-1948

Maj Gen S B Rawlins CB CBE DSO MC

1948-1950

Maj Gen K F Mack Lewis CB DSO MC

1950-1954

Maj Gen R W Goodbody CB DSO

1954-1957

Maj Gen R G S Hobbs CB DSO OBE

1957-1959

Maj Gen E D Howard-Vyse CB CBE MC

1959-1961

Maj Gen E J H Bates OBE MC

1961-1964

Maj Gen G F de Gex CB OBE

1964-1966

Maj Gen P J Glover CB OBE

1966-1969

Maj Gen H C Tuzo OBE MC

1969-1971

Maj Gen M Janes CB MBE

1971-1973

Maj Gen R Lyon OBE

1973-1975

Maj Gen T L Morony OBE

1975-1978

Maj Gen T S C Streatfeild CB MBE

1978-1981

Maj Gen M J Tomlinson CB OBE

1981-1984

Maj Gen C G Cornock MBE

1984-1986

Maj Gen P R F Bonnet MBE

1986-1989

Maj Gen B T Pennicott

1989-1991

Maj Gen M T Tennant

1991-1994

Maj Gen I G C Durie CBE

1994-1996

Brig M G Douglas-Withers CBE

1996-2000

Maj Gen J B A Bailey CB MBE

2000-2002

Brig C C Brown CBE

2002-2003

Brig C C Wilson CBE

2004-2005

Brig R M McQ Sykes CVO

2005-2007

Brig C W Tadier CBE

2007-2010

Brig N H Eeles ADC

2010-2011

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

General Sir Harry Tuzo GCB OBE MC

8

regimental news

The Director Royal Artillery’s Christmas message

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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have once again been enormously impressed with the outstanding performance which the Royal Regiment has produced on operations during another demanding year. While the main effort has remained in Afghanistan, we have also provided a small but potent contribution to the campaign in Libya and maintained a ground based air defence capability alert and ready for action in the South Atlantic. Wherever I have visited our units, I have been delighted to witness the spirit and determination which our junior officers and soldiers display as they deliver a bewildering range of capabilities. Morale in our front line units rotating through Afghanistan remains remarkably high given the flood of bad news elsewhere, and I am especially pleased to be able to report that we have suffered no fatalities on operations during the past 16 months. Back behind the front line I assess that morale is fragile. This is hardly surprising as it is our higher headquarters which are bearing the brunt of the cuts at the same time as managing the workload caused by a staggering array of change programmes and, of course, the significant redundancy programme. In the first tranche of redundancy we saw a small number of non-applicant Gunner majors being selected to leave the Army next year – we are doing everything we can to support them as they prepare for their second careers. In Larkhill preparations are well advanced for the disbandment of Headquarters Director Royal Artillery and the loss of a senior Gunner appointment, the lineage of which can be traced back to 1870. A new capability directorate will be created in its place which will be based in the Army Headquarters in Andover and which will be responsible for capability development for both the Gunners and the Sappers. The Regimental Colonel (an up-gunned appointment) will continue to act as the Royal Regiment’s focal point for regimental affairs and many personnel issues. His headquarters, RHQ RA, will remain in Larkhill but will be re-brigaded under Director General Personnel. While there is much to be despondent about as the Government attempts to bring the country’s debt under control, I would like to highlight one outstanding example of fortitude in adversity. 40

Regt RA, The Lowland Gunners, was informed in July that it is to be disbanded. The regiment has responded magnificently to this bad news, working exceptionally hard to ensure that it can meet its remaining operational commitments at the same time as delivering the best possible career and posting outcomes for its soldiers as they are progressively released from Home Lines in Northern Ireland. We could not have a better example to follow as we navigate the choppy waters ahead. I wish all Gunners, serving and retired, a very Happy Christmas. I know that you will keep in mind those in the serving regiment who will be deployed on operations through the festive season and, most importantly, the loved ones of those who have been killed on active service in recent years and whose absence will be keenly felt during the Christmas celebrations.

Brig NH Eeles ADC

in action

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Gunners over Libya y the law of military planning, it is always wise to plan last minute deployments to far off countries just before a bank holiday and a royal wedding. The decision in late April by PJHQ to support requests from NATO for naval gunfire support on Op UNIFIED PROTECTOR was a typically fast ball. The RANGSO and Chief Hoyland, along with Maj Paul Vallack, the readiest available NGLO (naval gunfire support officer) from CVHQ RA, grabbed bags, tickets and with little more than a name for a pick-up, caught the next flight from Gatwick to Sicily. Met at the airport by someone who had clearly read far too many Andy McNab books, the team was quickly taken through death-defying Sicilian traffic to Sigonella Naval Air Station, a hitherto sleepy maritime air station transformed into a bustling NATO forward air base with aircraft from eight different countries. Thrust into our hands was a NATO fragmentation order for a sustained naval gunfire bombardment, a ‘show of force’ using NATO warships. As the NGLO quickly hopped onto a Turkish ship for transit south to HMS Liverpool, the two-man team revised drills and acquainted themselves with the aircraft and the NATO crews. On 3 May, the team conducted the first NGS mission from an airborne platform – 50 rounds of 100mm French NGS into the

desert. Narrowly beating the NGLO to the title of ‘Closest Gunner to Libya’ closing the coast in Liverpool, the team prepared the second mission – UK NGS onto beach areas. But disappointingly, clearance was not given to engage.

Mission after mission Over the next few weeks, the team flew mission after mission, racking up impressive flying hours, and having a chance to observe the conflict in Libya at close hand. But a quickly shifting battlefield and challenging engagement rules made it very difficult – the reality of an air dominated precision campaign. A quick visit to CJTF Naples revealed a need for NGS expertise and the services of additional ex-148 Bty NGS experts were quickly secured to provide suitable subject matter experience. That and some concerted lobbying in the UK, opened the door. In June, after a quick regroup in UK, and as the battle raged around Misrata, UK NGS finally went into action, with a Starshell fireplan. NGS was now in the game with a fanfare opening. Over the next few weeks the tempo of NGS accelerated, with the deployment of an additional team of NGS spotters to Sigonella to enable 24-hour coverage, additional NGLOs to the French ships, and the

by Maj Jonny Gray Above: British NGLOs from 148 (Meiktila) FO Cdo Bty RA pose with officers of the French Navy on board the frigate La Vallee. Top: An NGLO winching down onto the deck of the La Vallee off the coast of Libya

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

B

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in action

The French frigat, La Vallee and her officers and NGLO

Top: HMS Liverpool’s operations room during live firing on OP ELLAMY Above: NATO maritime patrol aircraft during NGS ops

establishment of an NGS staff officer at CJTF Naples. In quick succession, HMS Liverpool, Iron Duke and Sutherland were brought in and conducted NGS closely coordinated with French ‘Frigats’ with their 50-rounds-aminute 100mm guns. In addition, FAC-trained members of the teams were able to direct air and AH onto suitable targets. The tempo rose considerably throughout August with almost non-stop NGS missions, but as the kinetic battle calmed down, the teams continued to provide invaluable intelligence information to CJTF from their

The experience of a naval gunfire liaison officer

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

ome six NGLOs (all TA Gunners in CVHQ RA), deployed on Op ELLAMY and we supported all the NGS firings that took place by both Royal Navy and French warships between April and October 2011. Majs Paul Vallack, Chris LincolnJones and Peter Boyce put in much valuable work in the early and often frustrating planning phases alongside our boss Lt Col Tim Wood which enabled the effective use of NGS later in

OP ELLAMY, Liverpool

4.5-inch shell cases on HMS

the campaign. I deployed to theatre in July sharing a busy flight to Sicily with families off on their summer holidays. I had a brief stopover at the US Naval Air Station which was bursting with Libya-related activity from around a dozen nations as well as being the home of our two FSTs flying with NATO maritime patrol aircraft. NGS was in full swing with regular missions being fired. I took over from my colleague, Maj Mick O’Connor and by that evening was aboard HMS Sutherland patrolling well inside Libyan territorial waters. At this stage of the campaign, NGS was making an important (but little reported) contribution alongside the air campaign. For my first four weeks, I moved between HMS Sutherland, HMS Liverpool and the French warship La Vallee as each ship took turns on station for NGS off the coastal town of Zlitan which had become the front line in a stalemate between the rebel forces based in Misrata and the pro-Gaddafi forces pushing down from Tripoli. Clearly we were ever mindful of the UN mandate to protect civilians and avoiding any damage to civilian infrastructure. At the same time, the heat during the day and Ramadan invariably meant that there were long periods of inactivity. However there were still plenty of opportunities for us to fire and we successfully broke up a number of proGaddafi attacks at critical periods and sometimes under return fire from the shore. Given the

restrictions, we fired almost as much starshell as HE and often achieved positive effects using it without any significant risk of collateral damage. It certainly proved its utility in this campaign.

No lack of élan Highlights included catching a large proGaddafi convoy attacking on the beach off Zlitan and destroying them with a very successful 55 rounds HE from HMS Liverpool. On La Vallee, they frequently closed to within three miles of the coast; no lack of élan from our French allies! The second part of my time was spent on both ships as they patrolled off Tripoli as the war moved on. Sadly the built-up nature of the coastline precluded any NGS although there was plenty of other activity to keep us occupied including air assets being called in by our FSTs and watching the occasional spectacular B2 strike. I handed over to Maj Chris Taxis in early September and flew back to the UK on a busy flight with families this time returning from their summer holidays. I had thought our contribution might be over by this stage but that wasn’t the case. There were further NGS missions fired around Sirte (return fire including an incoming round ricocheting over the bow!) as the final Gaddafi loyalists were finished off.

by Maj Jonny Gray

in action

148 Bty spotters and NGLOs pose in front of a Canadian CP140 maritime patrol aircraft in Sicily

over 95 per cent of the NGS missions conducted in theatre were by professional RA Gunners from 148 Cdo FO Bty RA, and their overall contribution to the campaign was a significant one. More importantly, NGS demonstrated yet again its versatility in the littoral. Finally, as HMS Liverpool steamed into Portsmouth with flags flying , the people that made NGS work on Op ELLAMY, can quietly reflect at their ‘normal’ jobs, with the quiet satisfaction of a job very well done and some great dits. The cast was: Spotters/Controllers: Chief

(ex-Sgt) PO Hoyland, Lt (RN) Nick Harper, LS (ex-Bdr) Corson, WO2 (SMIG) Heath, Capt Paul Leister, Capt C O’Shea, Sgt Scaramuza, Sgt Clarke, Sgt Dudley, Capt Slaughter, Sgt Bennett NGLOs: Majs Paul Vallack, Johny Gray, Mick O’Connor, Chris Taxis, Peter Boyce and Chris Lincoln-Jones NGS LNOs in Sigonella and Naples: Lt Cols Tim Wood, Phil Shepheard-Walwyn, Adrian Rafferty and Maj Nick Sergeant .

by Lt Col Tim Wood

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

unrivalled view of the evolving battle. Over 500 salvos of UK and French NGS were expended on over 50 missions – some 1000 hours of flying time. The teams was drawn from almost certainly the most experienced NGS operators in the UK – including two exBCs of 148 Bty, ex-148 Bty SMIGs and IGs, and six of the 12 TA NGLOs. It was a very creditable performance, in which individuals took time out from their real jobs to deploy on Op ELLAMY. With the withdrawal of the last NGS team on 31 October, the campaign came to an end. So, while the RN and the RAF may lay claim to the lion’s share of the campaign spoils, it might be worth pointing out that

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Teaching gunnery

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taring out of the classroom window as a young teenager, slightly tired and bored of proving, yet again, that Pythagoras was indeed correct in his findings, I used to watch giant grey hippos fly through the sky in formation. Little did I know that after a ropey pass in GCSE maths I would, almost 15 years later, be boarding a giant grey hippo on the flight line of Camp Bastion. It’s always been on my list of things to do since joining the Army; first – fly in a C130 Hercules and second – fly in a Chinook (the joys of my school being on the RAF Lyneham flight path). Number two was achieved on my YOs’ Course but number one had remained a dream. So, imagine the smile on my face as I stood in the sweltering warmth of an Afghan evening waiting to board the beast as we prepared to fly to Kabul. As I looked around I appeared to be the only one smiling; no one seemed to share in my excitement! Everyone else was trudging towards the tailgate, miserable in the knowledge that they were going to be hideously uncomfortable for the next 90 minutes – no one passed this knowledge on. An hour-and-a-half later and I was convinced that roller-coasters are designed by the RAF.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Ammunition preparation

