MORE EXTRACTS FROM THE FORUM
There are currently some 2570 entries in the Forum contributed
by 83 members, some more voluble than others. I mentioned
earlier the incredible ability to generate a change of subject
that the Forum has and this extract demonstrates it to
perfection. I have taken the liberty of correcting, spelling and
grammatical errors and ’typos’, mainly in my own contributions.
Subject - Watches
Having had my
first lesson in how to operate my scanner/printer/ photocopier/
electric toaster – it seems to do everything - I hope to add to
the 1955/6 photo album with some of the photos that I took with
my Edixa 1P, my first 35mm camera. This, like most luxuries in
Langeleben, was bought with the proceeds from selling
cigarettes. Funnily enough it wasn't until I got to Langeleben
that I bought my first watch, a self winder that was said to
work at incredible depths under the sea. I didn't even dare use
it in the bath on those exceedingly rare times that we had one
at the MP's barrack at Helmstedt.! I
digress! As usual!
I found a couple of photos of 'B' Watch 1955/6, known throughout
the British Army as "Bob Wells Finest". A title a bit like that
of the Scots Guards who called themselves 'First of Foot, Right
of the Line and Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard' ... Anyway, again I
digress. What horrified me was having worked, slept, drunk and
done just about everything legal with this ‘shower’ (N0...
that's far too complimentary a word), I can't remember their
names. The ones whose names I do recall, like Stubbings (bless
his little heart) and the Watch ‘puker’, Eddy Potts seem to have
disappeared from my photographic record, sadly.
I have also dug up some 2001 (was it really that long ago?)
K÷nigslutter 'March past' pictures, and my God didn't we look
old! I wonder what we look like now six years on.
Anyway there is a photo of 'A' Watch there already in the album
so the question is "was there a "C" Watch and if so where is it
(Referring to the mention of the Scots Guards.
That's the Royal Scots, (as was, now the1st Bn. Royal Regiment
), raised in1630.
The Scots Guards are much older (1643 IIRR).
(Full of useless info like that.
Managed to clean up on a few quiz nights over the years, though
- ask Bob Wells).
Paul, with the
number of Scottish Regiments called similarly, you can well be
forgiven for any mistake. Take your pick from:-
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys
Formed 25 years ago in July 1971 by the amalgamation of the 3rd
Carabiniers and The Royal Scots Greys, the Royal Scots Dragoon
Guards are Scotland's only Regiment of Cavalry. Their forebears,
the 3rd and 6th Dragoon Guards and the 2nd Dragoons, have an
unbroken history spanning 320 years, through European Wars,
, two World Wars and the Gulf in 1991. The SCOTS Dragoon Guards
are stationed in
. Now part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, - The Desert Rats
The Royal Scots (Royal Regiment)
(1'st of Foot), which I believe is the one you mean. Founded in
1633 by Sir John Hepburn and currently, since 1990, part of the
16th Air Assault Brigade. The Scots Guards were founded in 1642
by Archibald, Marquis of Argyle.
The only link I have with JR is that I ran (well still do for
Charities) a Quiz site for Publicans in the 1990's called “Quiz
Peter my main memory
man, where do we / I know Bob Wells from, 225 or 13 Sigs? I know
the name, can't even remember if he was a Cpl when I knew him,
but senility has crept up on me and now I rely on tha' to fund
me from tha' font of knowledge?
Bob Wells was
a Cpl with me in '55/56 so, by the time you became a soldier he
must have been a Brigadier at least!
Down South where we put water in't bath instead of coal like
what should go in them, we get baptised in fonts and drink from
founts but then ... I've hardly understood a bloody thing for
the past few days. For the benefit of we ignoramuses (commonly
known as 'Southerners') perhaps the moderator (or whatever he is
called) could insist that entries are only in English with the
obvious exception of Mr Shorep whose works in some of the more
obscure Bessarabian sub-dialects should not be hindered.
contentious Old Git, Pot, Kettle, Black!!!! Never woz Baptized,
went to me parents wedding though, does that count. The font of
all knowledge is wot St Peter types it in, Sans Serif, Courier
or Arabesque and here in
we drink from cups or mugs. Unlike you rich Suvern lot we can't
afford crappy coffee in plastic or cardboard beakers. Sits back,
with a pint of Black and Tan and a Wright's Pie to wait the
vitriol (Luv ya reelly)
Old Fat Grey Grumpy and a Proverbial Pain In
You would have
known Bob Wells at 13 Sigs. He left the army round about 76 as a
WOII (Supervisor Radio) and then went as a Civvy Op but spent
most of his time then as a civvy instructor at Woodhouse and now
lives in Loughborough spending most of his time on the golf
'watches' and did not respond, cos I can't afford the time or
tell it, so much for buying a clock 'on tick', and it 'went
back’ 'last autumn. Now I know wot you lot is talking about (a
rare thing these days), Bob Wells was in 9pigs as I remember,
just missed him at Barrow last year. Another instructor at 224
was monsewer Widdowson, always made
us use pencils, as ex merch RO (Merchant Navy Radio Operator) I
tried to sneak my biro in the log sessions.
that's it, thanks for that, I'm glad I am not going completely
, tho' no doubt some will argue that. Peter, I also remember
Geoff Widdowson but I'm not sure if it was 224 or where. The
only one I can remember with total certainty at 224 was Rab
I cannot bring
myself to buy a cup of coffee from any of those Starlight type
places. For a start I can't speak 'coffee' and secondly I cannot
bring myself to spend that sort of money on a paper cupful of
coffee. I am still stuck in the Joe Lyons era when you got a
'milk and a dash*' for 6d. That and a bag of broken biscuits 6d
was a meal fit for any starving young man. That Scots laddy on
the label would have been somewhat miffed if he had known what
‘Camp’ came to mean.
dash of that wonderful nectar
in milk and water.
