Your Memories of Shiny 7
Andy (Anderson) 3 Troop

Hello all, Imagine my surprise after finding a few names, then being passed on to Bob, being referred to this site and finding myself included in three of the photo's, one of them laying on my pit strumming a 12 string. Must say from the start that I will definitely would love to attend Ripon, I see so many faces and names on the site which I recognise from my days of living in a drunken haze (Milk Bar/Belfry) Just like to mention a few incidents to see if anyone else remembers or was involved. Firstly, was it Eric Elgie who instigated the mock assassination in Osnabruck town centre one Saturday after a lunchtime session in the Belfry? Who was the other individual who, along with me, nicked two push-bikes to get back to bridge-camp after England had won the world cup, remember the Squadron being given the afternoon off to watch it in the beer tent, the two bikes were then brought back to Osnabruck and thereafter used to ride off the diving boards into the swimming pool. The end of exercise in Bardufoss when everybody, in the tented camp, got the runs and S/sgt Woods didn't make it to the loos, stood legs akimbo and did it in his PJ's, the same exercise when on our return to camp, all the liquor had been sold to the Norwegians so cigarettes were bought, packs of 200, and sold to the Norwegians, with my stash I thought it would be a good idea to get a fresh Reindeer skin, salt it, wrap it up and on our return to Osnabruck, still wrapped, took it to a large store to the fur dep't, opened it to ask if they would cure it etc. and nearly emptied the store with the stink, the trip to Denmark when we were told "no civvies" as there would be no time off but a change of mind saw us into a four tonner and off to Copenhagen one afternoon dressed in No 2's, what a result that was. Did anyone else go on a skiing course, dressed in green "waterproof " combats, learned nothing but we all "passed" and were let down the proper slope, chaos. Ripon and the arrival of the Squadron in APC's, the invasion of the college and along with Andy Jackson, a bunch of us were married within the year, Andy, does your wife remember a Pam Butler, now Pamela Anderson (I wish) and now with two grown up kids and four grandchildren, how time flies. I look forward to seeing some of you guys again even if you do try to avoid me...

Alan Morton: Hello Andy Anderson ex 3 Troop.

I say that because we had an Andy Anderson in 2 troop, nice to hear from you, I can well remember the prank regarding the shooting and throwing the body in the car boot somewhere in Neumark, near the Milkbar, Eric Elgie and Tony Rountree were involved with one other I can't remember. Very funny at the time until the Osnabrucker Politzei started looking for for the car and the 3 of them. The day of the 1966 world cup is still very fresh in my mind in particular the beer tent at Hameln bridging camp, Iam sure that after the game the CO banned everyone from going into the town, didnt stop people from going to the Gast House 2 fields and a ditch away. Great memories, also seem to remember you playing in goal against the Norwegians at Bardufoss, can't remember the score though.
Anybody out there know what happened to Eric Elgie, Tommy Richardson or Geordie Blair.
Regards Alan Morton
Andy (Anderson): 3 Troop

Just another memory,,, Shortly after the exercise in Denmark, three or four of us decided to pay a return visit so we got a weeks leave, stocked up on essentials (ciggies and spirits) and duly set off, the car was a black taxi type Merc which overheated and siezed some distance from Hamburg, it was towed in and scrapped and we spent the week in Hamburg which was a bit of an eye opener for someone just turned eighteen and returned by train. Was anyone here in that car because for the life of me I just can't remember who the other guys were.
Hi Alan:

Yep i remember that band. I'm sure Joe played the drums in it. Remember when they played at a "smoker" in the gym, i'm almost sure it was the gym. Anyway, BFBS were there to record a quiz for transmission, between 2 teams, but everyone got so drunk and so loud they had to scrap the recording . It was a helluva night!! Tommy Richardson could really belt out Little Richard numbers, could nt he.
Regards Hank
Alan Morton:

Hi George and Hank,
I remember well Pete Whittle in particular his Hank Marvin specs, you are right George that he was a better runner than a skier, was in the cross country team and almost put me into retirement because he was that good. In regard to the drummer and bands I dont know if any one can remember the band set up by Wingnut Thompson on lead guitar, Donny Neilson rythm guitar and Tommy Richardson singing, can't remember who the bass guitarist was or the drummer, could it have been Joe Mc Cully. Spoke to Donny Neilson the other night and forgot to ask him about the band.Will contact him again. Also spoke to Michael Field yesterday, was famous for playing the trumpet and collecting coke bottles, anybody remember him?.
REgards Alan.
Hi George

Congrats on the site, really good, sure brought back some memories. Call sign one two was my old wagon and i had a few commanders, among them Ted Lowbridge, and that little "maggot" corporal, cant remember his name,but he called everyone maggot, and he later transfered to the Green Jackets, which is where he came from in the first place, i think. I was also on that first apc course with the London Fusiliers in early ' 66 before our Sqn got their mahines. Later i was to go to B echelon and a nice new shiny Stalwart. Great times they were.
I remember when the sqn moved back to Ripon, I was tailend charlie to a small convoy of sqn vehicles, driving a ferret, with Fred Geary up top. He'd gone to sleep, when we all crashed on black ice. it was early in the morning on the way to Bremerhaven. Total mayhem ensued, even the Polizei car that appeared to sort us out, crashed. The ferret went down over an embankment and landed on its side. I reckon we were lucky, especially Fred. The next convoy caught us up, amongst them was LAD, they recovered us and off we went again, just managed to catch the ferry with a very sick ferret. It didnt make it to Ripon, it did about 10 miles in the uk and conked out in a village. A farmers wife brought us out tea and buns. Good ol' northern hospitality!!
2 names for your nominal role, Fred Sharp and Walter "Jock" Scott. both came to 1 troop in ' 66. Jock was a PTI. Hope i have nt bored you too much with my ramblings
Best wishes Hank

Jimmy Rutter:

Donny, do you remember when we went on leave to the UK in your VW Beetle and the accelerator cable snapped and you used a bit of string, I think. Whatever it was you still managed to get us home.
Ray Rogers:

reference your last message regarding the bridge project in Keilder I remember a few incidents well:
Digging a hole for the latrine was paid for with a crate of ale per foot dug. My complaints about not having a shower led to me being ordered to make one from wriggly tin with holes in made by hammering a nail through.
Beating the 3 Tonner back to camp after a night out to get to the cook house with Amos and Dave Biram to raid it to make mushroom omelettes, when we were sick of them we made mushroom sandwiches and when we had enough of them we ate mushrooms on there own. Due to a flap back in Ripon over missing petrol Bernie Lane urgently brought records up to date in Keilder, even recording fuel used by plant without an engine.
Dave Biram was despatched to Ripon late one day in the tipper to drop a load of sand at the home of the troop 2IC (I think). Due to the heavy load and the ageing tipper Dave became increasingly frustrated at the crawl speed and on several hills reversed to the side and tipped part of the load. Later the officer questioned Dave why there was not much more than a barrow full delivered to his house. Dave can you confirm or deny the story?
Who remembers which driver lost control and crashed a tipper going downhill on a forest track?
Jock Bruce:

George thanks for the welcome I spent a good time with shiney 7. I cant remember the poem I wrote . I did write a bit of poetry for a few of the guys to send to their girlfriends but I cant remember the Sqn one?
I have a lot of memory's though. Who remembers when the clown let the hand brake of the Bedford on Hameln Hill. It hit the Naffi Store if it had gone the other way it could have killed a lot of us?

I remember that 3 tonner running away. It was a sick motor, and Taff Norris had nursed it all the way to bridge camp. He nearly cried when it ran away. Dont know who left the brake off, though. Dont think it was Taff.

Andy (Anderson):
I remember the incident with the runaway Bedford, I think a lot of crazy things were done at Bridge Camp, I got bust on return to Osnabruck because of some carry on, can't remember exactly what but it was drink related, and I am still trying to find out who carried me down to the bottom of the hill in my sleeping bag, starkers so I had to hop all the way back up the darned hill, and P.T. running down and back up said hill.

Frank Hannaway:

Andy, your talk of running up hills reminded me of pre Norway training. Before breakfast, running and speed walking to the old slate quarry, pressups etc then down again and back to camp, we used to do a lap of the running track just to show off. I remember you and I trying to get to the top before everbody else so we could have a quick puff at the top.
I also remember someone going arse over tit down the quarry, he had his SLR slung over his shoulder and it acted like a vaulting pole evrey time it hit the ground, cant remember his name, I'm sure he was a Greek guy???