So, it came to pass that the 26 Regt RA Artillery Tolay Advisory Team (ATAT) that deployed on Op Herrick Op 15 to support 4/3/215 ANA Corps, arrived in Kabul airport shaken, stirred and feeling slightly sick. The men and women of 16 Bty (Sandham’s Company) RA looked out into the darkness and began the next journey into the unknown. The darkness of our arrival meant that the beauty of the landscape around Kabul did not uncover itself until the following morning where, in awe, we were greeted with snowcapped mountains and a fresh morning breeze. The 10C drop in temperature was a surprise as we mounted the Vixen armoured mini-bus to take us to Camp Alamo to start our training with the Artillery Training Team – Kabul (ATT-K). On arrival we were met by men clad in a bizarre form of camouflage; a cascade of yellows, chocolate browns and pinks. They kept their sunglasses on inside buildings and called out the world-recognised Australian morning salutation ‘G’day’. But amongst them, hidden behind the candyfloss camouflage, a broad shouldered man in MTP came into view declaring: “Storton! Had I known you were coming I wouldn’t have allowed the visit!” Maj Dickie Downes (The Duke of Kabul), the ex-IG of the YOs’ Branch had just officially introduced himself to the group. The purpose of the visit to Kabul was to conduct some D30 familiarisation training. Maj Dave Masters, myself, Lt Harriet Chapman and Sgt ‘Fluff’ Sanders were taken under the wing of WO2 Grieshaber who reintroduced us to

the Afghan approach to data computation. Concurrently, SSgt Boddy and Bdr ‘Bolo’ Thompson were drawn elsewhere to observe the instruction of the Polish Army to do the advisory job elsewhere in Afghanistan. For some it served as revision of the course that was run in Finland during a bitterly cold January, while for others this was their first introduction to the equipment that we would all come to love for the next six months.

Different nationalities Camp Alamo sits within the Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC), surrounded on all sides by an impressive mountain range. Inside, there is a multitude of different nationalities, deep-fried and ice cream-laden American dining facilities and posh (well, relatively posh) coffee shops, where pancakes and corn dogs are available 24 hours a day. So popular are these facilities that the queue stretched beyond the curvature of the earth. The trip was not all caffeine, sugar and four dollar lattes. While the gun group revised themselves on gunnery, the command post was introduced to the Afghan Basic Officer Training Course and the Captains’ Career Course. Both of these courses are delivered by coalition staff. The attendance is currently limited to the new Afghan artillery units, with the aim being to widen the scope once the initial batch has completed basic training. Although British soldiers often gripe at another week of rain-drenched training on Salisbury Plain, we were shocked to hear that only a very small percentage of Afghan warriors within our artillery tolay (regiment) have ever completed any form of formal training; I think this makes us lucky! Having been shown around the facilities we started our lessons on the director, or aiming circle as it is also known here. For those of us from the ‘new’ school of gunnery this ancient art of passing line to the guns was

in action

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y in Kabul

Much head scratching The guns had their own complications. It was like un-learning all the lessons that I never understood in the first place; psychologically a difficult place to be – again much head scratching, caffeine, lie-downs and cigarette breaks were needed. The week culminated in a live firing package, which attracted many visitors. It was completely manned by students from the ANA Basic Officer Training Course with the Artillery Training Team – Kabul on the position to teach and provide safety.

D30 firing

While it took them a while to get through their ‘permission to fire’ procedures and to compute the data, they actually surprised us all with extremely accurate fire, delivered calmly and very professionally; great job. As we head back to Patrol Base Jahan Zeb we are all filled with enthusiasm. This is not only with the prospect of working on the D30s, but also to the thoughts of working with the well-motivated ANA tolay and to support and mentor them to a high level of competence. The Afghan Army approach is one that we have taken time to understand but, as we have learned during our week in Kabul, the key to success is to observe and understand their will, their determination to better themselves and absolute professionalism, and drive them forward. We have learned new training techniques and are looking forward to the challenge

Director drills

ahead of us. The coming months will test our patience and force us to hone our instructional skills, there will be frustrating times and R and R will be a welcome break. However, the outcome will be rewarding and we will leave firm in the knowledge that we will have added some value to the campaign and the development of the Afghan National Artillery and its ability to help in the quest to deliver security to the people of Afghanistan.

by Capt Nick Storton

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

alien and led to occasional head scratching. At the same time those with experience (Sgt Fluff Sanders) of ‘survey teams’ flew around the equipment with the greatest of ease and some degree of nostalgia for by-gone days; yes, some of the team really are that old… Data computation followed. The Afghan methods only take into account two nonstandards: charge temperature and drift, preferring to just ‘shoot out’ the error. The three years of endless firing Sgt Sanders had completed while at Larkhill led to him bombarding the Afghan WO2 with questions such as what about met and what about muzzle velocity? To which the answer was always no. Eventually he had to go outside for a cigarette and a lie down.

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in action

Gnr Munro playing the bagpipes

The Lowland Gunners deploy

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

n December last year, 26 Regt RA were formally warned off as the Joint Fires and Targeting Group for Op HERRICK 15. Included in the orbat were 40 Regt RA’s very own 137 (Java) Bty. Following a relentless and comprehensive MST and an outstanding RSOI (Reception Staging and Onward Integration) package we were force prepared and ready to take over the mantle from 8 (Alma) Cdo Bty RA in FOB OUELLETTE in the Upper Gereshk Valley. Our journey to Helmand commenced on a typically wet and windy night in Northern Ireland, with farewell speeches, a port toast and the bagpipes. We boarded the night ferry from Belfast to Liverpool – the first leg of our journey and a reasonably comfortable one, less for SSgt McEvoy (JFIC WO) and Sgt Porter (BC’s Ack) who somehow managed to ‘forget’ to get a cabin once they boarded. Fortunately, their charm and charisma (not their rank) paid off as they convinced some of the junior ranks to share their cabins! As soon

as we docked in Liverpool, we proceeded to South Cerney, only stopping long enough for Sgt McHarg to fuel up on the obligatory six cans of ‘Relentless’ (a drink similar to Redbull but much more potent). A brief stop at South Cerney led to the first 137 Bty Playstation FIFA competition, with the GPO, Lt Garmory, barely salvaging the dignity of the Officer Corps after I was beaten 8-1 by Bdr Kilcourse – clearly the syllabus at RMAS requires updating! After a brief coach ride to RAF Brize Norton followed by an 11-hour flight we had arrived in Camp Bastion. The next hurdle was RSOI. RSOI is an excellent package, ensuring that the latest TTPs are reinforced and practiced prior to deploying on the ground. For all of us who like a late rise, you will be disappointed with RSOI. Day one consisted of the mandatory OPTAG and theatre lectures, within an air conditioned hangar, giving us little idea of what was in store for the rest of the week – Afghanistan is still hot in September!

LBdr Penington on sangar duty in FOB OUELLETTE

Day two started with an acclimatisation walk in fighting order to the ranges followed by a rotation of small arms ranges, medical stands and other lessons. In addition to the valuable training we were taught a key lesson; vast quantities of sweat and dust are not a winning combination! Thankfully there was plenty of bottled water to keep us hydrated, with newly promoted LBdr Pennington distinguishing himself as ‘waterboy’ of choice. Day three was widely agreed as the best day, focusing on counter IED training. Not only did this give a massive confidence boost in the kit and TTPs, it provided the opportunity for everybody to sharpen up their drills and skills. Day four was a diverse day and included detainee handling and the Roll Over Dismounted Egress Trainer (RODET). Day five is a confirmatory exercise which combines all of the skills and TTPs taught throughout the week, tailored to the various arms and services. TES vests added science continued on opposite page…

Night firing mission in support of LBdr Chesney

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A Gunner Act of Remembrance

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t 1045hrs on Sunday, 13 November members of 5 Regt RA, 26 Regt RA, 39 Regt RA, 40 Regt RA and 47 Regt RA, along with their attached arms based in Camp Bastion, paraded near the Royal Artillery memorial site to pay their respects to members of the Armed Forces that have fallen in battle. Special thoughts were with the members of the Royal Artillery who have given their lives during Op HERRICK. We will remember them. The service was a short act of remembrance in which the Padre, Capt Humphries, opened with an introduction of thanksgiving and sorrow for all our fallen comrades. The act of commitment was read out by WO1 (RSM) Robert Moodie, followed by the 105 Light Gun firing to signify beginning of the two minute silence; everyone reflected on the courage, loyalty and selfless commitment shown by those who had laid down their lives. The 105 Light Gun closed the silence. As the RSM read out the names of Gunners killed in action in Afghanistan, wreaths were laid by Capt Peter Gentles (55 (HQ) Bty, 26 Regt RA) and the BC 10 (Assaye) Bty, 47 Regt RA, Maj Martin. Gnr Hughes and Gnr Tong, both from 137 (Java) Bty, 40 Regt RA, laid crosses on the monument in memory of Bdr Hopson and LBdr Hatton, both from 40 Regt RA and who lost their lives on Op HERRICK 10. The Royal Artillery Collect was read out by Gnr Hudson from 132 Bty (The Bengal Rocket Troop), 39 Regt RA, with the Padre closing the ceremony with a final blessing. It was a moving event, with representation from across the Gunners.

When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow we gave our today

…continued from previous page to our drills and provided useful insight into patrol spacing and pattern setting. On completion, we were confident and competent in our drills and eager to leave the sprawling metropolis which is Camp Bastion. On completion of RSOI, the gun group and FSTs split to the four winds, with the Jumbo’s gun troop and JFIC moving to FOB OUELLETTE, taken over from 3/7 USMC in the Upper Gereshk Valley. Initially austere, the Royal Engineers have been working day and night and they have transformed the FOB with improved defences, better accommodation and a purpose built ANA and ANP compound. The handover from 8 (Alma) Cdo Bty RA was seamless and despite only having been in location for a few weeks, they had grafted to ensure that the gun position was in good order and as comfortable as possible – thank you very much! There was still plenty to busy ourselves

with on the gun position and the ‘gun bunnies’ set to the improvements immediately. At the time of writing the gun area boasts a gym (not exactly Oz Aerobics), a troop shelter (handmade) and a well-appointed welfare tent, featuring satellite phones, internet access and even a Sony PS3 complete with FIFA 10! Once this arrived it was, inevitably, minutes few until the formation of the ‘FOB OUELLETTE Premier League’ and equally inevitably the arrival of BSM Fraser’s ‘competitive dad’ persona. It is fair to say that no one in the gun group embodies the ‘will to win’ quite as much as he. All these niceties however, are secondary to the reason why we are here – to provide fire support to our supported arms and the majority of our first few days were spent maintaining the guns, training the detachments and CPXing with the JFIC. This preparation was not in vain, as we were barely a week in location before the words

“Fire Mission Battery!” came bursting from the loudspeaker. This was the culmination to our training over the previous 12 months and for some of us, our entire careers to date. And so it was, at 2240 hours on 9 October, the first rounds of Op HERRICK 15 were fired from FOB OUELLETTE. Further fire missions continued in the following weeks, with complete professionalism being shown – everyone on the guns and in the CP knows that the effect we have on the ground has the potential to be a life saver for friendly forces. A long road remains ahead of us during the remainder of the tour and, given the focus on transition and stability in Afghanistan; it would be preferable if we were not required to fire another round. ISAF forces in Helmand can rest assured that if they need us, 137 (Java) Bty and the remainder of 26 Regt Joint Fires Group will be ready and waiting.

by Lt Chris Preston

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

by LBdr Macdonald

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in action

32 Regt RA homecoming O

n Thursday, 10 November 32 Regt RA marched through Salisbury city centre. The parade was a homecoming for the regiment as it has had batteries deployed on operations overseas throughout the last nine years. It also celebrated the return of 57 (Bhurtpore) Bty from Afghanistan having completed Op HERRICK 14 with 3 Cdo Bde. The culmination of the parade was a thanksgiving service in Salisbury Cathedral.