Sorry I forgot
the Aitkin. Also in charge of them was Geordie Richardson
another ‘goodun’. He taught me all I know but I forgot it by
next morning,(irish mother jeans).
Geordie was traumatised by 36 squad, Dave Pegg, Trev Wood, Andy
Ross, Terry Proudman, Jack Loftus and possibly Dave Doig (might
be the squad after). I bet all these read this but never post
(on the Forum). Tom,get the 252 pad
out and run amok,(whatever that means)
instructing at Woodhouse with Geordie Richardson, Rab Aitken and
Graham Widdowson. Rab left the army to become a policeman. The
last time I saw Graham he was a YoS at 223 Signal Squadron
Winchester in 1967 and Geordie made his one and only visit to
Barrow about three or four years ago but still leaves messages
on our guest book.
Here is a
stupid but well meaning question:-
Does the British or any other army use morse? With modern
satellite techniques and encryption, to a mere I Corps chap it
all seems a bit redundant. Am I wrong yet again?
Bob Wells can now be seen on the photo page for those who could
not remember him! Amongst B watch I was reminded of Norman
Williams, who fancied himself as a bit of an artist, drawing
Satchmo Armstrong mostly. He was also a good footballer. Played
for Tooting & Mitcham and then
and was there when they went into Div 4 for the first time.
Far from it,
by no means a stupid question. There is no major country that
still uses Morse as its primary meanns of
communication, this applies to their Armed Forces,
Coastguard, Flying Doctor or ow't similar. Several, however,
still use it ' as and when communication is difficult ' but that
means when satellite, terrestrial radio or similar can not be
used. Basically, everything has gone over to satellite and
terrestrial radio, with the Coastguard and similar using the
Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. There is, however, a
plethora of people in the Amateur Radio world that are still
keeping Morse alive and kicking. The foremost of these is FISTS,
The International Morse Preservation Society. Originally founded
in 1987 by the late George Longden - a Brit (G3ZQS)
It is now a worldwide force with
thousands of members, the British side being run by the Radio
Society of Great Britain but i it the Americans who are by far
and away the major influence.
In a twist of technologies, there are even operators who
communicate in morse via the
internet. They can reach sending and transcription speeds of
20/30 wpm, wait until they discover the side swipe.
I knew of the
side swipe but never saw one being used. I remember talk of
morse being sent and read at vast
speeds but never knew what really could be done and sustained.
There was a famed/notorious s/Sgt in my day at Langeleben
'Panda' Arnold who was supposed to be pretty good. Funny chap!
He was against swewaring and when doing so would 'fine' himse3lf
by digging holes. The nickname came from his having fallen
asleep whilst wearing dark glasses when serving in
, So it was said!
Hi Paul, Great to see
your pictures, brought back some memories. I recognised a couple
of guys but could not remember names. In the second picture, the
guys 2nd and 3rd from right were familiar. I think the third one
was a Ken
Ed) The picture of the reindeer really brought back
memories, going round and tossing sweets to the kids of
Konigslutter. You have convinced me that I have to have another
search for my pics of the same era. Great,
worry not about Kampf Coffee, I loved
it then and I still love it. My favourite had used be Gordons
Gin - but then 'The Gay Gordon's'? No, I have
neither the spirit or the inclination
to suggest ow't to our Scottish Bretheren. I once asked 'Nibloe'
Jarvie if there was ow't worn under the kilt, 'Dinna be so daft,
it's all in good working order', is the best translation I can
give to his reply.
I don't know
who is the biggest prat, you or I, Keith.
The gormless plonker second from the right wearing a tie is an I
Corps chap called Croxson. And ... it is an I Corps tie that I
am wearing too which must have rated me as the berk of the week
in Langeleben. A tie??? I wonder
where I had been, couldn't have been Schumanns. I've got another
couple of me somewhere, one wearing my BD proudly showing my one
stripe. It was on my return from receiving a 'reprimand 'after
being charged with losing my paybook. I think I have already
bored the world with that pathetic story. That was the only
occasion, I think, that I ever wore a BD at Langeleben, it was
always denims, wasn't it.? My
remember being very proud of the suit, by the way. Charcoal grey
with a single slit at the back. I bought it from Willerby's.
'Made to measure' as they used to say.
I think that I paid for it over 2 years! The chap you think was
called Ken was a really nice chap, and quite civilised. The
blond chap in shorts (very Hitler Youth) was from
straight from school. His German, even pre University, was
absolutely perfect even to the extent that he could adopt
regional accents, His 'ich bin ein Berliner' (well before
Kennedy) was a hoot. He was a very good friend and we drank
together quite a lot. He was going to be a teacher. The chap
with glasses and hands in his pockets possibly came from
and was a useful golfer. He had one club and he could only chip
with it. It wasn't a putter or a driver.
(His name was Ames.ed)
Oh for a better memory and, how good it would be to
spend an hour again with that lot. I'd happily buy the beer.
Sadly, Re-unions are a bit like what Alan Bennett (playwright
and ex I Corps
said about going to China.
"I've always wanted to go to
but what would you do in the afternoon?"
Its 04.45am and I am off back to bed having woken myself with my
Good day Paul,
Sorry to disturb you but have just had a thought, was it Ken
Birchall? See what you have done to me.
Ive been up since 7am, written my will (sorry you get nothing)
been and ordered new glasses and then started my day's work.
