Want to read a book by a 59er? About his whole life - warts and all - including plenty of "days with the dagger" stuff? If you want the hardback signed copy, just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Try reading this - I have not read a book that I wanted to continue reading for quite a while. Life tends to take over and the book that you have good intentions of reading, is gathering dust with the rest of half read ones on the book shelf. Heart of a Lamb Courage of a Lion got me gripped on the very first page. I knew by reading the first line, this book was going to be raw, and 'honest' I was not disappointed. I did try to put it down and failed miserably!..I took it on my train journey, giggling to myself at parts that are just typical squaddie humour..Other parts brought a tear to my eye. I did actually look around at my fellow passengers and had the urge to shout 'You really need to read this' It was a roller coaster of a ride when it came to emotions..Every chapter ended with me wanting more. Cleverly written so it will appeal to all. I am so looking forward to Bob's next book, I for one will be rushing out to buy it.
Thank you for writing this powerful and insightful book. I am sure it will help others in the future to deal with their demons and it will certainly give the people who have no personal experience with PTSD a real case study to enable them to become better at understanding the true horror of trauma and its after effects that can, if not dealt with, destroy their future.
Highly recommended read, Just remember, once you pick it up, it is near impossible to put back down.
Here's an interesting history page for you 59 folks - http://59sqnhistory.blogspot.com/
History of 59 Commando Sqn.
By John Lewis and Dennis Shaw in 59 Commando
A collection of information from The internet
1940“If we are to have any campaign in 1941 it must be amphibious in its character and there will certainly be many opportunities of minor operations all of which will depend on surprise landings of lightly equipped mobile forces accustomed to work like packs of hounds. For every reason therefore we must develop the storm troop or commando idea. I have asked for 5,000 parachutists and we must also have at least 10,000 of these small “bands of brothers” that will be capable of lightning action.The concept of a ‘Commando’ force, as an integral part of the British Army, was the brainchild of Major J C Holland – Royal Engineers, part of GS(R) in the War Office
1940.The Commando Units were formed into Independent Companies, consisting of many RE’s.As the war progressed, the Commando’s specialised in Amphibious operations and lessons learnt from their experiences, provided knowledge for Operation Overlord – Amphibious Assault in Normandy.
1963 Nov Gillman Barracks and Singapore.
1965 Dec Singapore main Base Re-titled Cloutman Barracks.
1971 Mar Condor Troop was conceived in March 71, to become 4 Troop, under Command of Captain David Hillard. It was changed to Condor, to become a "Scottish" Troop, taking its name from the Base.Just like "The Dirty Dozen" film, David Hillard could personally select his troop, from those passing the All Arms Commando Course, to form the very first all Commando Engineer Troop, which would be based 400 miles away in Arbroath, Scotland.The last member to join the Troop, as it prepared to leave for Arbroath, was Sapper Ray Elliott, who had spent 3 months Trade Training, as the Troop Fitter Commando Training was started in 1970, mainly volunteers intially.By early 1971, an extra Troop was required, to support 45 Commando RM. These were drawn from BAOR volunteers, presently undertaking the Commando training, this troop became Condor Troop. Based in Arbroath with 45 Commando RM.2 Troop, which became known as Malta Troop, was the next fully Commando Troop.Initially, the volunteers who formed the first two troops, had to forsake their original Trades, to cover Combat Engineers roles, to fulfill the Troop quoters.Later, the Squadron could become more selective in their choices of men and trades.Filing roles such as Clerks, became difficult.Those who had served with 59 Fd Sqn and did not want to become Cdo, were posted out.As more volunteered for the RE Cdo Course, the failure rate on the Beat-up at 29 Cdo RA, became alarmingly high.There was no set schedule to become Fully Green Beret.The Squadron moved as fast as possible, to get as many through the Cdo Course.By December 1973, over 95% of the Squadron was Green Beret, all Blue Beret had been shed and the Squadron went 'light' by the 5%.Getting REME and ACC through the Cdo course was extremely difficult, so the Squadron had to retain those un-willing to do the Cdo Course.