Historic The parade commenced at 1000 hours with the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Craig Palmer, leading from the front. The procession was welcomed by hundreds of members of the public who came to show their support. The streets were packed with shoppers, families and schoolchildren, as well as dignitaries from the city council keen to show their respect. The mile-long route led directly past the Market Square, where the Honorary Colonel, Maj Gen Gerald Berragan, returned the salute of the passing troops. Sir Geoff Hurst, friend and supporter of the regiment, also came to acknowledge the historic occasion. The parade finished at Salisbury Cathedral, where officers and soldiers, as well as their families and guests, participated in the thanksgiving service led by Rev Simon Bloxam-Rose, the regimental padre. With 1,300 in attendance, the service proved a remarkable event in the regiment’s history. Following the service, a regimental photograph was taken with Salisbury Cathedral in the background, in order to commemorate the day. 32 Regt RA has long been separated through tours in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as exercises in Canada and Kenya. To have the whole regiment together was certainly worth celebrating and not something that will quickly be forgotten. However, this reunion will be brief, as 22 (Gibraltar 1779-83) Bty will be deploying on Op HERRICK 16 next April.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

by 2Lt Tim Prichard

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29 Cdo Regt RA homecoming

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n a crisp and chilly Devonshire morning at 0600 hours on 8 November, 29 Cdo Regt RA was on the regimental square ready for a long day of activities; it’s been a while since the regiment was all together in Plymouth so the commanding officer had plans. on Op HERRICK it was the front rank only, who were to be medal recipients. Stood to attention on the chilly morning the regiment was formed up ready for the VIPs to arrive: Brig Ed Davis, Commander of 3 Cdo Bde followed closely by the Lord Above: The Lord Mayor of Plymouth. Below: Brig Ed Davis Mayor of Plymouth, and finally the honorary colonel. The CO escorted the VIPs who in turn all inspected the troops with the brigade commander presenting the Operational Service Medal to the front rank. Once the presentations were complete Brig Davis delivered a few words of appreciation to the parade; it was then time to march off. Once off the square and a quick speech and warning from the RSM it was time to go and meet up with loved ones and start the families’ day, including activities for the young ones such as face painting, a climbing wall, and bouncy castles topped off with a curry lunch. It was time to relax and enjoy the day. With a short recess early evening in order to get the children home to babysitters it was time for the evening event, which included an ex members band and a comedian. The evening concluded with a final set from the band and the soldiers and families disappeared after a long but enjoyable day!

By WO2 (BSM) Krakow

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

First port of call was CO’s PT which involved a quick sharp session on Plymouth Hoe, ensuring that all ranks were fresh and ready for the remainder of the day, this included several circuits and hill reps around what the lads call the wedding cake (lots of steps in the shape of a wedding cake!). Once PT was complete it was a quick shower and then into the regimental restaurant for a good hearty breakfast ready for the next evolution. Next was another rehearsal with 7 Bty after their long journey down from Arbroath before families began to arrive. In true commando style the drill was to a high standard with not one soldier being out of step or tick tocking (well, maybe the odd one or three). Rehearsal complete, it was time to size off for the regimental photograph which the regiment rarely has the opportunity to do due to its dispersed nature. A short hour later the photo was complete and the regiment and their families walked to St Andrews church in Plymouth city centre for a homecoming service. With the church packed to the rafters the padre held a great service with a fantastic slide show of some of the regiment’s roles while deployed on Op HERRICK 14. It was then a hasty speed march back up to The Royal Citadel ready for the medals parade. “29 Cdo Regt RA – regiment shun” was the cry from the CO, with the band of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers leading the way, followed closely by the CO, adjutant and RSM, who with great pride led all five batteries onto the regimental square. While the majority of the regiment has already been

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up front

The regiment remembers

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Two pages of pictures recording this year’s remembrance celebrations

Top: A group picture of all the officers and soldiers that took part in this year’s RA Ceremony of Remembrance at Hyde Park Corner. Centre, left to right: The scene at Westminster Abbey for the annual Field of Remembrance Ceremony. The RA plot at Westminster Abbey, with memorial crosses and poppies in memory of Gnr Zac Cusack, killed in Afghamistan in May 2010, prominent in the foreground. Right: The parents of Capt Alex Eida, killed in Afghanistan in August 2006, chat with the RASM, WO1 (RASM) Daz Hall. Bottom, left, the DRA, Brig Nick Eeles and the Master Gunner, Gen Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, pay their respects to the Fallen at Hyde Park Corner. Right, the newly refurbished RA Memorial. Photographs by Pat Chapman. www.redmonkeyphotographic.co.uk

Colourful scenes at Hyde Park Corner. All left to right. Top row:Gunners from other Commonwealth countries joined in the regiment’s Ceremony of Remembrance. A bombardier stands proudly to attention on one corner of the RA Memorial. In-pensioner Dorothy Hughes, who served as a Gunner during the Blitz, chats to a King’s Troop soldier. Second row: Trumpeters of The King’s Troop RHA sounded Last Post and Reveille. RA Standards were on parade. Young officers lay wreaths in memory of the Fallen. Third row: Lady Granville-Chapman is escorted to her seat by Maj Gen Andrew Gregory. A proud veteran take part in the proceedings. 2Lt Jagjit Marwaha marches away having laid his wreath. Bottom row: Lt Col Nigel Cook, the RA Welfare Secretary, marching past the saluting dais. The overall scene in brilliant November sunshine. All picture on this page courtesy of Pat Chapman, [email protected]

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

up front

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Tiger’s strike D

uring a stormy September, 38 (Seringapatam) Bty RA conducted a two-week pre-mission specific training package called Ex TIGER’S STRIKE at Magilligan Training Centre, Northern Ireland. After a particularly busy period the opportunity was taken to undertake an intense period of bespoke cascade training, the aims being to train battery personnel on the SA80 as well as other weapon systems such as the general purpose, heavy and general machine guns. The chance was also taken to complete mandatory annual training tests for those who needed it and to conduct a combat fitness test.

Pressure on After much anticipation over the state of the weather in Magilligan we were met by… rain. And a lot of it. However, this did not deter us from our task and the battery was soon on the range ready to fire. First through the test were the range safety staff consisting primarily of the officers, who after much banter from the JNCOs passed with flying colours. The pressure was now firmly on the JNCOs to follow suit with the Gunners now looking on with interest. The standard of shooting was good and the opportunity was also taken to conduct some coaching with those of less experience. The highlight of the exercise for many of the soldiers was the training on the general and heavy machine guns. Many of the newer soldiers had not used these before and the JNCOs delivered some excellent instruction and coached within their fire support teams throughout. This leadership was then tested towards the end of the exercise when the fire support team acks were given teams and competed against each over in a series of tasks. This included conducting a fire mission, an observation stand, navigational skills and a falling plate shooting competition. This was a great success with Bdr Biggins and his team coming out triumphant and it was an excellent opportunity to encourage and develop junior leadership. It proved invaluable in teaching and maintaining skills that will be essential in the coming months.

Intense

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Throughout the exercise the battery spent much time preparing physically with long runs over the hills of Magilligan and intense circuit training sessions. In the evenings detailed discussions were held over the laws of armed conflict, values and standards in the Army and how this would affect us in our future deployment to Afghanistan. Soldiers were encouraged to discuss their ideas, past experience and concerns. This not only gave everyone a much clearer idea of what was expected of them in an operational environment but why it was critical that we understood the reasons for our actions. It also emphasised the great responsibility of each individual, from the most senior officer to the lowest gunner, to make the right decisions. This was a productive and valuable exercise that delivered varied training and challenged our soldiers physically and mentally. Most importantly it encouraged and developed the JNCO skills within the battery and provided the younger soldiers with valuable experience, all of which will be essential in future training exercises and subsequent deployment in an everhanging operational environment.

Farew the gu O

n a crisp November morning at Thiepval Barracks, Northern Ireland, 40 Regt RA (The Lowland Gunners) bid farewell to its final three guns in a dignified yet subdued parade. To the relief of all, the Northern Irish climate was generous enough to gift the regiment a rare morning of sunshine and clear blue sky to serve as a fitting backdrop. As the regiment moves towards suspended animation next autumn, it will be without the Colours for the first time since its inception in 1947. Back then 40 Regt RA was equipped with the 25-pdr field gun, the equivalent of the contemporary L118 Light Gun featured at this farewell parade. At just before 0830 hours on Thursday, 17 November, all regimental personnel paraded to await the arrival of the commanding officer, Lt Col Barry Bennett. In line with previous ‘direction’ from the RSM, it was clear to see that all ranks had conformed to

up front

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well to uns of 40 Regt RA

thoroughfare through which the three guns moved in procession. As the Colours passedby, each member in turn paid their final salute.

Pride Even as a junior officer, who has not been at 40 Regt RA for long, one felt a palpable sense of sadness that over 60 years of tradition was coming to an end. This sadness was, however,

teamed with an overwhelming sense of pride that I had been given the honour of leading the guns on their final journey as a part of 40 Regt RA. As they move to their new home they will become a part of a new period of history. While regiments, sadly, come and go the Colours never die.

2Lt Ed Denton

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

a high standard of turn-out, with uniforms freshly pressed and the parade resplendent. A salvo from the piper signalled the arrival of the commanding officer. Following a short address on the history of the Colours, the commanding officer shared a toast with the pipe major and the three detachment commanders, before the RSM called the regiment to ‘take post’. The parade quickly became a sea of activity as personnel raced to line the route for the drive past. Concurrently, detachment commanders and their drivers clambered into their vehicles in preparation for what would be the Colours’ final action. While on this occasion the guns were playing a part in tradition and ceremony, many on parade would have been able to provide first-hand accounts of bringing this very same equipment into action in less peaceful circumstances. Members of the regiment formed a

22

up front

The RA’s home churc T

he Garrison Church of St Alban the Martyr was dedicated on 21 May 1938 and is now the ‘home’ church of the Royal Artillery. Built of half a million red bricks and with oak pews that can seat 500 people, it is very much a modern church and quite unfairly was once described as being ‘of no architectural merit’. It does, however, have a charm all of its own, and with the addition in 2008 of the beautiful stained glass windows from the RMA Chapel at Woolwich at the western end of the knave, the interior has been much improved. There has also been a great deal of maintenance work carried out over the past year which has included replacement of the upper windows on both sides of the knave as well as the re-positioning of one or two other memorials and plaques at the main entrance and on the south side of the knave.

Memorials In the chancel there are the three memorials dedicated to those who have died on active service since 1945, and a small memorial to those members of the regiment who lost their lives in the Suez Canal Zone 1948-54. The latter memorial is believed to be the only one for this campaign in the United Kingdom. There are regular services at the church at 1000 hours each Sunday and of course the annual Remembrance Day service in November. One of the largest regimental gatherings at the church is the annual St Barbara’s Day service at which the RAA Standards are paraded. This year the service will take place on Sunday 4 December. All members of the regiment, both serving and retired, are strongly encouraged to visit the church at any time but especially on regimental occasions when they will receive a very warm welcome.

Australian VC visits Firepower

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

C

pl Ben Roberts-Smith of the Australian SAS, who won a Victoria Cross in Afghanistan in 2010, visited the Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich during remembrance weekend to view the two guns that have provided the metal for the manufacture of the Victoria Cross since at least 1914. On being shown the guns by museum Curator Mark Smith (pictured) he said it was amazing to be actually standing before such famous guns and to feel that he was now a part of their story. Ben was awarded his VC for an action fought by the Special Operations Task Group on 11 June last year. In an assault into the village of Tizak, Kandahar Province, designed to kill or capture a senior Taliban commander, Ben’s patrol came under heavy, sustained and accurate machine gun fire from three machine guns in elevetaed positions, pinning them down. Roberts-Smith and his patrol members fought towards the enemy position until, at a range of 40 metres, the weight of fire prevented further movement forward. At this point, he identified the opportunity to exploit some cover provided by a small structure.