You are absolutely right about Ken. Now that you have seen the
picture of me does it ring any bells? 6' 1" and
skinny, that was me. Nowadays read
'corpulent' for 'skinny'.
Do you remember 'Lilli' Palmer? He will be on my conscience for
Hi Paul, What
type of glasses did you get, pint or
whiskey? Your photo helped me to remember you, who could ever
forget such an imposing figure of manhood. Sometimes the memory
needs a little help after 50 years. Do you remember a Sgt
'Windy' Gale? A couple of other guys I remember are Brian Cox, a
good footballer, and Spud Murphy. I am sure a few more will come
to mind now I have got started. Hope you managed to get some
lifted a pint of beer for years due several weaknesses, not
least the forearm and bladder. So, here Ii am drinking my hot
chocolate at 20.40. Yes, I do recall Windy Gale but as a name
not a face. it is so embarrassing
that having spent so many hours, most days 24 of them with these
chaps we can't remember the names. Keep working on the grey
easy to spot the Gentry from t'workers. There ain't
no bugger up at 0400, unless he's a
shift worker, pensioner, or t'idle rich.
Hi, I have
just been visiting the Birgelen Site, as I had nothing else to
do, and in looking at the photos came across the one of Sgt Len
South, with cigarette as usual. Can anyone remember him at
in the 50's? Quite a character. He
was the only person I have known who would smoke a cigarette
whilst taking a shower. True. How's that, Old, Fat, Grey and
Grumpy, I've had the last word today, sorry first one today.
I, too, hardly dare raise a finger to the keyboard for fear of
incurring the wrath of someone or other. I feel for you! The
truth or otherwise of these accusations is easily tested by
looking at the 'last postings' and, apart from that chap Croxson,
there is someone called Hudson whose name appears quite a lot
No, don't remember anyone fitting that description but then I
spent more time at Butlins than I ever did at Birgelen. Funny'
when we first went there, we all called it Munchen Gladbach. I
wonder when it changed. (Possibly when we
tried to go home after the first night out). In those
days a visit to the
was the most popular destination, at least to those having
passports. There were apocryphal stories of visits to
and following claims that "my Father was in the Paras", being
fed with freee beer all night. Funny, in those days, most of us
knew who our Fathers were, except for senior NCO's. How things
have changed with one parent families. I have a 2 year old next
door who thinks his Father is a monthly cheque. That's all he
hears of him from the
I know it’s a while
since you were discussing this but I’ve only just seen your
postings re: the Morse code and the side swipe Morse key. I had
one when I was at Langeleben but it was rarely used because, if
my memory serves me, the relays in the electrical ‘gubbins’ that
we used to send messages etc down to Rabke couldn’t handle the
speed of the thing. It was actually made from an old standard WD
issue straight Morse key.The centre ‘up and down’ bit of the key
was replaced with a piece of hacksaw blade and some longer
screws to hold it secure, which of course enabled one to flick
it from side to side more rapidly that using a straight key. It
was given to me in
by an ex Merchant Navy radio Op and I passed it on to Bob Kerr
when I left Langeleben for demob.
As for sending and receiving speeds, I remember some years ago
an American bloke claiming to be able to receive, without any
electrical or mechanical aids, at 70 wpm. Now I wouldn’t say
that he had been over indulging in the local hooch, but if
anyone has ever listened to a Creed machine (or whatever it was
called) churning out Morse at 70 wpm they would know that it was
unreadable or, at least, that’s how it appeared to us.The
fastest I could manage was 32wpm, and that was when I was
I can’t claim
to ever have emulated Mac's fete of 32 wpm, in fact I was always
pushed to do the mandatory 25 wpm. One thing I did manage though
was transcription at 25 wpm. (for
those none spec ops amongst us, transcription is listening to
Morse through headphones then typing what has been sent). I did
my A1 as I left Langeleben in ‘66, at the time transcription was
not part of the A1 test, but they were thinking about bringing
it in, so we acted as guinea pigs and for the whole three months
plugged away trying to master this strange skill. To be fair, I
must admit that I had learned to type at Denbury, so had a good
head start on most. I well remember some of the others throwing
their headsets off in exasperation and cracking up saying they
were never going to get the hang of it. I left ‘Y’ service the
following year so I don’t know if transcription became part of
the course, I expect it did. Perhaps someone can tell us. Back
on the speed thing, while we were in basic training I recall
hearing that a woman in the States could read Morse at 78 wpm
and to cap it all I believe she did it using a typewriter
You are right
about speeds. Lower to high twenties are the norm, if the ship
is in danger of sinking the SOS should be sent at 16's,but you
will understand, in the authors case at least, water rising
around one’s ankles had an inverse effect on transmission speed.
Personally speaking I was the advocate of screwing down the key
and going for help! At least merchant navy sparks/ops could ask
them to slow down. Sadly spec ops did not have this opportunity
and just had to keep up in between sharpening the 2H and
swearing aloud. Weather forecast transmissions were always
fast ,plain language and figures
between about high twenties and lower end thirties, taken down
with biro. Don't tell Graham Widdowson though!
Oh no, not another subject!. Ed
If it wasn't
the stuff that 225 fed their Moufflon then it was a radio
provided by the NSA that could receive an exceptionally narrow
bandwidth signal in the FM range. Attached circuit boards
allowed it to decode the signal as it was received.
The Army Security Agency (ASA) code name for the system was
"Mercury Grass." The Soviets didn't know they had the
technology, which was good. That exceptionally narrow bandwidth
FM signal was how the Third Shock Army commanders communicated
. They didn't believe anyone knew about their new coded signal.
They didn't believe it could be detected. And they believed that
if anyone did find out about it and did intercept it, it would
take them weeks to break the code.