Dave Biram:

I remember the night I slept with "Dirty Den from East Enders", well not literally that would be hideous, in the same room. I was asked if I wanted to go Skiing I had only been in the troop a short time wow what a skive I thought why has no one else been asked? There was a guy new boy at that time from HQ troop, Jock Donald who, at the time was a Cpl ,and a nother Jock, think Percival. We were told to get the gear together white combats, furry hats, SLR why had the penny not dropped by then? It was a winter warfare course at Silberhutte in the Harz mountains. We arrived on a train like the ones which went to Auswich, the RMPs and Alsatians met us at this railway sidings and marched us up to this mill sort of place where there were floors full of bunk beds and literally hundreds of guys from all corps and regts and ranks. I endured 5 days of misery those who knew me well then, can vouch for the fact that I did not take easily to hardship of any sort. On the 6th day we had to pull this bloody sledge thing piled high with kit. We were people who 4 days before had never put a ski on our feet . When I say skis, they were more like lengths of 4x2 sharpened at one end and waxed with cookhouse fat. Jock Donald says Biram you w***er go at the front so off we go at the first hill the sledge ran away and ran over the top of me knackering my ankle. I was sent To BMH and joy, oh joy honourably RTUd from the course. That night I lay in the separate ward cum transit accom in BMH thinking about my fellow skiers in their bloody snow holes, when there was such a racket outside the room and into the room comes this guy with 2 RMPs and they get him into bed and guard him all night the following morning I am leaving no one has spoke hardly. except mind your own business They eventually explain that he is suspected of shooting a Taxi driver in Osnabruck and has been brought there to have some tests to see if he is well or whatever, sane I suppose. I get back eventually to the camp and Taxis are driving every where circling barracks as they know this guy is a squaddie.It was not until he became famous in East Enders and I read a story in one of those mags you pick up in the doctors to avoid looking at the other people, that I realised it was him. He did an acting course in Prison and then got a part in East Enders think he was in one of the fusilier regts up the tank road. So when I see him on TV its my party piece" slept with him"
Dave Biram:

Hi Jim good to hear from you. Yes I remember the tailor I am still wearing the suit. Do you remember the German Barber titch ? who used to have a shop left of the guard room. He also used to rent radios at 1 Dm per week. When he used to come around for the money we used to hide in the bogs. 25 Pfennings each but they were hard days that was a cup of tea or 25% of a Naffi Pie.

I remember the sqn tailor too. He and another had a room on the ground floor, which was stacked with piles of uniform and civvies. Titch the barber was a real miser. We used to get hair cuts on credit. He kept a book with names and amount owed. Sometimes he'd argue with guys over the amount owed. When the guy came around on a Friday for his radio rental money, like Dave said, we used hide in the bogs and someone would tell him, oh he's on a course, scheme or leave. It was quite funny. I don't think he made any profit on the radios.

Jimmy Rutter:

On my 21st Birthday I had a suit made. It was in the style of the Beatles era. I went out on the beer to celebrate my birthday and came back with a boiler suit on. Never did see my suit again. (must have been a great night)

Jimmy Rutter:

I saw Brummie Crawford about five years ago, he was working in Barclays Bank in Sittingbourne Kent. He moved back to Birmingham, not before he gave me some financial advice. It was good to see him, he hasn't changed much.

Dave Biram:

Hi Jim, are you sure he was working there and not robbing it? Its Funny I remember you having that suit, as it was way ahead of its time Baor at that time most of the people I saw when I arrived had Teddy Boy gear still or had come from Far east and were wearing silk shirts that would have been ok on a hol in Hawaii. Think people like Jonah and Amos, 2 tp broke the mould regarding dress. Of course there was flower power I remember going up to Denmark on ex and we went by train .Bernie was raging as most of us( well three actually) had gone into the flower power thing, he kept telling us to grow up. Behind his back we would mutter" Peace man"
Jimmy Rutter:

Brummie gave me some rough advice before he disappeared. He was the financial advisor for Barclays Bank. I am still feeling the fallout from that. (just joking)
Dave Biram:

Alan Do you remember writing to that girl for me ? Verziung fur nict su zur glieht Screiben aber ich haben zur viel arbeit. (Spelt wrong)
The monster from Melle we called her from a small village outside Osnatraz .Jock Parks and I met these two birds in the 99 Club. She was like a horse and we would take them back home for "COFFEE" without even the slightest idea how to get back to camp. They lived in this mansion, never saw anybody in the house I always thought we were secretly being filmed for some porn movies or recruited for the Russians. Not that it ever stopped me drinking the COFFEE.

Dave Biram:

2 tp, Andy Anderson coming back from Town with only a shirt underpants and socks shoes on after leaving ina suit that evening He had to climb over the fence and got entangled in the wire. He could not remember what had happened to him We all took the P*** saying he had been B***d as always took it in good "spirit" which was probably why he couldn’t remember where his clothes were in the first place.

Dave Biram:

Chicken and Chips in the Wooden Spoon Neumart. I always fell asleep in mine as it was past my bedtime and was legless. Pete Briggs would say wake up we are going as we got out of the door they would all start running what’s up? we haven’t paid. We would be back in there a month later how come they didn’t recognise us maybe we all look the same !!! Waking up with a half eaten half chicken in your bed, ketchup or senf everywhere, sign of a great night.

Alan Morton:

Memories about the tipper at the bridge construction in Kielder Forest are flooding back, Lt Thomas gave me the job of sorting out sand & gravel, found a quarry very near Rothbury about twenty miles away. The road was full of steep up's and down's, the tipper had dodgy brakes, dodgy engine and dodgy drivers at times, can't remember who was driving when the brakes failed and it went sailing straight through a dry stone wall into a field. Yes happy days unless you were the one told to go for sand in that particular tipper. You might recall I had an old Zundapp Bella scooter that ran very well on locally mixed army 2 stroke, or at least that's what Andy (John) Anderson said when he borrowed it to go back to Ripon one weekend. he got stopped by the police at Ripon and they gave him a note to produce licence, insurance etc, I had to go to the police station and tell them he had just been posted to Singapore for the next 3 years. He didn't have a licence or insurance. Never told lies in my life, honestly guv.

Alan Morton:

Most of you will remember the day Pete Briggs was training to drive a 432, came round the corner from MT yard towards the back of the 7sqn block in Osnabruck, he was going to the naffi for tea break, however he didn't stop and swung round smashing into 3 or 4 cars parked behind our block, he didn't enjoy naffi break filling in an FMT3.

Does anyone know where Jerry Heap ended up? Is he still alive? It would be interesting if he turned up.
Andy (Anderson :

Sammy, he would be about 110 years old now, wonder if he would still be spitting in your face when he was bollocking you with his nose one inch from yours?

Dave Biram:

Yes Jerry Heap what a character, but I can say he was one of the best SSMs I ever had. I remember the little 1 Ton truck he used to go around in, on schemes. He and the Sqn Barman at that time cant remember his name now. It was his way I think, of seeing everyone. If he had not got the mail, rolls and chocky bars I am sure you would not have had a line of sappers waiting to see him. I was 18 and he must have been late thirties early forties so he must now be 44 years on, between 80 - 85, he just looked old to us then. I cant remember what happened to him did he leave the Army ? Did he get RSM? Anyone remember ? I remember the next one Ken Clouter, a Canadian guy he was a nightmare of an SSM gave me 4 days ROPs for wearing gaiter elastics.

Ron Wakeford:

Yes it is me again and thank you for your prompt Email, yes I am really looking forward to going to see the lads again as I often think of 7 field sqn in my life after all it was the best part of my life as I was only 18 when I went to Osnabrucker, I arrived there on the 1-9-66 and I will never forget it until the day I die as for the first 6 weeks nobody was overly friendly and kept themselves to themselves until one day after work I was laying on my bed (I shared a room with Taffy Norris, Mick Peters, Tony rountree and ????) He always peed in his locker when he got pissed. Anyway 1 was laying on my bed feeling sorry for myself wondering what the Fxxx am I doing here as nobody is talking to me, when all of a sudden the door burst open and Elgie, taffy Norris,Tony Rountree, Kev Ella & Dave? Isherwood and a few others carried me to the showers, which as you know were upstairs next to the belfry, where the rest of M.T Troop were waiting with a cold bath of water black boot polish and proceeded to strip me and polish my old fella and nuts, under my arm pits and then threw me into the water and scrubbed me with bass brooms until I was red then carried me into the belfry and got me so pissed I shit the bed and spewed and I was told that I fell down the first flight of stairs and dented the locker that was on that flight of stairs that kept the brooms, mops etc. Next morning on muster parade, I felt like SHIT and Billy Radbron, ( I swear knew about it) said Sapper Wakeford what happened to you, you look like shit and I replied " nothing Sir, had a good night that's all" ( my initiation I was told after) and I believe as I did not doubt anybody from that day, I was accepted into the Squadron (BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE) and I remember the imitation of Tony Draper when all The M.T got hold of him and put him into a palliasse and threw him into the swimming pool that was covered with ice. That was on the right hand side of 7 squadron building. Anyway I could go on and on with this, as I have so many memories that I could fill a book. As to Gingers question about the shoothig in Osnabrucker city. It was Elgie (with his Black Opal Capitan) Paddy Murry ( Victim shot with a starter pistol by Tony Rountree) Taffy Norris (helper to throw Paddy into the boot of the car with one arm hanging out) and yours truly ( the one to start a fake argument in the street) as we were all dressed in black exept a white tie, we were all caught in the brocky shop that was just outside the camp by the M.P's and taken to their barracks where Paddy showed them the burn mark on his shirt and belly. All we got done was 10 quid each, but boy what a laugh.
All the best Ron.
Dave Biram:

I still have nightmares about laying those bloody concrete mines with the tin lids on them. I remember one scheme laying thousands. That bloody mine train dragged along by dozer with the mines coming out of the back of the bedford ,down the shute armed sometimes and into the ground. Maj Crawford and the SSM coming and digging some up to check out if they were armed and they were not, so S/Sgt Phil Langley got a bollocking and we were sent to dig them up again and arm them. Worst was picking them up walking along with a shovel RE passing them up into a bedford till your arms were dropping of. "Happy days" then at end ex spending weeks in CPTS trying to hand them back putting the lids on, cleaning them, finding the fuses which where never there when you drew them out. I think the Bar minelayer was invented by a pissed off, ex minelaying sapper. what a relief to know that you were not going to dig up the mines after ex. Cardboard was much kinder to the hands than concrete.