1971 Malta Troop 4 New Air Portable Landrovers were collected from Donnington and driven to Stonehouse Bks.A new Air Portable Medium Girder Bridge was also collected, to be trialled.HMS Bulwark, loaded with 42 Cdo RM & 2 Troop RE, plus the Landrovers and new Bridge, sailed for Cyprus.Whilst sailing in the Med, towards Malta, a flash message was received, "The Maltese Prime Minister - Dom Mintoff, did not require British Troops anymore, having a good offer from the Libyans".HMS Bulwark was refused permission to dock and sailed away - just over the horizon, to wait. The RAF and Families were asked to leave and did.Only a Detachment of the 'The Rifles' remained, as Rear Guard.A Troop of Marines, plus 2 Troop were flown off Bulwark by helicopter, landing un-announced on LUCA Airfield, during the early hours.2 Troop were tasked with mining the airfield and dug-in around the Airfield Barracks., whilst the Marines put a cordon around the Airfield.The British Government then negotiated with Prime Minister Mintoff, stating that Malta had nothing of importance to interest Libya.stalemate ended. 1971 20th SeptemberAn advance party from Condor Troop, left Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth, England.This consisted of:Staff Sergeant Stephen Pickles - Landrover & trailer.Sergeant John Gray - travelling with the landrover.Corporal Jimmy Evans (G1098 storesman) - made his own way by car.The advance party arrived in Arbroath, to pave the Tour of Kansas 1971 Lulworth Cove exercise with HMS Fearless 1972 - N. Ireland - Girdwood Park 1973 Tour Kansas Milford Lake project
1973 Spr Russell. While training for the Commando course tried to cross a swollen stream but was washed down stream and drowned, his rifle was found three days later.
1974 When Joe Hogan arrived in Plymouth Railway Station, he phoned the Squadron to ask for transport and was promptly told "It is only a short run to the base - DO NOT be late for Parade", he has never forgotten his Welcome to 59 Indep Cdo sqn RE!!On arrival at Block 6 in Seaton Barracks, he had just enough time to change into his Boots / Denims and Red Vest, leave his kit in the Block entrance and run to the Parade Ground, then straight off on his first run round Looseliegh, accompanied by:Mick Melia - later a Welder in Sp trp - he died at Goose Green with H. Jones. Brummy Buchan - later a Driver with MT - he died in a car accident. Steve (Taff) Stokoe - later 1 TrpAlan Kearns - later MT in Sp TrpChalkie White - later Sp Trp Joe Stoddart - later 2 Trp - he was WO1 on the course, later Diving School.Peter Berladyn - later 1 Trp - he died in car accident.Peter (Jock) Smith - later MTGinge ??? - he failed the courseBenyon Stocken - REME WkspsThe Beat-up staff at Crownhill Fort was: Sgt Jock Gray and L/Cpl Geordie Wilkinson. 1974 - 2 Troop MaltaBuilding the Main Lodge in Lindsay Valley, also assisting 41 Cdo RM.
1975 Jan Kenya - Exercise Mousetrap January 1975 - April 1975Deployed to Nairobi - the Mattatea Valley, 200km North of Nairobi.Squadron Task - Build a Murrum surfaced road in the hillside.66 Plant Squadron was attached in Support of the Squadron.2 Troop was in Malta and Condor Troop in Arbroath
1976 Castle Dillon Northern Ireland
1977 Condor Troop Antrim NI
1978 31st Mar 131 Independant Commando Squadron (V)Cdo Status from 31st March1978 1979 1 Troop in Norway 1980 Jack Netfan Me Nigel bridges (condor Tp chief clark) and others got lost and getting worried because we had no overnight gear. So we just kept on going during the night. I suggested that we needed to get up to higher ground so we could get our bearings. Got to the top but could not see over the edge so, I gingerly got closer, with visions of the snow giving way and me with it. Whatever, I saw a light in the valley below and a mountain road down. That’s when it got scary because the road was iced up and as you know you cant snow plough on ice. Well you can, but you don’t slow down or stop Now the bad things about mountain roads is they have bends in em. So you get the choice, throw yourself off your skies or do a eddie the e...agle edwards over the edge. Had to do that several times and each time bits of kit got strung out everywhere during the skids and tumbles . You round up your gear and of down again. By luck and good fortune we made it down ok. went to the norgie (light) house who contacted the squadron to pick us up (embarrassing) they had the search parties out looking for us. In hindsight we probably should have followed our tracks back down to where the squadron last camped. Whatever, when your in trouble you go down not up. To be honest I never quite mastered navigation. I could set a compass bearing and follow it. Did it once on dartmoor (I think it was on a NCO carder )and after a 6 hour jomp, most of it in the dark arrived at the torr we were supposed to get to. Problem was, I lost count of paces, so never knew if I was there or not. Another problem I had was not noting the boggy ground on the map, which is why we kept falling into holes up to our knees :). Fair play to the guys, no one complained. We did get to the tor dead on our legs and pissing it down (understatement) and not knowing we were on the right tor; I took the guys down thinking we would get better shelter. In the morning we were woken up by our alarm clock, to find we had crashed out in a area that turned into a stream. :) Then Sgt paddy turned up pointing to the torr where we should be. :( What could I say, sorry sarge don’t count on me it you want guys to be at the right place and time and stay there even if it does rain. I don’t want to sound to jokey about it because I have been reading up on the Falkland’s and peoples lives depended on getting it exactly right. I do spare a thought for the guys that have that kind responsibility where even basic mistakes can have dire consequences ,add to that judgments that have to be made under physical and psychological stress and that’s a hell of a load to carry. It may surprise 59 ers to hear that I am quite proud to tell folk, I was in my honest opinion one of the worst of the best. Its great that this Facebook thing is providing me with the opportunity to thank all the guys I served with from the top down and sideways.
