Beef Island 1968

Hello I was one of the lucky ones to be sent over to the Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands in 1968.
We left Waterbeach in March & sailed from Southampton on the "Sir Galahad" and spent 9 months there extending the runway.

I would love to hear from anyone who was there when I was.
I am still in touch with Derrick (Tess)Tester, but that is all

Squadron: 

Comments

I happened to see this reference to Beef Island when I was looking up BVI on Google. I was commissioned as a Sapper but transferred to RAPC. I was the Paymaster on Exercise Treasure Island from start to finish.

I have run across one or two 'veterans' over the years. I see that there is to be a second major redevelopment on top of the original Tarras runways that we laid.

My late Father Peter (Harold) Gruncell was stationed there with the REME detachment servicing the Sappers vehicles & plant. I've still got some local stamp first day covers that commemorate the RE building the runway.

I was also on beef island in 1969 As an electrician RE but spent most of my time walking with a Bomag roller on the airstrip Great time !, especially times in roadtown.

Dave coates

hello tess rember chaff

Dave, I too walked with a Bomag until I made it to the workshop.
Nice to hear that beef island is still remembered.
Bob Solly

I too was one of the lucky ones, posted to paradise to build an airstrip, remember you Tony and Tess, along with most of the others in MT Troop. Remember when the Brathwaite tank collapsed??

Hi guys, can anyone remember Stan Flude? I'm his son and would love to hear from anyone that knew him before that day in July. Cheers folks.

I was a surveyor/engineer attached to the airfield squadron on Beef Island December 1968 until June 1969 when an AVRO 748 delivered me (and the ice machine) to Anguilla to join the my home squadron 33 Field and 1st Para. for the "liberation" of the island. Only thing we liberated was Johnny's rum shop in the Valley. Anyway, yes I remember the Brathwaite tank collapse, hell of a noise, Dave, (draftsman & part time barber at the Treasure Island) my tent mate was in bed with a migriane headache, he hit the deck wrapped in his mosquito net. He had recently returned from Cyprus and in his daze probably surmised that the EOKA terrorists were up to their old tricks. I did a stint as DJ at ZBVI Road Town on Sundays at noon, that was fun. You may remember old Carty, he had a bar in a shack they called a control tower, he used to tell about poking holes in the puddles to drain them on the old dirt runway, the flag pole outside his bar was home to our level control bench mark. The Pelican club on the bluff overlooking Trellis Bay was our local watering hole, there was a french restaurant on Bellami Cay in the bay that was real expensive, but the owned did not mind if you spent an hour with a bowl of french onion soup as long as there were no yachtsmen waiting for a table. The Bomag roller guys were an inspiration, keeping the machines off the rails and working tirelessly all day, the Tarrus (rapidly cooled igneous rock) was tough to control because the moisture content would go wild from one batch to the next. One funny story that I learned from Harry Went, the Tortola Public Works manager told me the night before I left for Anguilla was about the Sir Galahad having to offload everything on MEXIFLOTEs, (looks like cobbled together HAFB pontoons). Someone, a refugee from the Pelican Club, "borrowed" a huge vechicle from the MT compound and went on a bender in Road Town across the Queen Elizabeth ll bridge. Harold told me that the width of the bridge had disqualified it as a transport route by the guys doing the initial recce (From the Treasure Island) for the landing but the weight class was good. Anyway for you folks dealing with the MEXIFLOTE transfer, it took a very happy squaddie to proof the route to Road Bay. Hurrah for the CRE!