Monday, 4 January 2010

Royal Signals 'Wire' magazine Jan-Feb 73

Bombs and bullets continue to disturb the peace of Lurgan while the central heating contractors drill their way (pneumatically) through the factory and the RSM drills whoever he can find (regimentally) on the road outside. The Irish mists and rain have returned and even the hot air generated by the staff can't eliminate the winter cold. The Officers' Mess rebuild is at last finished, a relief to all as, somehow, the Officers' comfort seems an important factor in everyone else's peace and comfort. The contractors still manage to stretch out all the other work as though they had nowhere else to go! However, a great deal has been done and earlier incumbents wouldn't recognise the place.

Visits and social
There have been a multitude of visits and social events in recent weeks (we have to make our own entertainment you understand) so, in order not to bore, a brief resume only.

Early October Mrs. Whitelaw visited the factory and the quarters and met many of the wives. Her conducted tour of the patch was a great success and the wives expressed their views on the situation and gave one or two tips which didn't appear in the Green Paper.

Later the same month the SO-in-C came, through thick fog, to look at our knicker factory. He seemed duly impressed, acknowledged our man-power problems, toured all seven floors including lingerie (technical workshops), removed the word secure from a staff officer's privacy telephone, visited 'A' Troop in 'Corsets and Bras' (very cramped) and met many soldiers in the limited time available.

Next came Lady Windlesham, wife of the Under Secretary of State, NI office. She visited various quarters and the wives were able to report on their role in NI and express the views they'd forgotten to tell Mrs. Whitelaw. Again a very successful visit.

Other calls too numerous to mention by name have led us to instigate Mk 1, 2 and 3 tours which depend on the visitor's technical knowledge, military knowledge and rank or standing in the community. Often in some obscure corner of the factory the OC, with a gaggle of 'brass hats,' meets the Second-in-Command, with a group of 'thickies,' as they tour in opposite directions. Planned routes and conductors notes are available to would-be guides.

The main event of note for parties was the first anniversary of the re-establishment of 3 Brigade on 25th October. There were various celebrations including an Officers' Mess cocktail party on 25th October, a Junior Ranks' Club party on 26th October and a Sergeants' Mess dinner on 27th October. One or two gregarious people managed to attend all three and they reported all as excellent but they weren't very sociable on 28th October.

The Junior Ranks' Club rounded off the celebrations with a 'Tramps' ball' in November which looked like a gathering of the everyday occupants of Lurgan's back streets. The colour­ful costumes were suitably scruffy though some managed to look smarter as tramps than they do as soldiers (RSM's com­ment). Everyone, and there were about 200 there, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and plans are secretly being layed for a 'Pyjama party' or 'Roman orgy' to follow this great success.

As well as the entertainments already mentioned we have had a small CSE show, a band concert and a disco – so Ireland is not all work and no play. We are now, of course, looking forward to Christmas and 'Strangulated 3 Brigade Artists' are busily preparing 'Factory Frolics' for public performance. The Pioneer Ballet Team are often seen limbering up around the factory, the 'B' Troop Belly Dancers and the MT Drag Queen are also rehearsing in quiet corners. But more of that, with the rest of our very full Christmas programme, in our next bulletin.

So as not to give completely the wrong impression, over now to 'Alpha' Troop whose roving reporter has dashed in during a lull in the barrage. He states that, confidentially, the Troop suspect the OC of a secret liaison with Royal Signals Manning as they keep being sent to dangerous border outposts where 'Saracens fear to tread.' The Troop are definitely the fastest aerial erectors in the business and the speed increases in direct proportion to their closeness to the border. They are certainly kept very busy on border operations, but judging by their happy smiling faces in the Troop photograph they are none the worse for wear.

The unfortunate soccer team are still suffering from lack of training and pitches, they claim operational duties as their excuse, having played five, won one, drawn one and lost three in the league. Things are better in the minor units cup as we have reached the semi-finals. We are also running a continuous five-a-side competition with 12 teams within the Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron which is very enthusiastically supported.

Now our real success story – we recently accepted a challenge to play the Northern Ireland national volleyball team. The first set we lost 15-8 and the pessimists thought this indicated the trend of the match but honour was restored by Yeoman Dunbar slamming anything that moved into the NI side and the second set was won 15-12. The third set was so even that all players deserve a mention. The NI team showed consider­able skill close to the net and won 16-14. The fourth set was really the Squadron's best and Corporal Brett and Signalman Jarwood proved that lack of height can be overcome by deter­mination and technique to give the Squadron a 15-8 win. With all on the last set the Squadron took a quick lead 14-7 but NI fought back to 14-12 when both teams missed services thus raising the tension until Signalman Jarwood slammed in the winning ball to make it 15-12.

The game was replayed ball by ball in the canteen over refreshments and we hope this is the first of many games to come.

And now for something completely different. Our man in Craigavon the Second-in-Command getting air at a local garage. "As it you sur I've given you a few extra lbs in each tyre!"

Finally we say farewell to Signalman McLuckie who is off to 30 Signal Regiment where he says he's going to have a well-earned rest! To our Second-in-Command Captain Mackereth (our Second-in-Command? How can I be our Second-in-Com­mand?). Anyway I'm off, via No 15 JCSC at Warminster (to learn to write), to 2 Division HQ and Signal Regiment – that can't be bad – Bye bye.

Stop Press
The Documentation Team arrive with a bang!
On the evening of the arrival of the Documents Inspection Team, W.O.I Williams and Staff Sergeant Russell, the factory came under attack. Two rockets were fired. One entered the back of a four-ton Bedford where it exploded having first passed straight through an RCT coach, both vehicles being just outside the Squadron offices. Seven men of the resident rouelement company of 1 Staffs were injured, one seriously, having just dismounted from the four-toner. The other rocket finished up in the Headquarters sign – see photograph.

The Documents Team have decided to go back a day early!

No comments:

Post a Comment