Instead, whenever a field officer would talk secretly with his
, an American spook ( Spec Op) would
be listening in. The official name of this job in the protocol
of Military Occupation Specialties was "voice-intercept
operator." However, that was just a>cover name. Within the
Agency, the job was actually known as >"scanning." The one doing
it was known as a "scanner," as an "MG scanner," or as a
"Mercury-Grass scanner." All scanners were graduates >of the old
U.S. Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey, CA, >now
known as the "Defense Language Institute (West-Coast Branch),"
The >concept of intercepting radio-relayed telephony and
translating it in real time was itself known as "Mercury Grass."
Supposedly, the British
>were the first to develop this concept and "Mercury Grass" was
their code name for it. Further deponent knoweth
Hope this proves to be what you are after.
and very helpful Mike, thank you.
To think that my time at Langeleben covered the introduction of
technology that just a few years later was 'old hat'. I remember
being lectured on things like "skip distance", "Heaviside
layers" and other stuff which is as obsolete as a thermionic
valve. VHF was new on the block and the signal went horizontally
I sat night after night as did every I Corps discriminatotor
flogging through logsheet after logsheeet looking for things
that might indicate something happening, then bundling them up
to go to GCHQ.
Mike, do you think (or know) whether anything was done with this
vast output? I know it kept a lot of Op Specs off the street!
Was that all?
Thanks for an
understandable explanation of Mercury Grass. I did once find
some references on Google, but they were aimed at people with a
lot more background knowledge than I have. I recall having to
record MG on the log - a warbling, high pitched tone, if I
Mike, you do yourself a grave injustice. I don't believe you are
as old, grey or grumpy as you make out. I bet you are nice to
animals and never tire of helping old ladies across the road.
I think that
this is a very worthwhile topic. Why the reluctance to discuss
what we were doing in what is militarily and technologically a
Day after day in the 50’s I produced deliciously drawn networks
- just as I had done the previous day and the day before etc.,
nothing moved. Like it or not, perhaps we were really
timeserving canon fodder, ready should the big horror ever come
about. I have a good friend who still mysteriously talks of his
time at GCHQ as if it was at the heart of Cold War Intelligence.
All that he was doing was training the next generation of I.
Corps to do the same again.
I am not belittling our work IN THE
SLIGHTEST, I just wish that we talked more of what we
were doing, why and to what effect. Even those ‘on the job’ 10
years later were living in a different world with the Royal
Signals having taken over so much of what the I Corps did, then
to have it taken back again
The Intelligence only just avoided being closed down
completely at one time.
speeds were not unusual in a certain section of 'E' Troop,2
Wireless Regt (9 Sigs) back in the fifties. Mind you, I needed
to be going down hill with a following wind.
Good Lord, not going backwards are we? Ed
distance ionosphere, upper layers, it will all come back some
day ,as will changing frequency as dusk approached so one could
still 'keep comms'; plotting the frequency plans for the voyage
across the 'pond'. Dare we mention sun spot cycles and the
affect on comms, QRX'ng for a skip to another frequency?
See you lot did not think you would miss the world of comms.
Me and Prof Clarke know better, we
told you so.!!!!
On a lighter note,because of skip
distance,the SOS from the Titanic is still going around the
world so ignore it like all the ships in the vicinity did on the
Paul, yes I
think that reliable and good info did come from the logs that
the Spec Ops put in. Remember, however, that most of the info
logged was routine and of no interest to anyone except the '
Code Breakers '. I can recall however the XXX that kicked off
the invasion of
and then plotting the movements of certain units by DF.
There is also an Apochryphal story, that I tend to believe, from
other instances, where 'Plain Text' site references were given,
that were for 225, 226, 13 Sigs and
other similar intercept sites.
Hi All, We
certainly seem to have covered a lot of ground in the last few
posts. Mike, Thanks for the
explanation on Mercury Grass, until Gordon asked the question, I
had never heard of it, but now I am much wiser. Personally I
still find it quite difficult to discuss what we were doing.
Years and years of keeping silent on the subject is a habit that
takes some breaking. I must admit that over the last few years I
have told the first Mrs Thomas what my job was, but none of the
details. Somehow the organisation of 3rd Shock Army comes a long
way behind what the grandchildren have been up to, or more
importantly, what’s for tea. The couple of visits I’ve made to
have got me wondering just what the opposition was up to, and
when we come over next month, I intend that we should have a
good look at places like
, both names that conjured images of the Russian hoards. I think
that the discussions we having are great, if anyone wants to
reminisce of what, when and how we did things back then; then
bring it on, if the subject strikes a chord, then others will
pick up on it, if not it will go the way of lead balloons.
Shorep (PS), Never mind skip
distances, inverted refraction and 11 year sun spot cycles, what
about sparodic "E".
little Bristly Bristolian (a
reference to bearded DT), for reasons known to the
Hierarchy, I only gained my A2 and that as a Cpl. I, with a good
few more, got to 224 expecting no problems and a reasonably
cushy time. Only to find banks of Underwood / Imperial
typewriters and the William Tell overture blasting out. How the
Hell I ever passed is still a mystery and yet, within a few days
of getting back on to Shift, I was typeing like I was born to
it. They still refused to let me wear a skirt and blouse,
however, nor sit on anybody's lap. I can honestly say though
that I never had to pass a test on sending
morse, other than when I got my Amateur Radio certificate
I know that
for me the 25 year proviso is well over, so RM** 139** is
probably dead and buried. There were certain sites that I never
moved from as I 'had an affinity' with them and could even
distinguish between operators. Whether in plain speech or
morse you came to recognise certain
characteristics that distinguished certain operators. This
became of use when they were seconded to other units for what
ever reason. I don't know if it is my memory playing tricks but
I seem to remember, both with 225 and Birgelin that there was
always a good relationship and interchange of info twixt the
Spec Ops and I Corps.