With the members of his patrol still pinned down by the machine gun positions, he exposed his own position in order to draw fire away from his patrol, which enabled them to bring fire to bear against the enemy. His actions enabled his patrol commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the machine guns.

Total disregard for his safety Seizing the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position killing the two remaining machine gunners. On seizing the fortified gun position, Cpl Roberts-Smith then took the initiative again and continued to assault enemy positions in depth during which he and another patrol member engaged and killed further enemy. His acts of selfless valour directly enabled his troop to go on and clear the village of Tizak of Taliban. This decisive engagement subsequently caused the remainder of the Taliban in Shah Wali Kot District to retreat from the area. For this action Cpl Roberts– Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross.

update

ch

23

Gazette COMMANDS AND STAFF Territorial Army Lt Col D Middleton TD Royal Regiment of Artillery is promoted to the substantive rank of Col 1 Oct 11 REGULAR ARMY Regular Commissions Lt Col S J Gray retires on retired pay 5 Nov 11 and is appointed to Reserve of Officers Maj A J H Lefever retires on retired pay 15 Nov 11 and is appointed to Reserve of Officers Intermediate Regular Commissions Capt W H Mawby retires 2 Nov 11 and is appointed to Reserve of Officers Short Service Commissions Lt L G Kaye to be Capt 13 Apr 11 (Belated Entry) Lt E F Clarke to be Capt 13 Jun 11 Lt M C Page to be Capt 13 Jun 11 Lt S A Taylor to be Capt 13 Jun 11 Lt M Davies to be Capt 1 Jul 11 Lt G M Smyth to be Capt 1 Jul 11 REGULAR ARMY RESERVE OF OFFICERS Short Service Commissions Capt J W G Bull from The Active List 21 Oct 11 to be Capt

Bravo Bombardier he Queen’s representative in Wiltshire, John Bush OBE JP, the Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire, recently recognised the hard work and dedication of young people and reservists from the county as well as a member of the Royal Artillery in a ceremony at Devizes Town Hall. The Lord Lieutenant’s Certificates recognise reservists or adult cadet instructors who have given exemplary service. LBdr Andrew Norman assists Wiltshire Army Cadet Force as a volunteer Regular Army assistant at the county’s Royal Artillerybadged detachments and has assisted at Old Sarum, Downton and Sarum Academy. LBdr Norman attends all cadet parades and other activities and has done so since 2009. He is extremely popular with the cadets and is a very effective instructor, able to capture and hold young people’s attention and his contribution to the County Cadet Force is highly valued. He is the focus of the highly valued assistance received from the Royal Regiment of Artillery in the county, and has made a significant contribution to the successful opening of a new detachment within a state school at Bemerton Heath, Salisbury as a part of a county council and regional brigade initiative. Without his commitment and assistance the County Cadet Force could not have made the decision to go ahead with this new, cost neutral and unusual venture. LBdr Norman serves with 19 Regt RA and is also a vital member of the regiment’s Pipes and Drums. In short he is a credit to 19 Regt RA. For more information about cadets and reservists in Somerset, go to www.wessexrfca.co.uk or call 01823 254 571. You can also see the latest RFCA news on Twitter @WRFCA

The Lord Lieutenant, together with LBdr Norman and his fiancée Carol. (Our congratulations to LBdr Normad; by the time this issue has gone to press Andrew and Carol will be Mr and Mrs Norman.)

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

T

24

ubique

LBdr Thompson, 103 Re Lashkar Gah on Rememb

Mr Tom Wells, Vice Cha Ltd, brewers of Bombard Colonel, Col Barry Jenkins

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

At the recent annual dinne Guides, the first ever W presented by Graeme Co award honours the memo Townend, a founder memb in April 2010. Will was extr his time and knowledge many aspirant guides. His extensive technical know wider knowledge of battle fellow battlefield guides w

Lt Col Craig Palmer, CO 32 Regt RA, during the service of thanksgiving held at Salsibury Cathedral. More details on page 16. Photograph by Capt Dave Scammell

Cpl (was Bdr) Ford, his s WO1 (RSM) Robert Mood member of 26 Regt RA, search dog handler with Force

ubique

25

egt RA (V), on patrol in brance Day

airman of Charles Wells dier, and the Regimental s, at the Alamein Dinner

search dog Teeppee and die. Cpl Ford is a former , now serving with as a h the Counter IED Task

The Adjutant, Capt Gibson, leading The King’s Troop RHA into Wellington Barracks, after a Royal Salute in Hyde Park to mark the birthday of HRH Prince Charles. Photograph by SSgt Ian Vernon

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

er of the Guild of Battlefield Will Townend Award was ooper to Bob Darby. The ory of the late Lt Col Will mber of the guild, who died raordinarily generous with e, and indeed mentored s willingness to share his wledge of artillery and his efields in general with his was second to none

26

raa

Regimental Family round up Dover Branch RAA

W

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

hile the people of Dover gathered at the war memorial to remember those lost in the two world wars and the conflicts that continue to this day, a smaller but equally important parade was forming up, high above the town at Dover Castle. Alongside the statue of Adm Sir Bertram Ramsay our location was a poignant reminder that Dover was indeed at the front line during those dark days of the early 1940s. Led by our chairman, Mr Pat Cunningham, members of the Dover Branch took post on a 1940’s 25-pdr, marking the beginning and the end of the two minutes silence. Loud speakers broadcast live from the Cenotaph. Beautiful weather allowed for dramatic views thus encouraging many of the visitors to the castle that day to join us, making this solemn occasion even more memorable.

Back in town our president, Maj George Pelly, laid a wreath on behalf of the branch at the war memorial. Sadly our Standard was unable to be on parade here this year our Standard bearer, Mr Harry Hopper, ably supported by further members from the branch was in London for the RA Ceremony

Photograph by P Wyborn-Brown

of Remembrance. Let us remember with honour all members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery who have given their lives in the service of their queen and country. We will remember them!

Coventry Branch RAA

Kirkaldy Branch RAA

Members of the Coventry Branch RAA are regular visitors to 26 Regt RA in Gutersloth. The branch, pictured above, have just returned from a recent visit and would like to extend their thanks to the regiment for a wonderful time, and are already looking forward to their next visit.

Members of the Kingdom Of Fife Branch together with officers and soldiers of 212 (Highland) Bty, 105 Regt RA (V) recently paraded in support of the re-commemoration of the Kirkcaldy Memorial to the war dead. The memorial contains the names of those service men and women who died in both world wars but has now been extended to include those who have died in all conflicts Since World War Two.

Remembrance in Wrexham

O

n 11 November a ceremony of remembrance was held in Wrexham town centre. Cllr Ian Roberts, Mayor of Wrexham read the dedication and this was followed by Last Post. RAA life member Bill Flinders (seated in the photograph) attended the ceremony.

The RAA

The perfect opportunity to contact friends and keep in touch. Call 01980 845362 or log on to www.theraa.co.uk

letters

Lt Col Ian Vere Nicoll MBE General Secretary RACF and RAA

Maj John Sworder Tunbridge Wells

Indefatigable memories I read and enjoyed the article The RATT is indefatigable (October) and reading about the RASM’s trip to the mountain training centre. This served to bring the memories flooding back of loading up and getting into the back of a Bedford three-ton gun towing vehicle, with stores and equipment required for a 10-day excursion, and driving to the Junior Leaders Regt RA’s adventure training centre in Wales. After a cold and exhaust-fume-filled journey we arrived at the parking place for the truck, which was not exactly near the accommodation, this being a country cottage with a bunkhouse and cooking area attached to the side: yes it was a case of the house for the officer and NCO instructor and the bunkhouse for the rest of us! The following seven days were filled with what some call pleasure, but trust me I wouldn’t have been climbing a rock face or stepping off a sheer cliff had there not been ‘encouragement’ from the aforementioned NCO and I often wonder if my teeth marks are still on the flying buttress. The rock climbing and abseiling was mixed with plenty of trekking around the magnificent scenery of Wales, all culminating with a three-day map reading romp with all we required being carried on our backs. I didn’t think so at the time but my thanks go to those instructors for their time and encouragement. Gerald Clarke Bungay, Suffolk.

St John’s Wood Having attended on Friday the poignant final dinner for past officers of The King’s Troop RHA to be held in the St John’s Wood Barracks, I wondered how you might cover the last march-out in February?

We will naturally cover the departure of The King’s Troop RHA from St John’s Wood, and their arrival in their new lines at Woolwich, in The Gunner. I feel it is not for us to comment on what the owners of St John’s Wood wish to do with the site once it has been vacated. Editor.

Style and standards It somehow seems absolutely appropriate that Maj Gen Cordingley should have been a ‘gentleman cadet’ (In memoriam, November) since he personified the implicit characteristics of such a title. During my decade at Woolwich he was an occasional visitor who always seemed happy to engage in friendly conversation with anybody – regardless of rank or age. However, my lasting memory of his forbearance and good nature was the occasion of his farewell at 1 RHA. As a departing, well-liked MGRA, and an ex-BC of the Chestnut Troop, it seemed only appropriate that the regiment should make a ‘bit of fuss’ and to that end the members of the officers’ mess entertained him to a well-lubricated farewell lunch after which the General was fed into a leather armchair that had been strapped onto the superstructure of A Sub, The Chestnut Troop. The simple concept had been that the General would depart from the lines with flair, grace, presence and style. However, the chink in the planning armour was that the Number One turned off A Sub’s engine which subsequently refused to restart. So, the (about to be) long-suffering ex-MGRA was lifted off the gun and returned to the mess for yet more port while another gun was quickly prepared. As an almost irrelevant aside, allow me to say that, although well into his retirement but not retired, it is comforting to read that John Jago (Setting an example, Letters, November) is still setting high standards. It goes without

saying perhaps that if John had been PMC on the day of the general’s farewell (and he may have been) carrots would not have been served on the top table or probably any other table for that matter. Lt Col Michael Nicholson MBE Godalming And the gun wouldn’t have dared to break down either! Editor.

Nice one The magazine continues to portray so well the courage and fortitude of all Gunners in Afghanistan and of other activities with pertinent comments and humour. October’s editorial about acronyms was appropriate, but surely capital initial letters should be used, otherwise what are we to make of ‘Nice’ - the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, methinks, ie. NICE. November’s issue brought back happy memories of Anglesey, fascinating and beautiful. The Trials Establishment RA was my first posting in 1953 after Mons OCS. Being non-technical my duties were not arduous and there was plenty of opportunity to explore the island and wonderful Wales by motorcycle and on foot. Lt Mike Malone Wendover

Jump to it sergeant major! As an ex-Gunner who served in the regiment from 1949 to 1976, attaining the rank of WO2, I’ve been reading a number of past issues. I came across an article that was encouraging warrant officers who still had fire in their bellies, to apply for a late entry commission to become fire support team commanders. Great! I wish I’d had such an opportunity because I would certainly have applied. I am now 80 years old, but the fire is still burning so I celebrated my landmark birthday by fulfilling a lifelong ambition to complete a tandem charity skydive. I jumped from 14,000 feet to raise money for the Angela Gildea Fund, which supports the Countess of Chester Hospital’s breast care unit. It was the most amazing experience. Ralph Jones Chester

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

I read with interest the poem about the Lisbon Maru that Maj Gen James Templer sent in. Last year I was in correspondence with the Lisbon Maru Association, which is based in Kowloon, Hong Kong. On 10 July 2010 officials in China opened the Dongji Museum of History and Culture in Zhoushan County, which is entirely devoted to the Lisbon Maru incident. We were privileged to provide a small plaque in remembrance of those Gunners who died there. Of the 1,834 prisoners of war on board the ship 828 were lost. Of the survivors many were saved by the courage of the local Chinese fisherman who took to the sea in their own boats to help save the survivors, despite being occupied by Japan at the time.