Dave Biram:

Hi all on the hanging .Charlie Halling was the guys name Brummy Crawforsd had been giving Charlie a hard time for weeks. So Amos, NAP Napolean Fransois Jones or Johna, and myself devised a little plan we as Morty says hung charlie in trap 1 from the floor above sewer pipe. Once the guy was there looking suitably hung i banged on Brummies door opposite shouting Brummie Charlie has hung himself.Brummie was not going to be flapped and open the door saw Charlie swinging in the first trap ,pace quickens then rips open trap door expecting to see charlie stood on seat, which he isnt grabs charlie by legs lifts him with one arm and removing jackknife starts to try and saw through lashing . He is shouting at us to help but we are on floor lauughing when charlie goes Coo wee in Brummies ear he smashes him in face we are now beside ourselves and Brummy punches me and NAP but Amos is now at other end of corridor 1Troop i say the Vietnam Hero crumbles to receive another punch in face from Brummie who has now retired to his room we cut Charlie down and go for a beer.
Bill Bruce

I remember when I first arrived at Shiney 7 only to be told to GO AWAY I DID NOT BELONG
Let me start at the beginning I had just passed out from SEME Bordon as the typical 3rd class VMB (E) so proud and told I was posted to Germany and a place called Osnabruck.
I was over the moon. 7 Field Sqn was on my posting order and I was given a rail ticket and flight details and off I went. I remember I had to stand almost all of the rail journey but who cared. I arrived at Luton Airport and got my flight. I thought flying was great you were given your own seat I had been told by our postings clerk that someone from my new unit would be there to meet me when the plane arrived in Germany.
The plane arrived in RAF Gutersloh and they managed to peel my nose off the window as I had been looking out with so much intensity (Ha Ha). This was my second foreign country since joining up ( England being my first ) for a lad who had never been further than Glasgow this was a great adventure. We got through customs and picked up our luggage I got outside the airport but there was nobody waiting for me. Luckily for me a RAF Cpl said I should go over to the waiting buses . I saw one marked Osnabruck I asked how much it cost as I was skint. I was told in no uncertain terms to get my arse on board as it was free and I was holding up the bus. I could not keep my eyes from looking out the window at the German houses just outside the airport. A guy on the bus said my unit would probably have someone at the bus stop .
Sure enough there was transport for most of the guys on the bus but every time I asked if it was for me I was told no. I was left on my own hoping that I had not missed my transport at the airport. I saw a guy in uniform and when I asked him if he knew of a 7 field sqn he said they will probably be in Roberts Bks a couple of mile from here. He gave me directions so off I went lugging my full army suitcase. Apart from the blisters on my hands the only other memory of the journey was crossing a canal bridge and wondering if I should jump in to cool down.
I finally reached the front gate of Roberts Bks after being checked in was told that most of the Div including 7 Sqn was out on exercise what ever that was (boy was I to find what that was over time) I was then told the Sqn block was the far side of the square which I had to lug my suitcase round and not across. It was with some relief I first walked through the swing doors into the office section.
I saw a cpl who asked what I wanted I replied I was Craftsman Bruce and I have been posted here. I was told to wait he went off. after what seemed an age the Chief Clerk came out . He said we are not expecting any new REME wait there. another half hour passed. He came back out and said NO YOU ARE NOT POSTED HERE. You must be posted to 7 FLD Ambulance I will give them a ring Wait There.
It seemed no more than 10 minutes and in came this REME Sgt I cant remember his name he asked if I was a REME VM. When I said I was you would have thought I was his long lost son. He told me that he had been applying to our records for a fitter but had heard nothing. My posting orders must have been lost but never mind. He then lifted my suitcase and kept on saying sorry for my journey. We drove to his office he then made me coffee and organized a bunk in their block for me. (My own room great). He showed me where the cookhouse and naffi was and told me to meet him next day at his office in my own time.
Next morning I went over to his office he had sorted a desk out for me and told me that we had it pretty easy as no one bothered. I thought I was in posting heaven it was the middle of the afternoon that my bubble burst . They had found my posting orders at 7 Field Sqn RE I DID BELONG TO THEM. I had to move back. I remember I moved into a transit room with a couple of RE guys who had arrived. We were told we would not be going out on excersize but would be found jobs . I was handed a brush and told to help the guys outside .
That was when I first thought JOIN THE ARMY AND SEE THE WORLD JOIN SHINEY 7 AND SWEEP IT. This rang true for the next 4 years. Still I enjoyed it.
PS I have enclosed a photo of me and the love of my life my granddaughter Kayleigh
Frank Hannaway 3 troop

I was on APC training with 3 or 4 others and had driven up to Dummersee, I always thought it was Barry Makin in charge but Joe Carney may be right when he says he thinks it was Chris Ellis, it sounds like the kind of thing he would do. We were opposite the civilian yacht club and decided it would be a good idea to drive across the pond and have a drink, with a bit of tottie spotting as a bonus. Barry (or Chris) said that some of the lads had walked across before so we could drive across the same route without putting up the flotation screen. I can’t remember who was driving but I was commanding, we drove across slowly without any water getting in though it was a bit close. When we got near the other side Barry (or Chris) took over and decided to come out up a little beach at the side to avoid our wash bumping the yachts together. What we didn’t know was that the locals had excavated near the shore to create a deeper area for swimming. I can’t remember who was driving but I'll never forget the look on his face as he accelerated to get up the beach, the nose dipped suddenly and a large bow wave swept over him. He got tangled in his earphone cables and after a short panic scrambled out. The engine conked out pretty quickly, we were only a few yards from the shore and climbed on top after making sure we salvaged any important items (cigarettes and matches).
LAD arrived later and proceeded to get the recovery vehicle bogged in. A second wagon was sent for and eventually recovered the APC and the first vehicle. It was the first time an engine and transmission had been removed in the field and a large group of officers and senior NCOs were watching. While they removed the power pack we were made to clean the outside.I threw a bucket of water at the mortar tubes, missed and drenched the SSM.
I did what any real soldier would have done and legged it into the woods, when I came back some time later they had all gone. we returned to camp and I expected to be made to suffer for the rest of my time in 7, I never heard any more about it and to this day I don’t know how I got away with it.

David Biram:

Stalwart Incidents continued. We went to Scarborough for a sig course end of course exercise.It was two weeks and in the middle weekend Doughy Baker said right you can do what you want so guys cleared off in the Rovers, Ferret and I had 2 tp Slalwart. We went to Robin Hoods bay and decided to go into the sea I cant remember who was with me.We drove down a beach and started swimming around, we hit a few sand bars and drove half out of water half swimming .We turned for the beach and there was about a hundred people watching from the beach and two police cars waiting .We drove out and parked on the beach and pretended to do post swimming checks .The police came down the beach and started to interview us. I thought shit.Turned out one was ex mil and he was interested in the Stalwart, we said we were on Ex and had permission to swim but thought we may have entered wrong place. They knew we were on a jolly and said ok guys off you go before the bloody local rag turns up,we departed rapid.On the way back i missed the turning so decided to go over this bit of moorland and got bogged in I had to give the farmer 200 litres petrol to winch me out with his tractor .What a day, everyone who came back had been in some scrape or other.

Bob Blakey

I cannot tell a lie, stalwart instances were me. Also swam it at Lake Windermere, never made it to the island , the hydraulic piston on the accelerator packed in.

Ray Rogers:

Here is another quiz question. Webmaster may not answer. Who had to take a stalwart to Catterick garrison to compare its performance against that of one modified for fire engine duties? And another: Who was the driver of a stalwart at Lancaster's camp on the River Lune who had to take the vehicle in to the river from a few feet drop amidst advise of 'take it in fast and it will belly flop and float ok' and 'take it very slowly and just rock it over the edge into the river'? In the end did about half and half and went fast enough to dump many gallons of water through the open top hatch. And another one: Who was the driver who in Germany was turning a stalwart around in a sandy track with banks either side and got it stuck across the track with a broken drive and had to have it lifted out by helicopter? Finally: Who was the driver who was such a professional he would reverse for miles using mirrors only and refusing anybody to guide him?

