The Mourne Mountains Patrol Race
The patrol race is an annual event sponsored by the Brigade over a course of some 10 miles and seven peaks of between 1,500 and 2,500 feet high. Each team by the end of the race has climbed a total of 5,000 feet and not surprisingly descended 5,000 feet as well. The Squadron team of eight led by Lieutenant P. Richards completed the course in 3 hours 21 minutes, a good time which ensured second place behind the winning team, 2 Para. Later some of the team took part in a 20 mile walk round the same Peaks, and even more peaks just for kicks. All that fresh air made a welcome change to the stuffy air in Kitchen Hill factory. The communications which helped to make the race a success were organised and executed by Staff Sergeant Hamilton and the TAC HQ crew. Needless to say, the control set up was at the bottom of a deep valley, overshadowed by a high dam, with some outstations the other side of a mountain ridge, just to make things a little difficult. Well done lads, even if one of you did scoff the Second-in-Command's haverbag, Lance-Corporal Titman.
Spot the watt’s-it competition
Alpha Troop continue to be kept busy with innumerable and varied tasks, not all of a communications nature. The photo shows some of them helping to land one of the latest anti IRA devices on our factory roof. A prize of a free posting to 3 Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron (Royal Signals Manning and Records permitting) is offered to anyone able to identify this very technical and highly sophisticated piece of electronic equipment. Answers (with the part numbers) to the Second-in-Command, envelopes to be marked "SPOT THE WATT'S IT". A clue to its identity; its powered by a 22KW/ 1OOv generator which is tended by Signalman Robinson, Alpha Troop's resident powerman
Attached to the squadron is 3 Section 321 EOD RAOC who cover the 'bomb disposal' tasks or the 'Boomwatch' in our area. To assist in communications they have several Royal Signals combat radiomen attached and so we felt that they deserve a mention for all their sterling work, attending to things that go bump in the night. The photograph shows the Boomwatch crew relaxing whilst waiting for the next explosion. Lance Corporal Moy is at present detached from 22 Signal Regiment and apart from driving a Matra sports car is a dab hand at repairing Goliath, the bomb disposal robot. Corporal Brooks who is now posted, normally worked as documents clerk in the SHQ. He often used to ride 'Shotgun' to the team by way of a break from routine. Signalman King from 21 Signal Regiment is one of the operators required to operate the various electronic equipments in use with the EOD. Its a funny thing, every time the barber visits the squadron they just happen to be going out to deal with a bomb.
One running battle we have apart from the IRA is trying to maintain communications with Royal Navy patrol boats on the Brigade coastline. Their weird and wonderful radio procedure coupled with their voracious appetite for radio spares has turned Corporal Simpson, the troop storeman, off naval communications in a big way. The score so far – 4 x A40's, 12 headsets, 15 A40 antennas, 2 x 12v 75 AH Batteries for A40's!) – This is in addition to a Pye Westminster a week that Staff Sergeant (F. of S.) Hall and Sergeant McGarry end up trying to waterproof/desalinate.
As the ships are only 75 feet long and toss about uncomfortably even in calm seas there seemed a dearth of volunteers to stay on board to sort things out. At last we have a volunteer, Signalman (I’ll buy myself out') Widdall. Among his many tasks will be to man the HF command net back up, for when the ship parks itself at the bottom of steep cliffs. For a combat radioman his morse is in quite good shape.
To keep Alpha Troop combat radiomen occupied during their long off duty seconds the Second-in-Command Captain M. A. Rowbory organised a morse link up with the Apprentice College Harrogate, Exercise 'Bodkin'. "But sir, morse is no longer taught to combat radiomen" sez we, "Rubbish", sez he, "we all wear a Jimmy". So twice a week we slowly but surely under the guidance of Corporals Harrison, Parker and Simpson pass traffic by way of the morse key over our C11/R210 link. Tis a crying shame that we's don't get paid for it! We'd like to thank the Apprentices and Captain (Tfc) T. Johnstone of Harrogate for their cooperation and for organising the link for us.
In amongst all the activities the Squadron has run inter-troop 5-a-side football and volleyball competitions. Alpha Troop won the football and Bravo Troop the volleyball. The trophies themselves were presented to the Squadron by members of the Northern Ireland Volley Ball Association as a gesture of thanks for the Squadron's assistance over the past year.
Arrivals and departures
We wish the following members of the Squadron the best of luck in their new units/careers, W.O.2 (Road runner) A. Waugh the MTO, W.O.2 (F. of S.) D. Jackson, Staff Sergeant Foster, Sergeant Ed Little, Corporal L. V. J. Brooks, Singapore bound Lance-Corporal Pakes, Signalman K. Barratt and D. Pescod.