At the dinner the CO had put on display not only the plans for the Napier Lines at Woolwich but also the architect’s drawing of what will be erected on the St John’s Wood site once it has been vacated – namely numerous four or five storey flats, packed closely together, no doubt very expensive and earning the site owner millions of pounds. Might that be reproduced in The Gunner? I recall, when I was researching the history of the barracks in the 1950s (RA Journal LXXXIV, No 3) that the St John’s Wood Society greatly appreciated having this unique and historical horsed unit in their midst, trotting around their streets. The CO is inviting all previous King’s Troop officers to attend on 6 February to see the departure. As it will be coincidentally the 61st anniversary of my passing out of the RMA Sandhurst, I shall have to be there!

Lisbon Maru

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28

in memoriam

WO1 (RSM) G W Blavins MBE

G

eorge William Blavins enlisted into the Royal Artillery at Lee Green on 18 April 1939. From the outbreak of war he served in 59 and 89 AA Regts RA for the defence of London, fighter aerodromes in southern England and the Clyde shipyards. From 1942 until the war’s end, apart from a brief period in South Africa, he served in India and Burma with 16 Indian Fd Regt and 101 Hy Indian Bty. He was born in Powis Street, Woolwich, on 29 November 1921 into a working class family and grew up with his sister Doris and brother Edwin. His early life in Woolwich was hard, however he won a scholarship to Brockley County Grammar School where he joined the cadet force. He left without matriculating and took a job as a laboratory assistant at Colfe Grammar School. During this time his sporting prowess was beginning to show as he had his own soccer team and had a trial for Charlton Athletic FC, then in the First Division of the Football League. He met and married Sister Constance Pearson QAIMNSR in India before returning to the UK in 1947 after India gained independence. Initially posted to Aldershot and attached to 1st Bn RAOC

he re-joined the RA and was sent to 14 Fd Regt RA in 1949, serving with them in Hong Kong and Korea until 1952. It was during the Korean winter that members of C Troop, 5 Bty RA (the ‘Croix de Guerre Battery, led by now WOS (BSM) Blavins, devised ‘... seemingly the safest and most successful’, bunker heater according to the US publication Stars and Stripes of February 1952. Returning to the UK, a posting to 4 Mortar Troop at Larkhill followed. As BSM he served with 50 Med Fd Regt RA both in Scotland and during their deployment to Cyprus in 1956-57. After Cyprus he saw service with 68 Regt RA in Oswestry where he was promoted to WOI (RSM) in 1960 before transferring to 38 Trg Regt RA in Wales. His final posting was to the School of Artillery at Larkhill as the RSM. Throughout his career he enjoyed many sporting achievements; he represented the Gunners and the Army at soccer, as well as playing cricket, hockey and tug-of-war at a high level. He also played rugby for the Gunners and won prize money for shooting at Bisley. He was a qualified referee for both soccer and rugby, and became a qualified FA soccer coach. He was an MBE in 1963.

Lt Col A C Corner

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

L

t Col Allan Corner, who has died aged 77, was a wellrespected and popular Gunner officer who subsequently had an adventurous career flying with the AAC. Allan Cecil Corner was born at Newbottle, Co Durham, on 14 December 1932 and educated at Barnard Castle School, where he was head boy. He was offered a place by two Oxbridge colleges but decided to go to Sandhurst and, after being commissioned, was posted to 33 Para Fd Regt RA in Egypt. He subsequently took part in the Suez Campaign. Sometime later he attended the RA Air OP Course, learning to fly an Auster and at the same time direct artillery fire and this led to him joining the Army Air Corps in 1965. One day while serving on Cyprus, he was flying a helicopter over the Kyrenia Mountain Range with UN forces and carrying their markings when he received a radio message saying that a Greek boy had been badly injured during the factional strife in rhe area. Corrrer picked up the boy, together with two Swedish doctors, and took him to Nicosia. It was dark and the aircraft stated vibrating heavily. They arrived at the hospital in time to save the boy’s arm, but the engineers who checked the helicopter later told Corner that he had been within two minutes of a catastrophic mechanical failure. After a posting to Canada as a flying instructor, in 1968 he returned to England to take command of the Para Bde Sqn at Farnborough. He was once flying one of three Austers at the air show there, dropping the SAS freefall team. Each member of the team had red, white and blue smoke grenades attached to his legs and would pull the pin when out of the aeroplane. The leader of the team accidentally ignited a smoke grenade inside Corner’s Auster. The small plane quickly filled with a billowing cloud of red smoke but Corner spiralled down, trailing smoke,

Upon leaving the army in 1964 he and his family emigrated to Australia where he worked for the Weapons Research Establishment and General Motors Holden, prior to final retirement in 1982. He was a very practical man who enjoyed military and Irish music, golf, travelling, cooking and furniture making. He died on 22 August 2010, aged 88, and is survived by his wife, Constance and his two sons, Richard and Ian all of whom still live in Australia.

and landed without incident on the main runway. The crowd, believing this was all part of the display, applauded with enthusiasm while Corner emerged from the aircraft dyed bright red from head to toe. A move to Lee-onSolent came next. On being asked whether he was enjoying his appointment at the Interservice Hovercraft Unit, he replied that it was strange to go from flying at 2,000ft to a mere two-inches. Following promotion to lieutenant-colonel, he moved to Verden in BAOR as the CO of 1 Regt AAC. In 1988 he retired and became regimental secretary of the AAC. He took up golf and spent many happy hours losing balls at Leckford, in Hampshire, and enjoying leisurely lunches in pubs in the Test Valley. Allan Corner died on 17 August. He married, in 1956, Joyce Plews, who survives him with their two sons and two daughters. This obituary is based on a longer one that appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 10 September, and is used here with permission.

in memoriam

29

Maj H V Sawyer M

aj Herbert Sawyer died on 29 July at Glen Arun Nursing Home, Horsham, aged 91. Herbert, known to his close friends as ‘Tom’, joined 33 Bty RA (affectionately known as the Rough Riders) in 1938. In 1941 he was sent to 133 OCTU where he was commissioned into the Indian Artillery and sent to Burma to join 3 Indian LAA Bty in time for the withdrawal to India. As an acting captain and battery commander he was given a staff post at the AA Trg Centre at Deolali for a year until December 1943 before joining 1 Indian LAA Regt for another year. Then a period with 10 Indian Fd Regt in preparation for a posting back to the UK in May 1945. By November 1945 he was in Germany with 18 LAA Regt RA and later 92 Fd Regt RA and a spell in HQRA 5 Div in Hannover, where he met his wife Karla, before

demobilisation in April 1947. Before Herbert joined the TA in 1938 he had joined J Walter Thompson, at the time one of the largest advertising agencies in the country. On demobilisation in 1947 they welcomed him back. He remained with them until his retirement in 1977. However, he had not finished with the Army. Called up in August 1950 as a Z reservist, he had to report to 11 LAA Regt (The City Of London Yeomanry) RA TA, completing the circle. He clearly enjoyed his military service. In December 1952 he joined the RAOC (AER), in which he gained his majority in 1957. He retired from the AER in 1961. He kept in touch with his comrades in arms and joined the Rough Riders Survivors Club when that was set up, coming up to London for twice-yearly meetings at the Union Jack Club until the journey became too tiring in his later years.

Last Post

CUTHBERT – Sgt Walter Cuthbert died peacefully after a long illness fought with courage and dignity on 13 October, aged 84. He will be sadly missed by all family and friends. He enlisted in 1945 and served in Germany until 1955 in 94 Loc Regt RA in Luneburg, Munsterlager, Honne and Saltau. HATCHARD – Gnr Stephen Hatchard died on 23 October at the age of 91. Stephen joined the RA at the age of 14 in 1935 and joined 2 Boys Bty RA at Woolwich training as a trumpeter. In 1936 he was posted to 23 Fd Regt RA at Exeter and then served during the war in the Middle East. His his last regiment was 245 Fd Regt RA.

SCOTT – Biddy Scott, for 66 years the beloved wife of Brig Fraser Scott (late RA) and the daughter of an IG, Maj Ronald Williams, died peacefully on 18 November, aged 90. Mother of Capt Adam Scott, RA TA, now retired, and of Fanny and Kirstie, and a much loved grandmother and great-grandmother. THOMAS – Maj David Thomas lost his courageous battle against motor neurone disease on 23 November, aged 65. Sadly missed by his wife Penny, and children Emma and Guy. TREMBATH – WO2 Vaughan Trembath died on 17 November, aged 68. He served with the Gunners for 32 years all over the world. He joined 14 Fd Regt RA in Dortmund in 1964. He then followed the regiment to Blackpool which included tours in NI and Canada. He was fortunate to have served in Malaya with the regiment and then two years with 28 ANZUK Regt in Singapore as a member of 1 Bty RA. He was well known in Larkhill where he spent most of his service, being awarded the MSM in 1992 for his sterling work in the School of Artillery. A very popular Gunner who will be sadly missed by his family, who were with him to the end, and his many friends in the Royal Artillery. VAUDREY – Lt Col Derek Robert Lionel Vaudrey died on 29 August, aged 86.

LAND – Bdr Gilbert Humphrey (Gilly) Land died on 11 September at his home in Folkestone, surrounded by members of his family. He enlisted in the RA in February 1939 and served in 12 Fd and 17 Med Regts RA, spending just under three years on Malta, six months in North Africa and a little over a year in Italy. He was a member of the RAA (the Dover Branch) and carried their Standard at numerous ceremonies over the years.

WINTLE – Col Keith Stephen Barnard Wintle CBE died peacefully on 26 October, aged 81, at Suffolk Lodge Nursing Home, Wokingham, Berkshire. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Audrey; children, Elizabeth, Simon and Sarah and his four grandchildren. After passing out from Sandhurst in 1950 he joined the Royal Artillery, and served with them for over 35 years. He had a rewarding military career in Germany, Malaysia and the UK and during that time received the MBE, OBE and the CBE for service in the Army.

ODLING – Margaret Marshall Odling died on 25 September at Abberton Manor Nursing Home, aged 97 years. Wife of the late Maj Gen William Odling DL, CB, OBE, MC.

WORTLEY – Harold William Wortley died on 31 October, aged 93. He joined the RA in 1935 and served with the 8th Army at EI Alamein, also in India, Iraq and Palestine. He was proud to have been a Gunner.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

ADDINGTON – Maj the Hon R T Addington MC died peacefully in Swindon Hospital on 28 October, aged 92. After leaving school at Downside he attended the last course held at Woolwich Academy before World War Two. A fine athlete, he represented ‘The Shop’ at cricket, rugby, hockey and boxing. He was commissioned into the Gunners in 1939, but soon volunteered for the Commandos. He served in 5 Cdo RM from 1940 to 1943 taking part in numerous raids and the occupation of Madagascar. In 1943 he rejoined the Gunners and was posted to 13 RHA (HAC) in 11 Armd Div, who fought their way from Normandy to the Baltic. He was awarded an immediate MC during the heavy fighting in Holland. He briefly commanded J Bty RHA after the war but retired from the Army in 1949 to successfully run a family farm in Wiltshire. His wife, Veronique, pre-deceased him but he is survived by his seven children.

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sport

The Royal Artiller H

ugh Drummond, a leading light in Gunner orienteering for a number of decades was invited to set the course for the Royal Artillery Orienteering Championships. Despite finally deciding to hang up his compass he agreed to set this course as his swan song – and as Gnr Wharfe has written below what a course it was! The first runner off was Lt Gen Chris Brown, who proved that age was no barrier to a quick time and he was placed in the top half of the field. The president of Gunner Orienteering, Brig Stuart Skeates, also went for a run and was in the top 10 for the A course. Starts were staggered over a couple of hours and it was not long before a stream of exhausted but geographically content runners arrived at the final checkpoint. Brig Skeates presented a number of individual and team prizes. The chairman of Gunner Orienteering, Lt Col Chris Huthwaite, was pipped for the Overall Male winner by WO2 (BSM) Al Mathers from 5 Regt RA. Maj ‘CJ’ Young beat Maj Lou Whiting to the Champion Ladies’ prize and Gnr Warrior from 12 Regt RA was the clear Under 25 Winner. In the team events RMAS was the Minor Unit winner, the Arty Centre the Ladies’ winner and 7 Para RHA picked up the Novice Team prize. The Artillery Centre – for so long the holders of the trophy were dethroned by a very strong all-round performance from 5 Regt RA. Opposite is an account of the day from a member of the winning team.