I don't know
about 225 (what was it?) or Birgelen but I can speak with
authority about Langeleben in the mid-fifties. We all took the
piss about each other, we poncy lot (I. Corps) taking the mickey
of those thick operators but we worked INCREDIBLY well together.
A 'Watch' was in my day at Langeleben totally a team. Not 'A'
watch, I mean 'B' Watch if you know
what I mean.
we are back to the original subject. ed)
We ALL shared the
pleasure, no, Glory of getting the
keys first and I took it as a group personal insult if anyone
beat us. Very rarely, I promise, did that happen, ask Bob.
hope(d) the relationship was based on mutual respect
firstly but much else followed, otherwise - why would I still
get so much pleasure just saying "hello" to Bob Wells and Pete
Ellis. I'm still very much in touch with Mike Stubbings. These
friendships are amongst the strongest that I have ever had,
lasting 52/3 years. Not bad, Eh?
By the way. I just can't get used to
it being called 'Langy'. It never was that in the early days,
from my recollection. I wonder when the change took place. Off
to my country estate for an hour or so (Ok, allotment to you
It was this
special skill that really saved the day when the Russkies
switched from B to E type callsigns. To see a wagon full of Ops
totally lost was not a sight for sore eyes I promise you. DF
also came very much into its own.
Paul, I don't
know if you were serious or not when you ask what was 225 Signal
Squadron? It was the home of C Troop,
possibly the greatest gathering of Spec Ops and I Corps the
world has known. 225 were the invading horde that swept in from
the hills of Scarfoldendorf and breathed life into Langeleben in
'67. A little before Marlene and her band of Temperance Ladies
made the NAAFI rock.
I can honestly say that in my 9 years as a Spec Op, I NEVER,
found any animosity twixt us and you, with one exception, WOII
Strachan. Luckily he never made 225 at either site, I ran across
him in 13 Sigs, where I was unlucky enough to have him as a next
door neighbour. WO11 Strachan,
pronounced Strawn frowned upon everything and virtually
He apart, I totally agree, that ALL the Watches were a team and
worked together as such. The one area where there was
competition was in the GUHOR Book and I confess that the I Corps
were the champions. This was raised a
bit before you blessed us with your presence, sincerely meant
and you may have known it under another name. Basically it was a
book, left in the 'Set Room', in which all and sundry could
contribute their thoughts, feelings, ideas, gossip etc.
With regard to Lasting Friendships, I cannot go back quite as
far you but I confess to having a soft spot for Peter Aloysius
Talbot Fabius Shoreland, M.Inst S M, who I have been proud to
have as a friend for well over 40 years and Tom N, who, due to
the difference in our ranks was never a friend but certainly
someone I trusted and admired.
I was deadly
serious. You Signals chappies always talk in numbers, No1
Wireless Regt, 12 this and 225 that. Don't forget that I was
petrified (turned to stone rather than frightened) in 56 and
knew of nothing apart from
/ Munchen Gladbach/Langeleben. Apart from saying the 'Regt' or
‘on detachment’ that's how we addressed postings. No NAAFI just
two dear old ladies from the
once a week, snow permitting.
The GUHOR book was either before OR after me certainly not
'during'. I think I would have known about it - even
contributed! Now someone has to explain what G....R meant,
, if you
wish to see what a Guhor was like look on the photos for
Langeleben 1958 - 59 and the very bottom one, under B watch you
will see the ' Peanut ' shape of Guhor. In the Z codes it was
ZAN GUHOR, meaning - ' I HAVE NO RESPONSE' For the US Gentex
network it meant ' HEAVY DELAY'
To me, GUHOR on it's own meant ' I HEAR SFA '.This was when INT
was used before the Q signals; viz INT ZBZ or QSA IMI. Do I
really know what I am on about? I doubt it.
Paul, Not all
Ops talked in numbers, especially in our day. By the way, do you
know the name of the good looking guy standing on Fred Sanderson
is right in the picture of the four skiers under your photos?
one from the Hanham hinterland (MH),yer
sporadics cannot be ignored, Ceasar geezer had the 'beware the
ides of March',but ignore yer sporadics at yer peril.! 'is
majesty Croxson will have a problem wiv that lot not to mention
lowly A2,ace 4.45,no mpc
how disappointed I am in your lack of belief in my ability. I
attained my A2 (God knows how, 'cos I still type with 6 fingers
- 3 on each hand) and for some reason, being only a lowly 2
striper, but having been part of the team that won the
Rheindahlen area First Aid championship for 13 Sigs in '69, my
reward was to be allowed to participate in my MPT1, GOD IS GOOD
AND THEN THERE'S DEATH. Such fun, perhaps if we had lost I would
have been promoted to Acting Signalman. Surprise, surprise (Cilla
'ere) I passed and got me piccie again in the Wire. For some
reason Peter Baldwin,( I claim
familiarity, as a CIVILIAN, but still respect a truly
magnificent C.O), had more faith in me than I had, or anyone
before me had. Come to think of it, I got more recognition in
Birgelin than I did anywhere. It must have been the old maxim,
(no, not the lads mag),’if you don't know what to do with them,
I can only
concur with your thoughts, Paul, all through my long and
illustrious service with the I Corps the relationship with the
Signals was generally excellent. A certain rivalry, perhaps, but
never came to blows. That "comradeship" was certainly a feature
of life in all the Y Service units I ever served with, like you
I still have contact with friends I served with over thirty
years ago. Problems came mainly from outside the Y trades, I
think some of the Neanderthals from the Training Wing of 13 Sigs
were of the opinion that the Regiment existed solely for their
benefit. The one day a month we were turned over to these sons
of bachelors was usually an unpleasant one, to say the least.