Bob Blakey

Remember the Catterick contest against the RAF Fire engine. Very steep entrance from the river bank into the fast flowing river. Thought the nose was never coming up, water right up to the top of the windscreen, before it leveled out. then had trouble fighting against the upstream current on full revs, very scarey.The exit route was also very steep, I think I had to get assistance from a 432 to get out. No way the fire engine would have made it with a full load of water. I think the idea was scrapped.
David Biram:

Morty we spoke about your last BAOR exercise from Ripon.We had no Recce SGT so you were given the job and I was your driver.We came into the harbour area and you backed me down a firebreak which connected to a track slung camnets over front to hide ferret from rest of troop. About 9pm when things were quiet we started ferret and backed down firebreak to track and quietly drove off to a Guesthouse. We went inside and it was full of RCT drivers and we joined them for a beer or two and then a few more.The owners wife was very very atractive and we were dancing with her, think she had a fetish for oily coveralls .You were talking to the locals and got the info that she was a bit loose and to coin a modern phrase, 'up for it'. I was getting more dances than the others and we were getting on like a house on fire,with the added local knowledge I thought I am in here.As the night went on it only got better and when she came up to me and said I must go to bed now and kissed me on the cheek with just that lingering brush against the lips I thought, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man. I gave her 5 mins made my excuses to Alan and climbed the stairs. I found the room, entered, and shit, she lept out of bed naked, grabbed her dressing gown and started going mental. I reversed out of the door, cleared the stairs in three leaps and straight into the bogs. Calmed down and entered the bar where Alan was. Alan knew and said she had been down to speak with Husband so I say come on lets go. .We went outside and somehow got the ferret back to its position in the troop harbour area. We fell asleep laughing, and then in no time at all we heard the whistle going, STAND TO STAND TO,  we get out of the bivvy and shit, where is my SMG. Alan yes, I can't find mine either.We had left them in the Bar.We cuff 'Stand to' and then as quick as we could make an excuse we drive back to the guesthouse and wake them up. Er, Have you found anything in the bar? .No, Sure ? I will look on the coat stand, ah so, 2 x  SMGs, these yours? yes thankyou. Better not ask about the georgeous Helga.Otherwise he may keep the guns.

Alan Morton:

For Dave Biram, Re, the last exercise and forgotten (not lost) SMG's looked like we were going have to do some quick passing the buck and reported guns stolen, however your fairy godmother was again looking down on you. Yes we went back to find the SMG's, still under the coat stand. Re, the signals ex in Scarborough at the TA barracks. Remember going down to the beach to do some floatation training. I phoned up the local police to see if it was OK, reply, didn't see why not, everything went ok but couldn't seem to get the machines floating properly due to shallow water. Then as far as I can remember, some jobsworth from the council turned up and told us to get off the beach as we were contravening some ancient by-law. Can you remember the 2 nights we spent at the (night club) disco in those days named "Scene 1"? We picked up a couple of birds and went home with them, then came the fishy story, if you can't remember I will tell you about it later. Any way on the way back with the 432's we stopped of firstly at Kevin Ella's house and then at Jack Merrell's before going back to Ripon. Regards Alan.

David Biram:

Stalwart Incidents continued. We went to Scarborough for a sig course end of course exercise.It was two weeks and in the middle weekend Doughy Baker said right you can do what you want so guys cleared off in the Rovers, Ferret and I had 2 tp Slalwart. We went to Robin Hoods bay and decided to go into the sea I cant remember who was with me.We drove down a beach and started swimming around, we hit a few sand bars and drove half out of water half swimming .We turned for the beach and there was about a hundred people watching from the beach and two police cars waiting .We drove out and parked on the beach and pretended to do post swimming checks .The police came down the beach and started to interview us. I thought shit.Turned out one was ex mil and he was interested in the Stalwart, we said we were on Ex and had permission to swim but thought we may have entered wrong place. They knew we were on a jolly and said ok guys off you go before the bloody local rag turns up,we departed rapid.On the way back i missed the turning so decided to go over this bit of moorland and got bogged in I had to give the farmer 200 litres petrol to winch me out with his tractor .What a day, everyone who came back had been in some scrape or other.
Bob Blakey

I cannot tell a lie, stalwart instances were me. Also swam it at Lake Windermere, never made it to the island , the hydraulic piston on the accelerator packed in.
Norman Jones and Shiny 7

I wish you all ‘all the best’ as unfortunately I won’t be able to join you at the reunion. I have very fond memories of my time with you. I joined a bit before the time of the web site being posted in from 1st. Fortress Squadron Gibraltar in October 1963. Initially I was a section commander in 1 Troop sharing a room with L/Cpl. Ted Lowbridge and Cpl. Taffy Phelps one of the last National Servicemen in 7. At that time the Troop Commander was Capt. Parsons, Troop SSgt was Dicky Washbourn and Recce Sgt was Ray Vanplugh.  Between 1963 and 1969, when I left the squadron at Ripon, I was fortunate enough to be Recce Sgt 1 Troop, SQMS and Troop SSgt 3 Troop, a fair time with a lot of good memories.
Looking through the site many names and incidents come to mind.
A couple of names not seen are:
Terry Moffatt - initially a Cpl. In 3 Troop then, following a period in hospital, Sgt Mess Caterer.
Eddy Banks - L/Cpl. Cpl. With 2 Troop.
Ian Donald - Cpl. then Recce Sgt. 2 Troop, unfortunately killer in Northern Ireland
Chunky Bessant - Cpl. With 3 Troop.
Chunky met me as I got off the truck from Guterslow immediately asking three questions:
Did I play rugby? - yes.
Did I shoot? - yes
Could I fit a browning to a ferret - No. Good come with me and I’ll show you!
The other incident I remember with Chunky was during a Squadron Bridging Gallop. In those days Cpls built Bailey Bridges, S.Sgts watched with a critical eye. I arrived at Chunky’s site to collect the bridge to see him marching smartly across the bridge in front of the lead tank. Being new to the game I asked him what the parade was all about to which he replied ‘I’m 2 f---ing panels short. If that lot had finnished in the river I didn’t want to be at the Court of Enquiry’
Sammy Singleton - Ferrett driver 1 Troop.
Ken Lambert - L/Cpl 1 Troop and Orderly Cpl.
Brian Lloyd - Initially my section L/Cpl. then Cpl. 1 Troop. Brian led a conga from the Cpls mess in Roberts Barracks through the Sgts mess on the first night that Ian Donald and myself were their on promotion much to the upset of the RSM and Kenny Clouter who was then SSM.
Many memories, again I wish you all the best.
Message from Tony Boyd-Heron

Dear Ray,
Please forgive me for taking so long to reply to your email. I was excited to get it, have checked in to the web sites often and had a good laugh at some of the comments. I have also been racking my brains to remember what went on in Osnabruck all those years ago. Unfortunately I have no photos - when you move around as much as I did during 26 years in the Sappers, some things just have to get thrown out and of course as soon as you do, you regret it.
So, for the record (which again is subject to memory loss!), I arrived in Shiney 7 a little after Henry Day (1964?). We were on the same YO course, but because of an injury sustained playing rugby, I was back coursed. I joined 3 Troop and soon took it over from Mike Cooper when he became 2i/c of the Sqn.
My Troop Ssgt was Bill Woods. I don't remember my recce Sgt's name. Towards the end of my time Norman Jones took over as Tp Ssgt and Brummie Crawford became Recce Sgt.
One incident that other members of the Troop may remember was a deployment to RAF ? on the German/Dutch border to construct a 'quick release aircraft' hanger. The Troop had a Young Officer attached for the job called John Drevienkowitz (later to become Maj Gen), who was lovingly known as Snoopy (of Red Baron fame) because of his antics.
Anyway for the record I continued to serve until 1990 and then moved to the US where I am living on the Atlantic East Coast in a small town called Lewes, about a 2 hour drive from Washington and Philadelphia. My wife and I own an art gallery. We come back to England at least once every year to visit my children and grandchildren, but unfortunately we will be over in April, not May, on our next trip so I will not be able to make the reunion.
Best wishes to all in Shiney 7 and keep up the good work.
Tony Boyd-Heron
Peninsula Gallery
Spud’s memories from Jan 1963-June 1964

In 1962 I was a sad and angry 16 year old lad from the ‘sticks’. I’d left school at 15, no quals etc but with a desire to travel. I decided to take up farming and wanted to gain farm manager status so I could go and work in New Zealand. I got conned by a local farmer with various promises of college etc which all came to nothing. One Saturday I went to Lincoln with a mate and walking up Steep Hill I came across a sign in the Army Careers Office which stated, ’Join the Army and see the world’. That was it for me and by January 1963 I was on my way to Rhyl as a Junior Tradesman in the Res.

Memories from Rhyl 63-64: First night lying awake in my new bed, in a room with 15 other new guys, wishing I was somewhere else. Began to feel better when out of the darkness the sound of several young lads quietly sobbing. After that no probs. My troop sergeant was a tankie who had seen service in N Korea. Great bloke who really looked after and educated us. Nearly got killed in a road accident on final exercise, RCT Capt died, my first experience of death. Other peripheral memories include Abergele Nellie, the dance hall above Burtons where the Beatles had played. Helen Jones who was my first serious girlfriend. The girls finishing school across a road and the high wall.
Farnborough 64 Jan-May:  Combat Eng training. Really enjoyed this apart from the Geordie Cpl we had as a training NCO. What a thug he was and made life pretty grim when he was on duty. This was balanced out by another guy who did things the opposite. I think the Geordie was just finishing his NS or something. He got his come-uppence on end of course trip to London. Made the mistake of getting ‘bladdered’ and then two trainees battered him on the coach. He had them arrested on return to camp but the SSM let them out and then charged him instead.
By end of May 64 I had completed all the basic stuff and went off on leave for a couple of weeks. On return we were put into transit awaiting postings. I recall Mushie Turner and Les Hemingway and me going to the notice boards every day to see if we got postings to Singapore or other exotic spots we had put on our choices list.  Imagine our shock and horror when we saw we had been posted to 7 Ind Fld Sqn in some place called Osnabruck. Took us a while to figure where it was, exactly what we did not ask for.