RA Champion, WO2 Mathers

Maj Rich Crawford, Secretary RA Orienteering

Gunner on track

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

O

n 21 September in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the cycling 2011 Road World Championships, Fabian Cancellara, a fourtime world champion, made a costly error in the time trial. While he didn’t crash, he came to a dead stop. Even for him it was an incredibly difficult course. There were the cobblestones, highspeed corners, kerbs, rain, strong headwinds, and of course other riders. “What about you? What was the toughest part of racing at the Worlds?” asked a friend, who having seen Cancellara’s corner wondered how someone with, um, slightly lesser skill had managed. I too was at the World Championships, competing for the first time. After some thought, “Getting there,” I replied. Sometimes the hardest part about going after an Olympic dream has nothing to do with training and competing. Over the past year chasing my Olympic qualification dream, I’ve learned that racing is less than half the battle. It’s about the little things that aren’t so apparent. Because I race for a nation unable to support its cyclists financially (I have dual nationality with Guyana), the logistics of getting to the races prove harder than any cobblestone corner. Getting there is the first step. Discovering who to contact to enter the race, the cheapest hotel, working out whether there is enough money for a rental car or should the money go on upgrading/fixing my bikes instead, finding out the rules of competition, trying to ignore my first cough and cold of the year (surely if you ignore

it, it won’t affect your performance?) made up most of my world championships concerns. While most of my competitors spend their pre-race routine navigating a mental and physical route to victory, I consider the odds of actually having made it to the start line.

Really lucky Yes, the fully-funded teams have it easier. Things like food, beds and transportation are provided. There are team mechanics, doctors, massage therapists, coaches, and chefs on hand to allow the athletes to focus solely on the sport. My journey is a little different. When things seem difficult however, I just have to remember one thing: I’m really lucky to be here. Finishing 51st might not come with a medal (nor a coveted Olympic qualification slot), but it always provides perspective. Luckily for me, Denmark turned out to be a good trip. I did not achieve the results I know I was capable of but that’s what you get from ignoring a cough. Taking medication is still a minefield I struggle with though, antibiotics usually suppress your immune system and performance, and lots of ingredients in even off-the-self medication are on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list. It seems easier not to take anything…or not to get ill in the first place! However, there were so many positives to come out of my experience, including some amazing training, equipment and support opportunities for next year. So on I go… the Olympic dream is still very much alive.

by Maj Claire Fraser

sport

31

ry Orienteering Championships T

he Royal Artillery Orienteering Championships doubles as the first formal meeting of the MLC Army Orienteering season and was held at St Georges Barracks, North Luffenham, home of 16 Regt RA. The ultimately victorious Yorkshire Gunners from 5 Regt RA filled the minibus with an 11-strong competitive team, ranging in rank from gunner up to sergeant major and in experience from complete beginner to seasoned veteran.

Get to grips Those new to the sport were not entirely thrown in at the deep end, the BSM P Bty having held several introductory warm up training sessions prior to the event at both Marne Barracks and at the familiar yet unwelcoming Catterick training area. Runners would have to get to grips with navigating accurately at speed while using specialised orienteering maps – for this event including 1:10,000 and 1:5,000 scales – highly detailed plans showing individual trees, rocks, post-holes in the ground as well as the precise location of each control marker on the courses. The courses themselves are split into A, B and C varieties designed to accommodate the varying levels of skill, physical ability

and determination. Navigation is the most technically difficult and lengthy for the A Course runners at 9.2km and short and sharp for the 6km C course. Speed though is not always of the essence as sound, mistakefree navigation usually triumphs over lung-busting crosscountry thrashing. A healthy combination of both, however, will produce the highest score. Above: The winning team, 5 Regt RA Runners either ran Right: Maj Drummond as teams or individually and in different age classifications, with a points system deciding rabbit holes of some old bunkers and the overall victors. ammo compounds. Particularly tricky Controls were and As it turned out the routes at North numerous Luffenham were split into two parts. Firstly f r e q u e n t l y together a flat, wide-open course criss-crossed around close increasing the the old airfield itself, with a particularly tricky – section in among the long grass and hidden possibility of hasty navigation mistakes and disqualification. The second part was in the more compact area of St Georges Barracks, around hangars and buildings where competitors cover ground quickly and must make quick decisions as to the fastest, most effective routes between controls. Butterfly loops had been added for even more confusion – following the guy in front would have been dangerous.

k for glory

The front of the Elite Women’s Road Race. Claire is at the back with the other unranked nations

Conditions looked ominous with poor visibility when the team looked out from their accommodation that morning. But, as the morning drew on and the various representatives arrived to register, conditions had improved to near perfect and the Yorkshire Gunners rose to the occasion. Perhaps MST had physically prepared the 5 Regt team well for the event (with nine P Bty and two 93 Bty runners) as they won the overall team competition. WO2 (BSM) Mathers practised what he preached and led from the front- winning the A course almost a minute ahead of second place, and SSgt Wallis placing fifth of the 33 entrants. The remaining team members were split between the B Course, Bdr Todd and Gnr Wharfe, and C Course runners LBdrs Gurney and Ryan, and Gnrs Soutar, O’Hallaran, Collinson, Speirs and Brown.

Gnr Chris Wharfe

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Perfect

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Gunner rugby season starts with a bang

The Veterans Squad

A

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

ll four of the Gunner Rugby Union teams opened their season with a victory in October. The Gunner women took to the field against the Royal Signals at Aldershot and ran out comfortable winners 37-0 resulting in four players being called up to the Army Elite squad; 2Lt Gemma Rowland, Bdr Jen Wuehr, Gnr Roe La Grange and Gnr Meg Lee, joining established Army players Bdrs Katie Garside and Laura Latimer. The men’s elite squad fielded their development side in early October to play the RLC Development which they won with ease before fielding a strong, but depleted side for their first inter-corps fixture against last year’s champions, the REME. The game began well for the Gunners who opened their account with a well worked team try finished by Gnr Ben Niayaga, converted by Maj Euan Quin who also added two further penalties and the eventual result was 13-3; a great start to the season. We look forward to the return of LBdrs Sam

Speight and Bola Boladau fresh from their victory with the Army elite team at the Defence World Cup to bolster the squad. The men’s veterans opened their season with a curtain-raiser fixture to the elite match against the REME Veterans. A great turnout and fine conditions enabled the team to produce an impressive victory 42-22 which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Dug deep Unfortunately the November-scheduled games for the women and veterans were called off due to their opposition being unable to field a side but the elite men took on the Royal Signals at Colerne on a wet and cold afternoon. The match started promisingly with a try after 20 minutes scored by LBdr Sammy Speight and converted by Maj Euan Quin. This was swiftly followed by a try from Bdr Mocky Mocesui but wasn’t converted. The Royal Signals then had a resurgence, scoring a try either side of half time through strong forward play and getting the advantage of a strong wind for the second half. The Gunners dug deep and after some sustained pressure LBdr Sammy Speight went over in the corner for his second try and amazingly, against the wind, Gnr Lloyd Hazelman converted it. The match finished 15-19 and two out of two for the Gunner elite men. Next up is the Infantry on 7 December at Larkhill. The Infantry have also made a great start to the season with victories over the RLC and the Sappers, so it bodes for a fiercely competitive match and all support will be very welcome.

More details can be found at www.gunnerrugby.com Going nowhere – defence holds firm

by Maj Nick Andrew Director RA RFC

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Para race regained

T

he sixth Army Steeplechase took place at Tidworth on a cold and foggy 16 November. 7 Para RHA won this event for the first three years, but not in the last two years. They were determined to put that right this year. The course was 10-and-a-half miles over mixed terrain, carrying a 20lb day sack and with a total of 93 obstacles. This is a gruelling event that test fitness, stamina and determination. 24 personnel from 7 Para RHA took on the

challenge this year; three teams with the first six in each team to count. It was a strong field with over 250 personnel taking part and 20 teams in the major unit category. The front runners started extremely quickly, leaving the 7 Para RHA front runners behind. However halfway around the first lap 7 Para RHA, led by LBdr Jefferies started to make their way up the field and take over first place. LBdr Jefferies remained in first place and brought the field home with Gnr Kaye finishing

seventh overall. All of the 7 Para RHA A Team finished within the top 30, thereby securing 7 Para RHA the title of Army Steeplechase Champions for 2011, with LBdr Jefferies becoming the Army Individual Champion with a time of one hour and 22 minutes. The B Team came a very creditable fourth and the C Team coming in ninth place. This event very much marks the return, after a successful operational tour, for 7 Para RHA to Army and Gunner fitness events.

Gunner v Sapper Golf

he 105th annual match between the Gunners and Sappers was wins by SSgt Roberts playing with Lt Musgrove and by Lt Col Scott always going to be a difficult one; and so it proved to be. This Forsyth playing with Maj Jim Pritchett. If the Gunners could build on year the Sappers fielded one of their strongest teams for some this success into the afternoon session then, mathematically at least, considerable time with several of their players playing off scratch it was still possible for the Gunners to win the trophy. Unfortunately, or lower. Coupled to this a Gunner team depleted of its regular and in spite of both Sgt Danny Burr and Maj Pritchett each securing experienced members due to operations and retirements, we were a valuable point for the Gunners, the Sappers’ strength in depth going to be very much the underdogs. That said, this did give us the dominated the afternoon session and they ran out the winners 17–7. opportunity to ‘blood’ a number of new players and introduce them While it was a disappointing result, this year provided an excellent not only to this event but also to the level of golf required of a player opportunity to pull new players up and into the Gunner team and to compete and win at corps-level. provided a significant experience for people to draw on ready for the Those selected were given the opportunity to play at least two 2012 match. rounds around the Royal St Georges links, host to this year’s Open Championship. Blessed with pretty good weather for the time of year and better than expected light, the competition took the format of eight singles and four foursomes on day one followed by four foursomes and eight singles on day two. The Sappers proved to be very strong and, despite a good showing from the playing RA captain SSgt Kerry Roberts playing with Lt Jack Musgrove in the morning session and Maj Trev Parks, Lt Jack Musgrove and Lt Col Eddie Grace in the afternoon session, at the end of the first day’s play, the Gunners were trailing the Sappers nine points to three; a margin that put them very much in the driving seat for day two. With the Sappers only requiring three points from the second day to retain the Cowley Cup, the Gunners were always going to struggle to deliver a win. However, the morning’s play produced The 2011 Royal Artillery golf team with the RAGS captain, Brig Mark Lacey better success for the Gunners with excellent

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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The HAC team, on the HAC Bank, their sponsored fence

PCSO John Bordis, overall winner of the Lockheed Martin Novice Class

The Army and RA Hu T

he sun shone on the Royal Artillery Cross Country Course this year for the Army and RA Hunter Trials Championships on Sunday, 23 October. Having read in a recent article of Horse and Hound that ‘the words sun and Larkhill are rarely mentioned together’ I suppose we can count our blessings. Sadly due to outbreaks of strangles at both the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The King’s Troop RHA, the military entry was down on previous years but nevertheless an outstanding day’s competition did result. Entries from the Mounted Infantry,

Competitive

Lt Col Angus Camereon clears the RA Pony Club Hedge

Household Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Police, supplemented by a competitive civilian component, saw a field of some 250 competitors face the new course Capt A le at Larkhill. A special mention must, the wa c Harvey lead y for 7 Para R ing however, go to the team that travelled HA from 7 Para RHA, who I think would agree, had a challenging day. Undaunted, they displayed a true combination of airborne and horse artillery spirit – we look forward to seeing them again next year!