(Reminded me of the scenes where the recruits are being trained
in "All quiet on the Western Front"). To be
fair, the Spec Ops ("What's so special about you?") -
and especially Radio Technicians, for
some reason - also got a beasting. Fortunately I didn't spend
very much time at Birgelen.
St Paul, don't
come the knuckling of the forelock, ever so 'umble me Lord, it
does not do you justice. The thing that baffles me is when tou
say you do not recognise the numbers. Depenedent where you were
and when you were, was't thou not aware of the Regiment,
Squadron or whatever you were attatched to???
Viz: If tha' found tha'self at Scharfoldendorf it wer' 225 until
we buggered of down the road to Langeleben in '67 and then 'twere
still t' same. Prior to that however it wa'
13 Sigs that ruled.
Eeh Lad, a person of tha intellect and dunna know t'arse from
t'elbow? My good friend Pietro, perhaps you could elucidate and
phrase it so these Intelligence Wallahs can understand where
they were. But use the Nato Phonetic, Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog
- NOT - Alpha, Bravo etc, (probably a
bit after their time)
As far as I am
concerned "A2" takes me to
The last time that I used a number as an address on this forum
Tom had to point out that I had got it wrong, and as for
Squadrons and Regiments how do you expect someone who merely
spent his time in a 'Corps' to understand.
'Squadrons for me belong to Douglas Bader, the Battle of Britain
and Dam Busters. "regiments" apply to ''monstrous women". I
await some learned gentleman now telling me the origins of both,
it's OK, I think I know. Blast, just
made a hole in the carpet with my bloody spurs.
know this already but the Royal Signals are classed as being
mounted as opposed to being foot soldiers and as such our main
unit is a Regiment consisting of Squadrons and within the
This equates to the infantry Battalion, Company and Platoons.
can’t remember the last time I was ‘mounted’, in fact if
I was given the chance I would have to get out the instruction
manual to see what I had to do,
forelocks and being ‘mounted’ ,where
is this site going and Tench talking about wellies and
sheep,will it be safe to turn up at Barrow in May?
A very concerned spec op (so it states in the discharge book)
The Army as an
(dis)organisation has always been, to me a matter of wonder and,
sadly, amusement. Tom, your explanation only goes to prove it.
In my day in the I Corps we did what was called "Corps
Training". For two incredibly intense weeks we had to study and
learn the British Army's order of battle and structure, longer
than we spent learning that of the Russian Army.
Look what the army can do with such a thing as a 'Corporal' when
it gets to the Cavalry and the ranks of Generals are only
slightly less confusing than Admirals.
swine, how dare you use language like that on a site that
genital folk and the occasional lady view? Take back the A2,
until at at least those Bloody Roadworks from the M25 have been
Unless it has escaped your memory, The Intelligence Corps and
the Royal Corps of Signals are both ' Corps '. I cannot believe
that you were never attatched to anything that did not have a
number. You'll be telling me next that you never had a Coop Divi
number or even a telephone number.
My Grandmother's Co-op number was 16 12 48. We never had one,
living in a Council ‘ouse, we were too posh. Everything in her
house was ‘Wheatsheaf’ brand from the Co-op. They buried her too
but we didn't dare ask for the divi on that!
I served two weeks and a few days in the Royal Army Service
Corps. in No5 training Battalion,
Blenheim Barracks Aldershot. Ah ha, a number that's why I fled
The Intelligence Corpse never spent any time mounted, not being
re-formed until 1941, and we were not infantry at least I don’t
think so! More Post Horse than Post Haste.
It was, until the arrival on the scene of the Parachute Regt,
the youngest in the British Army. Motorbikes rather than Dobbins
were our thing.
Pollards 7059 ws my first telephone number, well half of it was
When I have bugger all else to drivel on about I will bore you
all with the little story of the chap in a gun crew who just
stood there doing sweet F.A. On investigation it was found that
he was there to hold the horses steady when the guns were fired,
except the guns were not horse drawn.
Did I hear the word 'tradition'? Damn, Now I've spoilt the
, you should
have been a Politician, because you never answer a question
fully, just merely start another topic.
I have, on two occasions delivered to Pollards in Fenny
Stratford but have never come across a district or area called '
Pollards', could it by any chance be Pollards Hill in Mitcham?
For years I have been convinced that my parents Coop number,
from the Burslem and District Coop was 40945, but a few days ago
I half heard something on the Radio, where someone had said his'
Divi ' number was 5 figure and was told that all numbers were 6
figure. Testicles, I thought, me Mum's woz 5, then you come up
with Grand Mater’s as 6 digits! Does anyone else have or had a 5
figure Coop Divi number?
Lastly, with the I Corps you were presumably attached to other
units that had a number, must have if you were at Langeleben.
You even had an Army number, now was that 5 or 6 digits?
Do you never give in or up? As far as
I am aware GCHQ never had a unit number, no doubt you will
correct me in due course!
Yes, I confess to 2 weeks at No. ONE Witless Regt at Munster
before fleeing from that only to find to my horror that even
those grotty tents at Langeleben had been given a number (was it
101?). Madness on a grand scale.