First days with 7. A few days later 3 sprogs were collected from RAF Gutersloh and deposited at Roberts Bks in No1 Dress, with suitcase and kitbag. We were directed to the block and introduced to the duty clerk, an old lag, who I do not recall, who told the Sqn were away at some place called Hameln doing something called bridge camp. Clueless us!! We were shown to a room and given bedding etc and told that we would be doing duty clerk that weekend, this was Friday, and to decide who was ‘it’. We had to kip on the office floor and answer the phone, and fetch the duty NCO if it was something important. Luckily we did not get called as far as I remember. It meant that the lads on rear party got a few nights off.
Two other blokes who I think were ex-NS took us under their wing and explained the routine. Take life easy and load the truck on the Sunday morning then they would take us with them to Hameln. OK, couldn’t wait really as we wanted to escape the clutches of these lads who were clearly ‘blagging’ us to their advantage. Asked if we had any money with us, and like a fool I said I had about 80DM with me. I then found myself invited to visit the famous ‘snakepit’. Oh dear, bad mistake as I found myself with two stoney broke old soldiers who proceeded to get me so pissed that I recall, very vaguely, sitting on the floor in the showers trying to stop throwing up Herforder. Never drank that again!! Spent all next day as duty clerk feeling that I needed to find someone to wise me up, while I still had some money. Spent rest of time keeping out of the way of the two old soldiers.
Sunday and we went to Hameln. Nice weather and enjoyed the trip, Bought tea and ‘stickies’ at Minden for old soldiers. What a surprise!! Arrived and were placed in care of someone who stuck us in a tent with bedframes in it, UMMM. Collect mattress covers and then off to some building to stuff them full of straw to make a nice bed for ourselves and sleeping bags. Am I recalling this right, surely that was not what happened, was it??
Next day (Monday I think, almost totally sober now) and Squadron parade, very early. Me and the other new boys stood on side of square whilst motley crews 1,2 & 3 parade. Crapped self when Jerry Heap marched on and took parade and inspection by troopies. Then Troops at ease and he heads for us. Uncertain whether or not to run off crying but had to stay co s others just stood there. Me starting to develop a slight tremor in hand and eyes. Fear!! Then he arrives in front of Les and in a very pleasant tone asks for name and sends him off to I Troop. Mushie Turner next, again a note of kindness in Jerry’s voice as he asks for name and Mush gets 2 troop. I am thinking that this SSM seems a nice bloke after all.  Arrives in front of me comes up really close and through gritted teeth ‘I hear you are a bit of a pisshead Taylor, so you’d better go and join the rest of the pissheads in 3 Troop. At the double!! Off I went like a speeding bullet and fell in. Marched off and first parade with the real army was over.

Later that night: Jock has got me sorted after a day of working down on Wouldham Hard, was it? After evening meal he asks if I want to go for a beer. Good idea I thought and off we went to the beer tent. On arrival he asks how much money I have left. I tell him (slow learner). OK, this is how you get accepted by the boys in the troop. He pointed to a gang of rough looking blokes sat at a table with bottles everywhere, just buy a crate and take it over says Jock. I have enough for that and a few DMs left till payday. Seems I am now the hero of the hour as they are all on there uppers moneywise. Never had a problem in the troop after that and everyone seemed to have heard about the ‘snakepit’ incident. So the old soldiers not only got pissed on me they blabbed it to Jerry and got me into 3 troop, where I was very happy. Thanks lads if you are still out there.
Message from our OC Ripon (& then Hohne) - Miff Tuck

Dear Ray Rogers,
I was interested to get your letter about gathering 7 Sqn Old Comrades. I don't have the exact dates , but I must have taken over from John Alexander in Dec 69 and moved on in Dec 71. The days in Deverill Barracks Ripon were very happy ones for me and my family, and I think also for the squadron. We had a very good team , a large establishment to help cope with independence, a fairly free ride from our bosses in Osnabruck ( Lt Col Brian Reed - who I still keep in touch with ), and a good relationship with our neighboiurs in Claro Barracks . I won't be any help with names I am afraid , nor will I be able to come to any reunion in Ripon from these remote parts. However I am delighted to send greetings and good wishes to you all and particularly to any who served with me. So please post a message for me on the website.
I must admit that the latter part of our time was not so good with the bungled move back to Germany in April 71. It was a disgraceful mistake not to send us back to our own Regt in Osnabruck and the move to Hohne was not welcome to us or the regiment there. No quarters were earmarked and a lot of separation resulted. It was a battle to get accommodation for bodies or vehicles or anything. It was the only time in my service career when I was glad to get away !
I soldiered on till my 55th birthday when they kicked me out as a Colonel, with my last job as Defence Adviser in Nicosia, Cyprus which was a good way to end. We then moved back to our home in Aberdeenshire in the Cairngorms National Park where I manage the shooting estate and labour in the vegetable garden.
Good luck to you all,

Miff Tuck
Col F.M.K.Tuck

I served in the squadron from about 1964 to 1966. I joined as a subaltern. Brian Read was OC, Robin Plummer 2i/c. The other troopies were Mike French who left the army soon after, Dick Croft – short service, left and joined the NZ Engineers and Ian Guthrie. The SSM was Jerry Heap, a brilliant man. We kept in touch for years afterwards. He died a few years ago but his widow is still living at Rhine Banks in Farnborough. I had several of the field troops in turn with Brian Scott and Brian Jones amongst others as Tp Ssgt.
The Squadron was based in Roberts Barracks, Osnabruck but the officers lived with 12 Bde HQ in Quebec Barracks. We had a couple of jokes down there. The first concerned the tac sign of 12 Bde. This appeared on the place mats in the dining room and we kept a book to see how long before newcomers asked what this strange sign was. It was the 12th sign of the zodiac and the standard answer was it was f.a. crossed out – look it up and you’ll see what I mean!
The second concerned the main railway line that ran past the back of the barracks. The most enormous goods trains used to pass on this track. The joke was that when you broke off a conversation in order to count the wagons you had been there long enough.
Both the BM and DAAQMG of 12 Bde went on to become field marshals so we were in good company!
I served the full career to aged 55 then ran the corps Museum at Chatham for 10 years. Now retired retired, I am president of Chatham Rotary Club, a trustee at Fort Amherst and get invited to lecture on military history on the cruise ships.
Back to 7 Sqn. Each field troop supported an inf bn from 12 Bde. Whenever the bn went out they wanted us with them. We were part of 2 Div Engrs so we were out for their exercises. Add in the OCs schemes, bridge camp, Sennelager range camp and border patrols and we didn’t have much time in barracks.
Did my first diving course during my time there.
Perhaps enough for a first effort. If this is of interest will try to add more later.
Best wishes,
John Nowers
Memories from Chris Ellis