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Thank you Thanks must go to our sponsors; Lockheed Martin, Systems Consultants Services Limited, Logica, Westover Land Rover Salisbury for their continued and generous support to this event. Without their vision and enthusiasm we could not hold this unique competition, bringing military and civilian equestrian sport together at Larkhill. Thanks must also go to our volunteers; The RA Hunt, The HAC, 14 Regt RA, The Young Officers Course and our many other supporters. Equestrian competition is becoming a more popular sport again and it is important to the Royal Regiment that it continues to thrive within its ranks. The 2012 competition will take place on 21 October; I would encourage all RA saddle clubs to plan to be there. Lt Navarro and LBdr Illingworth, the 14 Regt RA pair, at the RA fence

by Lt Col Andy Welsh

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Tug of war

Above and below: LBdr Bell, first military rider in the SCS Open Class

T

he 2011 European Tug of War Championships took place in Minehead in September. The Army four by four team consisted of one officer and nine soldiers, all serving within 1 RHA and 19 Regt RA. 182 teams competed in the championships with guest teams from as far as China and South Africa taking part. The standard was incredibly high with two national teams and the current world champions in our group. While silverware was always just beyond us, we finished the day with a very respectable placing of sixth in our group. Two soldiers both serving with 1 RHA have since been selected to represent England at the World Championships in December. Full details will appear in The Gunner.

R

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

unter Trials

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sport

Pukka polo

E

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

veryone in Gunner polo will agree that the 2011 season will be one to remember for all the right reasons. The season started with the Royal Artillery Cup and the Royal Artillery Novice Shield, hosted on Thorney Island. The RA Red Team took to the field against the RLC and performed very well to win 4-2; goal scorers for the home side were Bdr Morris (4 Regt RA) Maj Andy Wood (LWC) and giving the Beckham treatment to two 60-yard penalties was Maj Michael Lawrence (12 Regt RA). The RA Blue Team gave battle to the gentleman of the HAC for the RA Cup which was a game played at speed with a great deal of skill. This finished 8-4 with excellent performances from Gnr Jackson (47 Regt RA), 2Lt Nick Watson (12 Regt RA) Regt) and Maj Dev Deveny (103 Regt RA (V)). Mid-June brought the Captains and Subalterns Trophy at Tidworth; the draw did favour the two RA sides and it was also good to see a side from 1 RHA joining the fray. The RA Blues beat the RLC convincingly (getting into double figures) with every team member finding the goal, they then went on to add the scalp of the Light Dragoons, despite it being a somewhat tougher test this left them in first place in their division. The RA Red Team had a high goal game against the AGC Black Team, with everyone finding the goal and a very solid performance given by Lt Will

Mawby (HQ 1 Arty Bde) at number four, this finished 5-0 to the Gunners. The Reds next game was against the RAMC. It was a tough and fast flowing game with the medics opening the scoring, but then the Gunners converted a penalty levelling the scores. In the dying minutes of the final chucker Maj Andy Wood again found the goal to win the match and Division 4. The trophy cabinet was going to look good! The 1 RHA team gave a very credible maiden performance, winning one of their two games, with 2Lt Jack Stamp demonstrating that his polo lessons at Sandhurst have been very worthwhile; they finished third overall in Division 4. Having proved themselves, it is hoped that they continue with their commitment and make it into the RA Reds next season. July saw the team participate in a Help for Heroes Charity game at the Royal Leamington Spa Polo Club, Dallas Burston Polo Grounds. This ramped up the pressure playing the Polistas Polo corporate team. A great day was enjoyed by everyone and a significant amount of money raised for the charity. The AGC Cup was the last tournament for the season for both teams. This was played at Tidworth on the August bank holiday. The Blue Team had a tough draw against the RAF and were just beaten in the last seconds of the match 3 to 2-and-ahalf , this meant that the best they could hope for was third place in Division 1; which they achieved by beating the AGC Red Team in the third and fourth place play-offs. The Red Team had an easier draw, meeting the AGC Black Team and winning that

encounter by 8-0 with Bdr Guy Ridley (47 Regt RA) putting himself on the score sheet four times, and braking his duck for the season. This meant the Red Team met the Army Reserves Officers Team and this match went right down to the wire; being level at full time and after penalties, it was then simply down to a flip of a coin. Brig John Wright called the two team captains together and tossed the coin - everyone knew by the way Bdr Mo Morris (4 Regt RA) hung his head that the coin had been unkind to the Gunner team who graciously settled for second place in Division 2. This year Gunner polo said goodbye to Sgt Kev Britton (47 Regt RA) who has worked extremely hard to put RA polo back on the map, so a big thank you to Kev and his wife Lynn. Additionally this season Maj Michael Lawrence (12 Regt RA) handed over to Maj Andy Wood (LWC) as the team manager for Gunner Polo but Maj Lawrence will still be seen on the field as he remains bitten by the polo bug. A number of Gunner players have been selected to play for the Army Novice Team and they are Gnr Lawrence Jackson (12 Regt RA), Sgt Toby Horn (47 Regt RA), Sgt Alex Woodhouse (47 Regt RA) and 2Lt Nick Watson (12 Regt RA). Matches have been played against the RAF (lost) and RMAS (won), so congratulations to those gentlemen. RA Polo is bigger than Thorney Island. If you are interested in finding more about playing polo in the Gunners, or if you would like to come along and see the teams in action, please visit the website, www.rapolo. co.uk Here’s looking forward to a similarly action packed season next year!

by Bdr Mo Morris

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Slam dunk for the Gunners Basketball Inter-Unit Championships 2011

T

his year’s Inter-Unit Basketball Championships were held at Larkhill. The yearly chance for regiments to test their ball-bouncing mettle against each other, while also providing an opportunity for talent to be identified for the Inter-Corps Championships is an important part of the Royal Artillery basketball calendar.

Hard-fought final This year four teams entered the male competition and two the female competition. The quality of play displayed was excellent, particularly in a hard-fought final between 12 and 19 Regts RA. 19 Regt RA managed to pull through and retain their crown for the fourth year running, despite the fact that this year saw them lose their dedicated coach, Capt Tiny Hunt to 26 Regt RA. Third and fourth place went to 32 and 14 Regts RA respectively.

32 Regt RA, RA inter-unit winners (female) 2011

A growing sport The female basketball competition saw outstanding skills from a number of previously unidentified players; in particular Bdr Sanderson and Gnr MacAndrew of 32 Regt RA who helped to sweep their team to victory against 14 Regt RA and were also asked to trial for the Army ladies basketball team. This is only the second year that two female teams have entered and had a chance to play in these championships. Women’s basketball is a growing sport in the Gunners and units are encouraged to enter teams into the 4 Div competitions likely to be held in January next year.

T

he skill of the competitors at these championships is beautiful to observe; many of the players have been living and breathing the game all their lives and the result on court is awesome. The Gunners fielded a Division One team and a female team this year. Gnr Sidney of 12 Regt RA captained this year’s male Gunner team, which gained fifth place out of the 12 competing teams. It was a remarkable effort from him and all the team, as they battled through any number of difficulties; from losing the coach for much of the training and some of the game time, to losing Capt Alice Wheeler, the secretary and team manager, to an OFSTED inspection during the week of the championships. This year the REME were overall winners, and next year it is hoped that Gunners will again be in a position to challenge them for the prize.

Outstanding If sport is encouraged in the Army to bring out the physical and moral components, this team showed both in spades. The work-rate was tremendous and the teamwork they displayed was outstanding. Particular thanks go to Gnr Frederick of 19 Regt RA who stepped up as coach for the male and female teams. Some new talent has been identified with Gnr Akroyd’s left-handed skills foxing the opponents every time (this despite his name on court being ‘Lefty’)! The female team put in a great showing. Considering the fact that most of the team have barely played before, the level of

19 Regt RA, RA inter-unit winners (male) 2011

gamesmanship was excellent. Sgt Robinson had to take over captaincy of the team and did so well that she has been asked to return for Army basketball trials this year. They were ranked sixth of seven teams competing.

Dates Please could basketball reps take note of the approaching divisional competition dates which should be published on the ABBA page on Armynet and endeavour to enter as many teams as possible? As this is the place in which male players are selected for the Army team, it is very important for the players to attend. The dates for the 4 Div competition are confirmed as 1 and 2 February 2012 and will be held at the Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre. Unfortunately, due to the secretary’s absence from courtside, there are no photos to display the team’s prowess. However the players were as follows: Division 1 (male) team: Gnr Akroyd (47 Regt RA), Gnr Duncan (19 Regt RA), Gnr Frazer (16 Regt RA), Gnr Forster (4 Regt RA), Gnr Macburnie (14 Regt RA), Gnr Prophet (3 RHA), Gnr Roberts (14 Regt RA), Gnr Ronson (3 RHA), Gnr Kwamie (32 Regt RA), Gnr Sidney (12 Regt RA) and Gnr Williams (19 Regt RA) Female team: Gnr Banks (14 Regt RA), Gnr Briton (14 Regt RA), Gnr Hardy (14 Regt RA), Bdr Haynes (14 Regt RA), Sgt Robinson (32 Regt RA) and Capt Wheeler (14 Regt RA).

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Basketball Inter-Corps Championships 2011

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ROYAL ARTILLERY RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB FIXTURE LIST 2011/12 MEN:

Ser Date

Fixture

Venue

Remarks

9

25 Nov

RA V RE

Larkhill

League

10

23 Jan

Woolwich Cup Semis

TBC

Mon Floodlight

Ser Date

Event

Match Date

Location

5.

Infantry vs RA

7 Dec 11

Warminster

11

6 Feb

RAPTC v RA

Aldershot

League Mon Floodlight

12

17 Feb

RA v Reme

Larkhill

League

13

2 Mar

RLC V RA

Deepcut

League TBC

14

5 Mar

Woolwich Cup Final

Aldershot

15

23 Mar

Inter Bty Shield Final

Larkhill

6 – 8 Dec

6.

23 – 26 Jan 2012

RA vs RLC

25 Jan 12

Larkhill

7.

27 – 29 Jan

Jersey vs RA

28 Jan 12

Jersey

8.

20 – 23 Feb

RMAS vs RA (Development)

22 Feb 12 (1430 hrs)

Sandhurst

Winners 24 Bty RA

9.

27 Feb – 1 Mar

RE vs RA

29 Feb 12

Chatham 16

23 Mar

AGC V RA

TBC

10.

19 - 22 Mar 2012

RA vs AGC End of Season Dinner

21 Mar

Larkhill

17

23-27 Apr

REME v RA

Chatham

18

23-27 Apr

R SIGS V RA

Chatham

Quads

23-27 Apr

RA V RE

Chatham

Quads

20 Jun

Gunner Cup Final

Larkhill

19 Regt RA

Quads

11.

18 Apr

Corps Finals

18 Apr 12

Aldershot

19

12.

16 – 25 Apr

MacIlwaine/ Mackenzie Cup

25 Apr 12 (Finals)

Larkhill

20

13.

Sat 28 Apr 12

Army v Navy

28 Apr 12

Twickenham

14.

Wed 2 May 12

RA Sevens

2 May 12

Larkhill

Date

WOMEN:

10 Nov

Army v Portsmouth

Army Stadium

1930

Ser Date

Event

Match Date

Location

25 Nov

INT v RA

Chicksands

1100

5.

6 – 7 Dec 11

Corps 4

7 Dec 11

Aldershot

1 Dec

Army v Sussex

Army Stadium

1930

6.

17 – 18 Jan 12

Corps 5

18 Jan 12

Aldershot

26 Jan 12

London FA v Army

TBC

1930

20 Jan

AMS v RA

Keough

1030

7.

7 – 8 Feb 12

Corps 6

8 Feb 12

Aldershot

9 Feb

Army v Middlesex

Army Stadium

1930

8.

28 – 29 Feb 12

Corps 7

29 Feb 12

Aldershot

23 Feb

RAF v Army

Cosford

1400

9.

20 - 22 Mar 12

RA vs AGC (tbc) End of Season Dinner

21 Mar 12

Larkhill

8 Mar

Army v Navy

Army Stadium

1400

16 Mar

RA v R SIGS

Larkhill

1030

10.

18 Apr 12

Corps Final

18 Apr 12

Aldershot

VETERANS:

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

GUNNER FOOTBALL CALENDAR 2011/12

Ser Date

Event

Match Date

Location

2.