So ... in addition to the Army saluting anything and painting or
blancoing everything one has to add an obsession with numbering
Love and kisses
Now, you have really intrigued me (as no doubt you intended to
do). As yoiu know damned well, I went to
(I forget the number) Mitcham Surrey. One of
's leading Prep schools allowing a seamless path to Eton, Harrow
for Boys. Twas from there I took my 9+, it was before inflation
perhaps I should add.
My sister and two brothers also attended there too.
Get a new subject out of that lot if you can.
I believe the
man holding the non existing horses was No 6 in the gun crew and
even Langeleben had a No when I was there being 101 Wireless
I have just
decided to join the 'regiment entrenge'.(the
foriegn legion to the uneducated),they all speak different
languages, but I think I still have more chance understanding
wot is occurring,than ere on dis site!! Will the interprewters
be in attendance on the 12th?
should know by now I am THE Old Phart Grey Grumpy Git, hated by
all, loved by none, with the possible exception of Shorep, who
still thinks I am the Moufflon arisen. So, like so many your
Primary is no more, or has it changed
its name and location to Garden, Sherwood or William Morris. As
a total aside, how come you have a Tamworth Manor Secondary,
when Tamworth Manor is in God's and my County, Staffordshire?
Dare I say 'tis a pity you did not live in Longthornton, then
you could have gone to the '
So your Alma Mater was
for Boys, does that make you an Old Mitchamian? Mine was
and that makes me an Old Hanlensian. 'Carmen litem nunc audite
etc,' never made a Prefect but never had a detention. Alas,
never had syblings either, when a Dr Dash, who was the School
Doctor said, ' Mrs Hudson, if you can breed them like that then
you should have more' - she hit him!
Of course GCHQ had a number, 01242 709 095 as I remember though
I think that 0845 330 4572 rings a bell, (no pun intended).
when can we get Shorep back from his attempt to be Beau Geste?
The ony thing he has ridden is the Moufflon,
I would hate to see him on a Donkey, Horse or Camel.
Communications Company, Intelligence Corps ("4 Comms"),
with a sub-unit "Loughborough Detatchment, 4 Communications
Company" ("Det 4 Comms").
What do you
mean 'occasional lady'...there is nothing occasional about this
I knew it!
I will claim immunity on the GCHQ on the basis that when I was
there (1954) it had no number, but then, I could be wrong - it
Aha, El 'Udson walked straight into my fiendish trap. NO, I did
not go to
for Boys (or Girls for that matter, even though my sister did).
I went to Rutlish School Merton which was an extraordinary
school in its time. Apart from me, the most famous of its Old
Boys (Old Rutlishians) being John Major and Jerry Cottle. It was
literally virtually destroyed by Merton Borough Council as a
Political act as it could not get the Governors to release its
vast playing fields and the considerable sums of money in the
Rutlish Charity and the John Innes Charity. Funny, but a number
of the school names you mention have either disappeared or
appeared post-me in Mitcham. "Lonesome" brings back memories as
we hated walking along the little road called 'The Lonesome' as
all the cemetry workers lived there. Only the Salvation Army
penetrated its murky depths, 10 o'clock every Sunday to the
I don't do puzzles on the basis that it is in direct
contravention of my professional status, but thanks for the
Can't stop as I am working today, trying to earn enough money to
buy anyone who is nice to me a drink in Konigslutter. By the
way, which is the cheapest Bar there?
Ay up O'
comely Buxom Wench, dunna get tha' knickers in a twist. I am not
importuning tha' reputation but treating thee as one of t'lads.
T' lasses I referred to were Gill Robson (ex Spec Op Clem
Robson's ex missus) and Andrea Wiestra (Royal Canadian Signals),
both of whom ' peek' but I have not yet persuaded to go all the
way, (by contibuting). Nay lass, tha's nowt occasional about tha',
tha's 100% 'Reet Gradeley', dunna know about Clivicus but tha'
brings me out in Hot sweats.
right then, so long as I am 'one of t'lads', I feel well
Some of the army wives were a bit snobby about me. I remember
one do we had in the cookhouse and one lad spoke to me and his
wife told him off for talking to to such 'trash' as me. Then
others felt it was a shame that I was alone with all you men and
said I could join them on the ‘Wives Nights’ which was so kind.
I was no threat to any woman's man, I was a good catholic girl I
was, (so my priest said when I
If you are at the reunion at Koeniglutter next month, look up
Robbie McCallum and Ron Mason (God help you all that they will
be there together for the first time in over 30 years, lock up
the ladies..) they know me and old Gypo
find summat to annoy thee, cos I am the proverbial
pain 't rectum. I honestly cannot
EVER remember seeing a Hausefrau, or even a Wife at Langeleben,
how things changed in a short space of time. Without prejudice,
I'll bet ow't that it wanna a SIGGIES WIFE! Or at least, not
unless tha'd been giving tha' Gina Lollo whatsits air room!
I never really came across wives, at least not in the way that
could be interpreted, until I went to Birgelin and then I met
very few that were ' Snobby'. If you met any ' OPPOSITION'
' , It was probably because they were
jealous, tha's a comely wench!
I always remeber a certain Occifers wife at
Scharf, who reminded me that ' Ladies Glow, Horses perspire and
soldiers sweat '.
Without the NAAFI Lasses, Quarancs, WRAC ET AL, WE POOR LITTLE
SODS COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED. Just put your 'Super Slapper '
down as all Fur Coat and now't else underneath. I doubt I'll Get
much opposition when I say you lasses were t'salt of the earth.