My earliest memory of Shiney would be arriving on the Sqn. (I think it was 21st) Dec 61. Just about everybody had gone home for Xmas. Even the Nashies were a bit thin on the ground. I’d fallen madly in love a couple of months earlier and was beginning to think I’d done the wrong thing. Again. A fairly reoccuring thing in my life to come. I cannot remember who the Sqn were a part of at that time, I seem to remember we were in transition from somwhere to 2 Div but I could be wrong. No 2 dress hadn’t been invented. As a matter of fact I think I was probably the last OR on the Sqn to be issued with them. Uniform wasn’t worn a lot where I was in Kiel so while ‘visiting’ the Sqn one time, and I think it was after I got married in 65, Dave Grimmley & I were fitted out at the same time. I’d got married in Feb 65 and I’d borrowed Norman Jones’s Blues, or No 1 dress, for that occasion. So there was only BD and denims in ‘61. The shoulder flashes on the Battledress were a yellow H. Some said it was a Chinese seven. Most people didn’t care one way or the other. The block was almost as far away from the one you were in as it was possible to be. If you came out the front door and turned right then walked the full camp, both parade squares, turned right you were outside the MT with the block on your left facing 65 Fd Pk. There was another parade square between us and 65 Fd Park. I knew a few people in both 7 & 65 so that got me through Xmas. As I said there were loads of Nashies around then and I took a fair bit of stick because I’d volunteered
for service and they would have done almost anything to avoid it. The other thing that made them different was that, as NS was coming to an end almost all, if not every one, of them had been deferred because they had been allowed to complete whatever apprenticeships they were doing before doing their ‘time’. As a result their average age would be 22 + which, at 18, is quite a gap. I have a problem remembering most of them but I do remember they all had a “Days To Do” chart inside their locker door, and the first thing they did when they got out of bed was cross a day off. It was common to hear one, p’d up, in the corridor shouting ‘ four and an early breakfast’. That would mean they had four days (not today, that was never counted. It was written off after getting up that morning.) and an early breakfast before being demobed. They would spend anything up to a week ‘booking out’. It was known as “clearance”. That is running around the different departments collecting signatures to say they had ‘cleared’ there and didn’t have anything on their signature so were free to go. Some could spin it out to two or three weeks if they were good at it. The early breakfast, which was booked as far in advance as the cook sergeant would tolerate, was because we travelled by train and boat then. The train left at some ungodly hour but, since you were going out you wouldn’t really care too much about the time and, truth to tell, most of them never went to bed the night before. There would be at least one ‘demob party’ going on somewhere on camp. The duty driver would take you down to Osnabruck Station where you got the train to either Hook of Holland or Calais. Effectively you were a civvy by then. Bear in mind that the duty driver was probably a Nashy himself, as was the cook who had got up at 4 to make the breakfast you probably could have managed without but it was almost a ritual rather than satisfying hunger, so there were a lot of tearful goodbyes. Not that they were sad to see you go, just p’d off because they weren’t going with you. The other thing that struck me was there were very few ‘wingers’ among them. They were all in the same boat and they just got their heads down and got on with it. Looking back they were, in general, very tolerant, and only
showed intolerance of the wingers. But of course they were both older and much more mature than us. The only name that comes to mind just now is Tom Graves or Greaves. A real gentle giant of a bloke from Kent. He’ll be at least 68 now. The last batch of Nashies were given an extra six months to do because the army numbers were running
down faster than the regulars were replacing them. I’m pretty sure it was applied to all three services. Four if you were a Marine. It caused a lot of ill feeling because all Nashies were given the opportunity of signing for an extra year when they were originally called up. If they chose to do that they were paid as regulars at about £5 a week. Whereas the two year Nashies only got about £1.35. I kid you not. So the ones who got the extra six months were well and truly p’d off. One of them borrowed a saw or an axe and chopped down just about every flagpole on the camp except the guardroom in one night. We had an admin parade one Saturday morning and it snowed from about midnight until two so another of them, a jock but I forget his name, got a shovel from the G10 and wrote “F..K THE ARMY” in 20 foot letters on the square so the red asphalt showed through the snow. Popeye came in about six and we were all out there with brushes and buckets of hot water and, by the scheduled time of the Admin parade, there wasn’t a flake of snow in sight. His (Popeye’s) hair was always cut (shaved) up to the line of his beret and the younger lads who were joining had brought a bit of Elvis or a touch of the
Beatles with them so there was always going to be a clash. A few of us, after trying him out with sideboards, without success, for a long time decided to grow the hair immediately under the eyes and after a couple of weeks were sporting the equivalent of a moustache under each eye. We knew it was winding him up but the GOC BAOR had similar ones (his photo had been on the front of a magazine at some time) so he wasn’t sure how to handle it. One morning he paraded the Sqn and worked himself
up to almost apoplexy and told us to remove the “F’ing frontboards until we reached the rank of General”. While at Southwood Camp, Cove, after training but before posting, there were lots of recruits from Fiji and the West Indies coming through. I guess mid to late 1961. I never met a coloured man who wasn’t a sprogg so I guess, prior to ‘61, there weren’t any. The Fijians suffered, probably, more than the WI’s. Some of them had never worn boots in their lives before, and back then we were using ammo boots.
Long before boots DMS with their variation on width fittings. With ammo boots you got the size you asked for and broke them in. I had a problem breaking ammo boots and I had worn clogs in the pit. God knows how they coped. It was much the same with uniforms. We were issued with (I think) 2 Battle Dress but if either fitted you it was more luck than judgment. The Fiji’s, in particular, were later to make their mark on the rugby field. They weren’t just RE of course. R Signals, REME etc all had their share
and very often you could turn up at a match to be facing a team with four or more Fijians in it. You could expect a thorough drubbing if they outnumbered yours. I learned some of my rugby techniques from them and used them, to good effect, until my last game in 1976. You would pick whichever BD which was closest to a good fit and use it for best (parades & guard duties etc.) the other was a step up from denims (duty driver etc.) Denims were worn for normal work duties unless you were an office wallah or some such then you used the 2BD. Some of the ‘old hands’, usually re-enlisted Nashies, showed us how to bull boots and shave our best BD. We had a bloke called Fred Horne, 6’ 4’’ ish, ramrod straight back, (I saw his obituary a couple of years ago. He’d died in The Chelsea Hospital & I contacted his family to offer my condolences) who had done his NS in the Lifeguards and boy, did he know how to bull boots. I met him a few years later on the rugby field when playing in a divisional tournament. At the first line out he laid me out cold. He was the first to buy me a beer when we got in the bar afterwards though. The ammo boots were covered in dimples, including the toe caps, so we would use the handle of a fork or spoon, heated on a candle, to iron or flatten them out. The real trick was to make sure both boots were done evenly or you would end up wearing odd boots!! If you
got carried away on one boot after a couple of hours it would look great and then, just as you were going to grab a pint before the NAAFI shut, you’d realise you had to do the other to match and you would be there until the early hours. It was like a breath of fresh air when boots DMS arrived because their toe caps were already flat and the leather in general was much softer. Also they had S M & L width fittings. Oh bliss. For many years after I left the army I went to a shop, locally, who I’d found selling ‘recycled’ DMS. They were all piled up in the back room of the shop, most of them ‘connected’ by their laces, so, since they were alkl the same price, if you could find a pair that had been in the guards rather than REME or RE they would have had more polish than work and you got a good pair. Shaving the BD (or ginger suits as we often refered to them) effectively made the material thinner so that a better, sharper, crease could be achieved. I’ll be honest here and tell you that one of the greatest attractions of diving, for me, was the uniform. It was made of rubber and we hosed them down after work. The boots were built in.I see you refer to “The Para Gate” at Cove. I’ve often heard sproggs use the expression before and none of them knew why it was so called. Since you, officially, fit into that group I’ll tell you. When I arrived in March 61 9 Sqn occupied that end of Southwood Camp. I don’t know how long they had been there but to us young recruits it was like being visited from above if you passed one on camp. They rarely
mixed with the rest of the camp other than, perhaps, in the Kinema. You never saw them in the NAAFI or even NAAFI shop. They were, by definition, much older than us anyway because you had to be 21to apply for a pre para. They moved up to Crookham Common later that year. I was in 28 Trg Sqn so we were immediately adjacent to them. We were not allowed to use that gate at any price. They had their own guardroom by the gate and their own cookhouse. The rest of the camp, all recruits and
permanent staff, used the other. Sometime just after I’d joined they had a bit of a ‘do’ over the quality of the food and kicked off in their cookhouse. The interior was just about written off with cooks scattering to all four corners of Southwood and beyond. Tables, chairs and plates complete with food remnants were left piled up neatly in about 5% of the room and the rest was bare. The OC found the ringleaders, about 50 of them, and they were to be seen from 0500 to 2100 either going around the assault course
or drilling in full battle gear, including tin hat & rifle, on any square that happened to be vacant. They really gave them some stick. Years later I watched the film “The Hill” and it was like an action replay.I’m sure whoever directed that film had been in 9. A few years later I served with a bloke called Paddy “Piggy” Jay. The middle part of his nose was missing, he said, as a result of a catching a skimming plate with his nose in that ‘fracas’. I don’t know if you ever met Piggy Jay during your service but he was a very easy to remember character. Short, squat hard as nails, gingerish hair to balding and the only frogman I ever met who couldn’t swim a stroke when he arrived on the basic diving course at Marchwood. That is true. If I had to lay a bet and tip where he ended up I’d go for under cover in NI.Mad as a bloody hatter but just the bloke you would want with you if the shit hit the fan. It very often did wherever he happened to be.I first met Chunky Besant in Jan 62. He’d been on a diving course in Marchwood, near Southampton
and wanted to know if anyone fancied it. I don’t remember Chunky ever doing any diving after the initial
course but I could be wrong.I had no idea where Marchwood was, only that it was in England and England was where I would like to be as it was a lot nearer to my recently acquired passion, so I put my hand up. It must have been around February time because I had my 19th birthday there. My first impression under water was that
it wasn’t much different to a coal mine except that pits were usually hot dry and dusty and this was wet and bloody cold. Both were very dark and definitely not for anyone who suffered from claustrophobia.I was one of four passes from an original intake of about eighteen. Most of the RTU’s were as a result of claustrophobia. At the end of the first week we had gone from two rooms to the whole course being in one. If you look back on the records I think it was the worst winter since 1947, only to be beaten the following year. The chief diving officer was a Capt. (and I’m not bullshitting) Davy Jones. There was a QMSI (Jock) and I think one instructor. We did the ‘standard’ stuff first (big brass helmet and lead boots) then, if you were still on the course, and most had gone by now, dry suits and fins. Our training ground was off the end of the pier where stevedores and engine drivers were doing their stuff, opposite the Ocean Terminal. All stevedores and steam engine drivers were trained and operated by the RE as were port Sqns, landing craft and landing ships etc. They were transferred to the RCT when the RASC was disbanded. Four tides a day run in and out of Souhampton at about 2 / 3 knots and the water is
colder than a witches tits even in summer. You lost the feeling in your hands within half an hour of going in the water on Mon morning and they, maybe, recovered over the weekend. It was always possible to spot divers in the dining room because they had to ask someone to cut their meat for them. It was impossible to hold a knife and fork and you could only manage a pint pot, either tea or beer, using both hands to hold it. I don’t think I’ve ever been as cold either before or since. It was here that I first saw the landing ships which were later used in the Falklands. Sir Percival and Sir Lancelot were two I remember. I travelled down from Thailand to Singapore on Sir Lancelot, where
Tony Rountree give me a right going over at chess, a few years later. We’d been at Crown Ops. Thailand whilst in 54 with 59 assisting. I find it really strange that I can remember a game of chess in the South China Sea but not some of the names and faces I probably shared a room with.I progressed to an advanced diving course and then to instructor, both of which were run by the Royal Navy at Deep Water Division - HMS Vernon, Portsmouth. It was famous for having had Commander ‘Buster’ Crabb as its CO until he ‘vanished’ under a Soviet cruiser, moored in Portsmouth, which had brought Kruschev & Bulganin on a state visit around 1958 I think. There was a big painting of him behind