25 Jan 12

RA vs RLC

25 Jan 12

Larkhill

3.

29 Feb 12

RE vs RA

29 Feb 12

Chatham

4.

28 Apr 12

7 Para Old Boys vs RA

28 Apr 12

Twickenham

GUNNER WOMEN’S FOOTBALL CALENDAR 2011/12 Fixture

Location

Kick Off

19 Apr

REME v RA

Bordon

1930

4 May

RA v AGC

Larkhill

1030

10 May

EOST

Army Stadium

0900

The Army v Navy 2012

Saturday, 28 April 2012 For tickets see WO2 (SMIG) Woolcombe: 94322 5364 or 01980 (84) 5364

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

sport

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40

notices

for sale RA Female mess dress RA female NCO’s mess dress, size 12, worn twice from brand new. Please contact 07595 440911. history of the citadel I have written an A5-size book about the history of the Royal Citadel on Plymouth Hoe. It is full of colourfull illustrations/photos and tells the story of the Citadel, why it was built, why it is in Plymouth and even what happened to Oliver Cromwell’s head. The book is for sale at a reasonable cost of £5, a stocking filler for Christmas. All profits go to the Plymouth Branch of the RAA. Please contact Sgt P Harley, 29 Cdo Regt RA, Royal Citadel, Plymouth PL1 2PD or phone 01752 236131. RA 250th anniversary commemorative plate A RA 250th anniversary commemorative plate is offered for sale. Reasonable offers by email to: [email protected] WAGS ARMY CALENDAR The WAGS Army 2012 calendar is now on sale. Featuring wives of soldiers in 39 Regt RA, dressed in the husbands’ uniforms, each calendar costs £7:50 incl p & p. All proceeds to the ABL and RBL. Further details available from Eric Ingram 01912 132274 or mobile 07931 743417. To order go to: [email protected]

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

information wanted

are held each Tuesday starting at 1930 hours. No auditioning necessary – just come along and join in. For further details please contact Antonia Robb on 01980 670614. rayc notice The following are deemed to have resigned from the RAYC under rule 49 of the RAYC Rules and Bye-Laws - non-payment of full subscription by 1 November in the year due: Mr W Horlick, Capt SR Martin, Maj SJ Marshall, Maj DF Oldershaw, Mr JH Rogers, Mr PS Scrannage and Lt H Spain. The Francis Elkin Award Sgt Richard Thisby, based at the Army Inshore Sail Training Centre (South), Thorney Island, has been selected by the Royal Yachting Association to receive the Francis Elkin Award. The award is given each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution in time, effort and personal endeavour to enable people with disabilities to become involved in sailing. He received the award from HRH The Princess Royal in London on 23 Nov. RAYC website The RAYC now has an independent website that offers the opportunity for individuals and organisations to advertise and promote sailing related expeditions and activities. There are also links to related sailing clubs at home and abroad. To view the website please go to http://www. rayc.org.uk.

9 (plassey) bty ra Any past members of 9 (Plassey) Bty RA who are interested in receiving a biannual newsletter to keep in touch with what the battery are currently up to are asked to contact Sgt Mike Webber by tel 07976 049259 or 01243 388525. All past and serving members are more than welcome. Further contact details are: email [email protected] yahoo.co.uk

recruit for spouces Heledd Kendrick, wife of a British RLC army officer, is in the process of setting up a company called Recruit for Spouses to help strengthen the employment opportunities for spouses of all three branches of the British Armed Forces. For further information please visit their website at: www.recruitforspouses.co.uk

wo2 (bsm) m quinn I am looking for contact with, or information about, ex- BSM 51 (Kabul 1842) Msl Bty, 24 Msl Regt RA. Last known to be in the Monmouth area. Brian Martindale wanting to contact him. Any information by email to: [email protected] talktalk.net

57 (Bhurtpore) bty RA A reunion party for 57 Bhurtpore) Bty RA will take place on the evening of Sat 21 Jan 12 at Roberts Barracks, Larkhill, Wiltshire. Details are available through the Facebook Group: ‘57 Bhurtpore Battery Royal Artillery Reunion’. For more information contact Steph Manning by email to: [email protected]

LAA Arty Gunners Writer seeks first-hand accounts from LAA Arty Gunners with service on the home front during World War Two and/or India 1943-44. Please contact Andrew Ward, 67 Higher Brimley, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8JU or telephone 07506 392959.

information LArkhill choral society The Larkhill Choral Society is a friendly choir that now practices and performs in the Amesbury Abbey Church. Note change of venue. Rehearsals for our Christmas concert, to be held on 17 Dec,

reunions

THE CHESTNUT TROOP RHA 219TH FOUNDATION DAY REUNION The Chestnut Troop RHA will be holding its 219th Foundation Day celebrations at Assaye Barracks in Tidworth over two days, Fri 3 and Sat 4 Feb 12. The weekend will consist of a church service and battery photo and football for the Chris Manley Memorial Trophy on Fri morning and dinner in the evening. On Sat 4 Feb a families’ party will be held in the evening. This year the battery would like to find as many past members as possible to attend, if you know any past members of the battery who would like to attend this year’s

function please let us know. On behalf of the BC and serving members of The Chestnut Troop RHA we hope you can attend this year’s function and we look forward to seeing you. Please contatct Sgt Harker, The Chestnut Troop RHA by phone on 01980 602381 or by email to: [email protected] MOD.UK ra boys, artificers and junior leaders association The 2012 reunion of the Royal Artillery Boys, Artificers and Junior Leaders Association will once again, by popular demand, be held at the Holiday Inn, Walsgrave Road, Coventry CV2 2HP over the weekend Fri 20-Sat 21-Sun 22 Apr 2012. Full details, programme, costs etc will be published in the January edition of The Trumpeter. For further information please contact Ted McKenzie on 07900 806235 or email: [email protected] c BTY RHA PPMA A C Bty RHA past and present members all ranks reunion is being held on 24 Mar 12 at the Copthorne Hotel, Birmingham B3 3HJ. For further details please email: [email protected] or: [email protected] 4 Regt RA The next officers’ mess reunion dinner will be held on Fri 27 Jan 12 at Alanbrooke Barracks, Topcliffe. All ex-members of the regiment are most welcome to attend. BC 3/29 will be the dinner secretary and for more information, please initially contact the Mess Manager on 01845 59 5291 or by email to: [email protected] 26 Regt RA Association The next reunion of the 26 Regt RAA will be held on the weekend 2-4 Mar 12 at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. For more information call the secretary on 07792 976042 or visit the association website: 26thregra-asc.com FALKLANDS WAR 30th Anniversary Dinner The 30th anniversary of the Falklands War will be marked by an anniversary dinner for all serving and retired RA officers who served in the war in May-Jun 82. It is to be held at the RA Mess Larkhill on Fri 1 Jun 12. Please spread the word and contact the event secretary, Lt Col Peter Bates, by email to: [email protected] YOs’ Course Autumn 1961 A reunion lunch to mark the 50th anniversary of the YOs’ course held in the autumn of 1961 (RMAS Intake 27 + Mons) will be held in the RA Mess, Larkhill on Wed 25 Apr 12. The event will start at 1100 hours and ladies are warmly invited. Would any ex-YO who wishes to attend and has not been contacted please contact either Stuart Severs by e-mail: [email protected] orange.fr or Nigel Bladon by telephone on 01300 341375.

to place your notice here contact 01980 634204

Calling all Commando Gunners • Plymouth, 20 - 22 July 2012 • Music of the Night, Friday 20 July followed by a full weekend of reunion celebrations • Special rates for Music of the Night tickets for Commando Gunners available until 17 October

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4/73 (Sphinx) Special OP Bty is recruiting now! Vacancies for gunner to sergeant Next STA patrol course starts soon

• For further information visit www.commandogunner.com For more information ask your battery clerk for: DIN - 2009DIN-01-155 or contact the recruiting officer direct LATEO on: 94731 5636, 01748 875636

Livery Yard in Everleigh (SN8 3EU)

• Full or Part Livery vacancies (includes all facilities) • Secure American Barn Stables • Outdoor School (flood lit) (also available for hire for non liveries) • XCountry Course (also available for hire for non liveries) • Horses available for loan • Regular XCountry, Jumping and Dressage Clinics – ring for details • Horse Transport available • Easy access to both RA and Tedworth Hunting Country

Mobile: 07990 571463 Landline: 01264 852674 Email: [email protected] Website: www.everleighequestrian.co.uk

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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competitions

The closing date for all competitions in this month’s edition is Friday, 20 January 2012. The winners will be drawn at random and notified as soon as possible. Don’t forget to fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Spot the difference

To win this high quality horse hair boot brush set, kindly donated by GarrisonPRI.co.uk, all you have to do is spot the five differences in the photos above, fill in the form below and send your answers to The Gunner. Please tick which competitions you are entering. Then fill out all your details and send it to us Gunner Publications, HQ DRA, RA Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 8QT.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

Spot the difference Wordsearch

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Name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tel:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Email:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Address: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......................................... .......................................... Last month’s winners were: Spot the Difference: D Drinkwater, Wiltshire wordsearch: Mr Richard Bond

The Gunner wordsearch

Which one of the words associated with Christmas listed below does not appear in the wordsearch? The words may be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, forwards or backwards. Solve the puzzle and you could win a copy of A Scattering of Ashes as featured below. B

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TINSEL CRACKER SANTA RUDOLPH PRESENT HOLLY SHANDY

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TURKEY PARTY DECORATIONS TREE BRANDY CANDY SNOW

ICE MINCE CHIPOLATA TRIFLE ICING CHIMNEY IVY

Scattering of Ashes – Tales from the Frontline England to Afghanistan is a collection of 16 short stories, mostly drawn from personal experience, written by Sgt Craig Douglas, a Gunner NCO, was been writing stories since he was a child. Now approaching the end of his military career Craig writes: “It’s been a privilege to have served with some outstanding people… The characters in the book are perhaps stretched to extremes [but] you always get a bad apple in a basketful...” a statement that sets the tone for an unusual but entertaining book. Many of the stories are amusing, and will appeal to younger, still serving members of the regiment. This book does contain some strong language and if you are of a sensitive disposition it is probably not for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind a little humour and profanity go ahead and download a copy. You’ll enjoy it. This is an e-book not yet available in hard copy. It costs £2.99 and can be purchased on line at Apple; Barnes and Noble; Sony; Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store. Half the proceeds go to BLESMA. To win an e-copy of this book, please complete the wordsearch, fill in the form, and send us your answers.

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Neate ending

ollowing the news that 40 Regt RA will be placed into suspended animation next year, Maj Stuart Eaton sent me this month’s pictures and story, writes Lucy Neate. It was New Year’s Day 1991 when this now quite iconic photo of 40 Regt RA in the desert was taken. As the Unit Press Officer, Stuart, and his CO, Lt Col (later Col) Rory Clayton, were keen to remind everyone that the UK force did not consist solely of armour and infantry. Stuart arranged for a divisional photographer aboard a Lynx helicopter to take photos from the air of the regiment formed-up. “My vague plan was to assemble everyone to form the numerals ‘XL’, underlined by a row of officers,” Stuart told me. “What none of us first realised were the lengths to which the RSM, Harry Dean (pictured), had gone to make the photo look as professional as possible.” Clearly, if the regiment was going to do this they were going to do it properly! The RSM and his driver, using a L1A1 director,

tape and markers, painstakingly measured and plotted every row and column. This meant that every boot could be placed inch-perfect on to the sand. Furthermore, he measured markers for all the 24 guns and tracked vehicles in the photo so that they would perfectly frame the numerals. When the Lynx arrived Stuart managed to get Sgt John Gracie on board to act as an extra photographer. “The picture shown, taken by Gracie, is the pick of a large bunch,” remembered Stuart. “It is a key photographic memento of the regiment’s six months in the Gulf; just over three weeks later we were at war and eight weeks later 40 Regt’s guns led the Desert Rats through the breach.” If you would like to share some of your memories of 40 Regt RA, just like Stuart has, please contact us here at The Gunner.

THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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THE GUNNER • DECEMBER • 2011

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