I am sorry
Marlene but I am a bit confused. Who was the forward looking
Priest who was willing to marry you to Olive? Was that before or
whilst you were married to Clive, if before, I hope that you got
a proper divorce. These menages a trois can be SO difficult.
it was Clive, before the surgeon did his little trick and
grafted on one of JR's sausages. Or could it be that Mo the
Mighty is really Popeye in disguise?
it,Hudson dropped into vernecular(and verneculee),even Tom is
talking about non existent horses, I'm orf to count the ducks in
Dinton pastures and make sur they are all in a row.
Oh Shorep the
Mighty, was't talkin' about ' Vernacular '? If so I dont think
that Verniculee applies to whosoever you were indicating. On
t'other hand, coulds't tha' have meant Funiculý, FuniculÓ? Which
is a famous song written by Italian journalist Peppino Turco and
set to music by Italian composer Luigi Denza in 1880. It was
composed to commemorate the opening of the first funicular on
. It was sung for the first time in the Quisisana Hotel in
Castellammare di Stabia
and met with huge success. It was presented by Turco and Denza
to celebrate ‘Piedigrotta's Day’ during the same year.
Piedigrotta (meaning, literally, at the foot
of the grotto), a section of the Mergellina quarter of
. It was so-called due to the presence of the Church of
the Madonna of Piedigrotta near the entrance to an ancient Roman
tunnel. The area was also well-known for a yearly festival,
which gave rise to a song writing competition leading to the
commercial birth of the popular Neapolitan Song.
La La, La La, Dumty dumpty dum, Funiculý, FuniculÓ etc. Just off
on me Ice Cream round,
Paul, you may
not have seen my previous post where I told the story (true)
that poor Clive was christened ‘Olive’ by a shortsighted vicar
and we found out just prior to the wedding when we applied for
the certificate. Don't talk to me about those ‘menages a trois’,
those little peas are the devil to pick up with your fork!
Just to say ‘hello’ Marlene (and Clive), at long last, I have
enjoyed reading all your comments although when I was at
Langeleben in 56-57 we did not have a NAAFI let alone a NAAFI
girl!! You mentioned at one stage wives looking down on you but
I do not think that had anything to do with you being NAAFI or
German but some wives are just like that. A case is point is
that on my last posting to
during the Turkish invasion our RSM died of a brain tumour and
the CO Lt COL H Johnstone said I had to take over as RSM. At the
time I was WO1(Supervisor Radio) 2i/c
in the Ops Block. When my boss Stan Brice pointed out to the CO
that it should be an RD type who took over he was told in no
short terms that the CO wanted me to do it.
At first my wife had a hell of a job from some of the wives who
kept telling her that it must be great for her that I was RSM
and not their husbands until she pointed out that I was already
getting paid more than an RSM and in fact it was a come down for
me and that put them straight. I must admit that I had no
trouble at all from the husbands although I could understand how
It was unfortunate that during my 22 years I found that some
wives took more note of ranks than their husbands did and, more
to the point. thought the rank was theirs.
Anyway Marlene that is life but from your postings on this site
it has not bothered you too much.
that and I totally see where you are coming from and as you say
"some wives took more note of ranks than their husbands did and
more to the point thought the rank was theirs." That must be
exactly it. You see it in footballers/cricketers wives and so on
and I agree it happens in the forces too.
Firstly I think too that one can be judged on what they do as a
job and judged accordingly. without
incriminating any NAAFI girl in particular, I know that 'some'
had a name for themselves which can happen in all walks of life.
I was always mindful of this and count myself lucky to be in
Langeleben with a team of gentlemen who took "no" as "no" and
treated me with the respect they would have accorded to a loved
sister if you catch my drift. We had a great time as a result!
The night I am talking about where ONE wife took the attitude
she did and wouldn't allow her husband to talk to me, I guess
she was worried about him. He was one person who was most
definately not like the other gentlemen of Langeleben and
constantly made a pest of himself. Maybe he gave her cause to be
how she was, who knows..
The wives in the main were lovely and they often held their
wives club in the social area of the Naafi and knowing I didn't
get much female company even invited me to join them. My Naafi
Manageress wouldn't allow it as she said they had never invited
her so why should I go..so I had to
refuse. Remember I was only 20.
You know all of my memories of the men in Langeleben are
wonderful, I have NO bad memories connected with any man there
and judging by the lovely men on this forum and in the guestbook,
nothing has changed. But some of the English women I encountered
there were very strange in behaviour. It was a little like this
too (Roman Barracks). Maybe it's me
Thanks for replying and identifying; it helps a lot.
as you say it hasn't bothered me too
much.. I married one of the best and we have been very happy for
35 years this year. Can't ask for more.
Wunda Wumman, I gather from your comments that you never lived
in 'Married Pads'. The phrase ‘all fur coat and no knickers’
springs readily to mind.
My first ' Put Down', was at 225 Scharfoldendorf.
Myself, Screw Crofts, Drew Duncan
and, I think, Bob McReady had been out a Cross Country training
run. As we emerged from the woods onto the 'Pads road', we came
upon a horserider whose mount was 'lathering' and the female
rider was perspiring profusely. I made the comment that they
looked as sweaty as we did, to be told: Soldier, Horses and
other ranks sweat, Gentleman perspire and Ladies Glow.
My only addendum is that this was not a R Signal wife and she
sweated, and anyone who was at Scharf in the mid 60's will
probably know who I am on about
Other than said wench, the only P I A, (Pain in the 'arris) was
a male I Corps WO2, who I had the misfortune to live next door
to at Birgelen. He was an Enigma, named Strachan, pronounced
Straun and like a Pelican or Zebra, cross at your peril! (You’ve
mentioned him before.ed)
Just beating tha' in the marital stakes, Octember 6th and me and
Senior Management will have done 39 years. Now wait for the TOGS
to go int treble figures!