the CO’s chair in the Diving office. Hallowed ground this was. There was a powerful rumour that he was still alive, caught by the Soviets who had sacrificed a mangled up body to make us think that he’d gone through the props, and they had taken him home with them, to be joined later by Philby, McClean and then Blunt. Unlike those three treacherous bastards there was never a question of his defecting and, if they took him, it was for his diving skills & expertise rather than his knowledge of national secrets.
We were trained to ‘do’ rather than to ‘know’. I think it must have been false though or we would have heard about it by now.This was very early days in diving RE style and, to be honest, we still needed the RN to advise us. As you will have worked out I actually spent a lot more time ‘off’ the Sqn on detachments and courses than ‘on’, but 7 was my parent unit until ‘66 some five years, almost to the day, after I joined it. When there was no diving I did all the driver courses available up to and including B1 driver and B2 driver Spec. I also did Sigs (up to B2 I think). More for the trade pay and to keep me out of sight than anything else.My favourite occupation when on the Sqn was dodging duties. If my name was coming round for duty driver I saw it as a challenge to convince the MT cpl, who set the rosta, that I would be somewhere else that day. It didn’t allways work of course. The other dodge was to wear a track suit and carry a clip board. Everbody assumed you were either ‘on’ something or going somewhere. I would likely volounteer
for just about any course going at that time because I loved the chances the army gave you to be whatever you wanted to be. Even today, so far down the line, I still enjoy a ‘learning experience’ and just a couple of winters ago I did a 12 months night - school course on small boat navigation.Over this period the Nashies had all been replaced by regulars and the whole Army was fast changing to accommodate them. We, the RE, had opened another diving school in Kiel and our diving was becoming a lot less like the RN and evolving more to suit the environment of land based diving. Rivers and lakes as distinct from open water. We were also training the SAS divers from Hereford before they,
also, became self sufficient and trained their own.In the early days some of the Sqn (7) was tied up in rebuilding Wooldham hard at Hameln. (The one on the other side of town from bridge camp as opposed to the one at the bottom of bridge camp hill.Was that Upnor or have I got them wrong way round?) There might have been other Sqns involved but
I don’t remember them if they were. Prior to us getting the job it was just a field full of mud and the powers decided there should be some kind of permanent structures there. All the roads and hard standings were to be made from concrete, mixed on site at a batching plant run by us. We lived in the attic over 43 Fd Park block on camp beds. The whole job was called “Exercise Morning Lark”. It is probably the only exercise name I can remember and to this day if a job is taking a lot longer than it should or goes tits up I refer to it as ‘another bloody Morning Lark’. There was a QMSI MPF running the job. His name escapes me but he was known as ‘The Little Green Man’. Jock Gilliland was in the
next bed to me and woke me one evening to tell me JF Kennedy had been shot.There were a couple of lads on that detachment (not 3 troop) from the West Indies and we were all talking about the jobs we’d had before the army. I’d been a miner and I said we were paid a bit extra for bath time at the end of a shift. One of the WI tried to convince me they had the same system in Jamaica when loading flour on to the ships.The watering hole nearest Binden Barracks was Georges. He sold a Berlin beer called Schultheis and
it was like nectar. The waitress, a small dark haired woman, was called Ella. If she is still alive she will be in her eighties. Georges son, Wolfgang, was called up to do national service with the German army in the early sixties. He left a rather gorgeous wife at home as well but managed to get her pregnant before he went, just to be on the safe side. I read somewhere that Wolf has died in the last few years.That would be tragic as he was only about my age. The story was that George had fought on the eastern front (I never met anybody who had fought in the west !!!) and had walked the whole way back from Russia to Germany. In quieter moments some of the older people would recount their wartime memories and I remember Georges wife and Ella telling us that from 1944 onwards if you went onto Hameln railway station you could hardly move for the stacked up body boxes being shipped back from the east.The first WI in 3 Tp (or at least the first I remember) was Tom Ellis (photo no. 44 10 your photogallery page) and he was from Barbados. VM I think. We spent many happy hours trying to convince the locals we were twins. A good bloke and a dead ringer for Casius Clay. I believe he applied for 9 Sqn
but I don’t know if he made it. I can hear his voice now popping his head around my door and “are we going for a beer paleface”. I lost touch with him (and most others) so when I was in Barbados a couple of years ago I tried to find him but without success. It will probably turn out he lives in Leeds. Another was little Jerry McIntosh. I cannot remember if he was 100% WI or a London born one. Geordie Elgie picked him up, bodily, one night - shouted “black in the middle pocket” and tossed him accross the snooker table.You’d get locked up for it today wouldn’t you.The flats and pads in Belme Powe were started around ‘64 / 65 and Dennis Gander was one of the first in. (Both the houses and the people who lived in them were refered to as ‘pads’ for some reason.) Prior to that a lot of pads lived in flats rented from civvies around Osnabruck. Some of them were little more
than bedsits and I’m amazed more marriages didn’t fail. The decent pads were in places like Kleine London & Kleine Moscow and that’s where ‘Popeye’ lived but you had to be a long time married to get a decent pad before the building programme which produced Belme. I’m pretty sure he lived next door to Matt McMair the MT Sgt. I went up to give Matt a hand clearing the overgrowth from his garden and Popeye came out with a beer for each of us. We sat around talking like old mates and drinking Popeys’s beer for a couple of hours. The following day he gave me a right bollocking for not wearing a belt or some such trivia. Just making the point that he was SSM and I was back to being an erk.Then, suddenly, there was a flood of pads and everybody seemed to be getting married. Most of them were brand new so, the week before I went home to get married, a load of 3 troop moved in to help with the unpacking of three piece suites, knives, forks, pots, pans etc. Everything was wrapped, army style, and all the packaging had to go down 8 floors. In between having a beer of course. Dave Grimmley (somewhere in the West Country - I haven’t noticed him on any of the photos) Dave (Taff) Edwards, Ted “Ginge” Cox, Dave Davey, (London), Max ??? Jeff Thornton all got married within a few weeks of each other. It seemed like the whole Sqn was at it. Most of the wives were already pregnant or were in double quick time. Including mine. We lost our first baby the same day England won the world cup so, even though we have been divorced 30 odd years it’s a date I’ll always remember.A tradition then was that married pads invited a single bloke for either Sunday dinner or even a weekend.Not every week but occasionally. Barry Makin was at our house from time to time but my brother, who was in the REME at 12 Inf Workshops, just up the Tank Road, was with us most of the time. I had to pass his gate going backwards and forwards to work so I simply picked him up and dropped him off.In fact for the last few months of my time with 7 I probably used their Cpls club more than the Belfry because it was nearer. And pads weren’t really made for Belfry life either. Or perhaps the Belfry wasn’t made for pads.The ‘life saver’ for me was rugby. I met loads of people from all over BAOR and the Far East and played both 15 and 7 a side disciplines. I was never going to be picked for England but I was never ‘dropped’ either. I wish I could remember more names but Ron Frame (not 7 Sqn - 16 perhaps) played in the second row a Welsh full screw Terry something (not 7 Sqn) was captain and a class act at full back and probably the best I ever played under before or since, Jack Jerome, Chunky Besant and Tommy Burns all played hooker at different times, Brummy Crawford - prop & for a time Norman Jones played at No 8. My most memorable game of rugby was probably played at Singapore Cricket Club (it was a sports club really with badminton being the main sport in Singapore) against a visiting touring side headed up by Campbell-Lamberton. He congratulated me on a good game after the match, which I think we won, and if I’d been offered a knighthood I couldn’t have been more chuffed.After demob I played RL for a local team until 1976 when I had a pretty bad accident and I’ve never played since. I was 33 by then getting to the end anyway but I would have liked to have coached a young team. My youngest son, Joe, is a professional sports coach now, after playing a couple of seasons cricket at Yorkshire, so you can’t help but wonder about how these things pan out. He also captained both the cricket 1st XI and the rugby 1st XV while in his last two years at school. My only claim to fame is that in all those years I was never sent off a rugby field and I’m very proud of that. Life today, outside work, is very sport biased. Joe plays cricket as a very good all rounder, opening the balling and batting anywhere from 4 onwards, in the Yorks Prem League through the summer and, most winters, goes to Australia to play in their summer. We go out to Oz for a few weeks over the Christmas period and call it a holiday. That’s when I catch up with a couple of old mates I served with. Chris Milne was in 51 & 54 at the same timeas me and now lives in Perth. Paddy Arbuckle (ex 7 & RSME) is north of Brisbane.They’ve just had a little boy, (15th July) my second grandson, so I doubt they’ll be doing Oz this year.Helen & I have become very used to being there at Christmas so we’ll miss it. In fact I’ve almost forgotten how Christmas is celebrated in England. If I’d to guess I reckon everybody gets rat arsed. It seems to be standard tactics these days. There’s still time to book a cruise and my missus will not need much encouragement.I think my strongest memories must be of generalities. That is to say how upside down things like army discipline could be when viewed from civvy street. In the army late on parade could = 7 days nick but if you wrote a £5000 truck off, or sunk an APC 432 in Dummersee and knackered the power pack @ £30, 000 it would be a £25 fine. I once got seven days nick for telling a little scouse Cpl to F off (I’ve seen him mentioned as “Maggott” somewhere on Georges site, while I’ve been looking through) He’d transfered from the Royal Green Jackets and seemed to think he could change us to his way of doing things. It was never going to happen of course but I, in my usual tactless way, went one too far. He was on a pretty good day really because on a bad one he could have got a smack in the mouth. He had
given me a lift in to work that same morning, so I asked him to call at my house and let the wife know I wouldn’t be home for tea. He didn’t, but Taff Edwards lived next door so he told her. Of course she didn’t believe a word and said I’d gone on the p with Gander. It was the 2ic who’d handled the case and he’d made about 20 errors in procedure so the SSM ‘sprung’ me about 2000. But that only made things worse at home. It was weeks before the wife would talk to Taffy Edwards because she said, and I of course confirmed, he was a lying little shit. It was years afterwards that I confessed to her.Popeye had gone by then and we’d had a right dick head for a few months. He’d been in Canada for
a few years and he left you in no doubt where he would rather be. And it wasn’t Shiney. I think that must have been Clouter but I wouldn’t have remembered his name. His successor, Radbourne, was an A1bloke and took to 7 like a duck to water. I might be wrong but I think he’d been there as a sapper. But this would be during your time because it was Radbourne who was SSM when Ted Cox stupidly sank the APC. Well, he was driving wasn’t he. I was just sat on top, sir. Not the defence I was tempted to
try. In fact, in fairness to the army, which we all know had its own, very odd, justice system, I found that if you just put your hand up and confessed they were happy to get things done with and get on with life. They were not known for holding grudges otherwise I wouldn’t have gone up and down the ranks so often.In terms of how it effects a person I would have to say that it is a permanent and, almost, life effecting experience. To this day I wouldn’t dream of going to work with dirty shoes or without a shave. When I
was farming I cleaned my boots under the tap BEFORE mucking pigs out. I just had to do it. I dread to think what it was like for people who had chosen the army as a career for life as you obviously did.It never was for me so I could never be accused of ‘Army Barmy’ or even ‘Taping’. I still have my hair cut in the style I had then. In fact when I showed the wife those photos from the belfry it was the first thing she noticed. Not how handsome I used to be. Just the hair style. I had a period of about a year, just after I came out, when I grew the sideboards so that they almost joined on the chin but it didn’t last long. I just did it to get one up on Popeye.It’s taken me the best part of a week to write this in between customers. I’ve been swimming in nostalgia and, at times, utterly lost in deep reflection. I’ve just read on this mornings notice board that someone has found Lt Nowers and he has confimed that Jerry Heap passed on a few years ago.It sounds so daft I can hardly make myself write this, but, I have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.
I have tried to keep away from your time so that It ‘adds a bit’ to your site. Please feel free to use whatever you need from here.I’m sorry I cannot contribute a single photo as the first wife took them to stick pins in.
Dave Pomphrey:

Arrived BAOR mid 1964 posted to 7 Ind Fld Sqn RE, down at the very left hand corner of Roberts Barracks.  Later we moved into 2 Div Engrs. A Field Amb took over our accommodation. My 1st memory I have, only been with the sqn a couple of weeks we had an admin parade. We all lined up on the square, the troop sgt told me to stand in front of a 3 tonner, which of course I did. I was told if asked, to say that I was the driver, true to form along comes the inspecting officer, stops & speaks to me. When asked I told him I was the driver. He opened the passenger door and takes out the brass refillable pyrine fire extinguisher and squirts it. It was full of petrol [it had been used to clean the under side of the truck] all I can remember of the incident is I have never moved as fast in my life enroute to the jail. What makes it so funny now is, I couldn't even drive, I wasn't old enough. Life went downhill from then on in. Can anyone remember whilst on Ex Barfrost one of the cpl's, Keith Welford [think] in a barn nearly died of exposure from being wet & cold. I had to hand feed him with hot mutton & peas that was enough to kill anyone. Nice to hear from you all

David Biram:

Dave P didnt pick up on your message where did you get hot mutton and peas from on Bar frost, and secondly why waste them on Chubby Welford.All i can remember about food on that exercise was that we were two meals adrift so breakfast was evening meal and dinner was breakfast.Lunch never arrived.Apparently every time they tried to get a meal to us they were either lost bogged in or captured. Yes i know Stalingrad was slighlty worse but at least they had rats and cats to eat

Dave Biram:

Dave Pomphrey Barfrost Do you remember sleeping in that barn with an A41 on your back? We were so wet, cold and exhausted that we just fell onto the bit of straw and crashed out .After about half and hour this little voice said guys can somenoe help me get this radio off my back ?No answer was forthcoming .Then everyone was complaining because you kept moving to get it off .There were so many bodies in that barn when you moved everyone had to move. I have never been so wet and cold in my life 2 weeks of bloody misery
Ian Treece
Hello everyone, can any of you remember the Weinberg in Bergen, and also the Snakepit just outside the camp. Also we went on a long exercise to a place called Zell, which is a beautifull village in the Black Forest. The object of the exercise was to build some log cabins in the surrounding mountains, and it was all organised by Captain Hyde Bales. What a fantastic exercise that was, apart from when Scouse Colley nearly ended up driving his Bedford MK off the very tight, steep, mountain approach road. It was touch and go as to wether or not we could recover it, but after a few hair raising hours we managed to winch it to safety. Scouse like myself was only about 18 years old at the time, and after the incident all of us young inexperienced drivers, and even the older more experienced ones were given STRICT ORDERS to stay in first gear when climbing or descending this very dangerous mountain. I know that Dave Birram will remember this because he rightly told me off for moving into second gear when we were descending this hill shortly after getting there. Sgt Joe Pollitt made us all take our shirts off whilst working one day in the heat, I tried to tell him that I suffered from sunburn, but he wouldn't listen ' one off all off ' his reply came back. About 1 hour later I had to be taken 50 km away to be treated for agonising sun burn, and 3 days later I was charged with self inflicted wounds, the charge was dropped after I truthfully explained the situation to Major Hill, 'but without dropping Joe in it ! And lastly what about NI, we served 2 months at Enniskillen and 2 months at Longkeash, my 2 good mates in NI were Stan Stanton and Jake Kearns, I still have most of my BOUNCER MAGS, and the sight of Big Geordie Tate all Dressed up with a baseball bat, helmet, flak jacket etc was very reasuring when following behind him into the H block compounds. I bet the likes of Gerry Adams used to crap their pants when we had to get them back into the huts after protesting about some sort off rubbish, Geordie was my hero, a no nonsense person who took no crap from anyone ! That's all for now, I hope I have jogged a few memories, and I will obviously keep a look out for any replies or comments. Best wishes Ian.
Derek Lles (served 7 Field Squadron RE 1957-1960

Debbie, Derek's daughter wrote:

Hi Again, My dad has some names that possibly someone out there will recall? Sargeant Lofty Wilson, apparently a massive tall man!
Johnny Mayer,Jock Mac, and a bloke called Jordy. He wants to see if anyone recalls a NATO exercise to impersonate an atomic bomb, they blew up a device on Lunaberg Heath and set the adjoining Pine Forest next door on fire accidently. Woops. Dad was in the 7th Squadron during the cold war.

Sammy Singleton 8:00 AM on January 14, 2016

The window jumping episode was in the old Sgn block,not the NAAFI.
I was asked by Jerry Heap if I knew anything about gardening,i said no sir,so he said good, you can learn something here,dig the garden over and plant these bulbs and flowers.It was pissing down at the time.
Chunky and his guys had been on a Combat Engineer course somewhere,a B2,so maybe at Hameln.
Saturday night in the Belfry,they had drunk the usual gallon in five minutes or so,someone started talking about Paras,Chunky announced that all Paras were puffs,or words to that effect! He could jump higher than them without a 'chute.
After another gallon or so,the guys went down to 3 Tp corridor window,they decided it was too high and went down to 2Tp corridor window.
This was more acceptable and they all jumped out,all joking and carrying on! There were no major injuries and they all went back to the Belfry.
Come Monday morning Jerry saw the state of the garden and charged me for not digging it and just throwing the flowers on it, on and on he went,result 3 days R.O.P's. But what a laugh it was.
Gordon Dadd 3 Troop

Thanks for your reply. I was in 3 troop and your memory is good. I was a veh mech and attached to the squadron LAD. To put answers to a couple of things on your site and Bobs site, Mike French was my troop commander and he arranged a loan from troop funds so that I could buy a set of drums which I duly purchased and joined the group with Wingnut Thompson and others. We gave ourselves the group name of "The Hellions" and did quite a few gigs around various messes. I joined 7 Fld Sqn on 01/04/63 (I don't know if Aprils Fools Day held any relevance) until being posted out on 04/09/66.I married in 1965 and got a "pad" in Belm Powe and Attached photos of the rooms if you want to display them on your site, also a photo of me as a DR on exercise, If I remember correctly this was taken on the way to Denmark. I have applied to Bobs site and am just awaiting acceptance. Good to catch up and hello to anyone who remembers me.

Best regards