1980 Forkhill Northern Ireland
1981 - Woodlands School, PlymouthTasked with building a mini Assault Course and Death Slide 1981 2 Troop 1981 - Greenham Common - International Air Tattoo.Tasked with erecting, maintaining and stripping out the Public facilities at the show.
1982 - Exercise Grand PrixLearning Jungle Warfare techniques, Field Firing, Platoon Tactics and giving Engineering Support to the Battalion. Falklands War
1982 1st April 1982Major Mike Norman RM, formally took control of the Falklands Garrison, from Major Gary Noott RM.At 15.30hrs that day the Island Governor Mr Rex Hunt, showed the Officers a message from London - "An Argentine invasion fleet will be off Cape Pembrokeat first light tommorow. It is highly likely they will invade. You are to make appropriate dispositions".2nd April 1982At 09.30hrs the Island Governor informed London, that they "Have lots of new friends".The Invasion force had landed, thousands of troops supported by Naval ships.Margeret Thatcher organised an urgent meeting of all Forces.The Falkland Islands would have to be taken back, a large force would have to set sail quickly, but are not expected to fight, as Argentine would back down.Being 8000 miles away, Air cover would be paramount, the 'Jump Jet' Harriers would serve this purpose well.There were no standing plans for such an operation, this would be left to ingenuity, flexibility and determination to succeed !!!At 03.00hrs that morning, Major Roderick Macdonald was phoned to attend an urgent meeting, on arrival he found the room littered with maps of the Falkland Islands.The Brigadier explained the situation and instructed 59 Indep Cdo Sqn RE to deploy to sea within 72 hours.59 Cdo Squadron had just returned from Norway, most were home on leave.All leave was cancelled, men away on trade courses, or at meetings abroad, were all called back.Vehicles and equipment were still being brought home from Norway.The next 3 days were frantic, un-packing and re-packing, then un-packing again, to change to containers for loading on ships.Even at this early stage, it was deemed that normal vehicles would not be able to operate on the Falklands, due to the terrain and boggy grounds.Each man would have to carry his own personal equipment, plus weapons and stores.Engineer stores were despatched from Central stores and loaded onto ships - Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, HMS Hermes, MV Elk and Atlantic Conveyor.Stores were being loaded, even as the ships were making ready to leave.5th April 1982The Squadron embarked on Sir Percivale and Sir Lancelot at 14.00hrs iin Southampton.Sir Galahad left Plymouth with 196 men of the Squadron.The first few days were to settle-in aboard ship and set-up routines.The Officers met regularly, to check on latest news available, to organise physical routines, the squadron has to be fit to fight.More concerting was the lack of transport, men would have to carry massive kit loads and be ready to breach minefields.Emphasis was placed on the Quarter Master staff to design a fighting order kit to suit each man, giving them the flexibility to operate as Engineers, but also as fighting Infantry as required.All known types of Mines that Argentine had used in the past, plus a 'crash' course of all types of mine warefare was taught to every man. Along with weapon training and cleaning, getting to know the new Kit layout, nothing was left to chance. Aircraft recognition, Medical training, Weapons, Mine warfare lessons, physical exercise took over and kept the men busy every day.As the ships sailed into stormy waters, troops fought against sea-sickness, training was important and could save their lives, if they had to fight to take the Falkland Islands back.Most believed this was a waste of time, the fleet would turn back after a few days, the Argentines would back down. But still the ships sailed on.Accommodation was very cramped, three tier high bunks, with only 2 feet of head room, only lying down or leaning to oneside was possible. With only 2 feet between each tier of bunks, space was very limited and the temperature was tropical, with so many bodies crammed into such a small area.Meals were served in metal "doggy" style dishes, main course one side, dessert the other side, perfect, until the sea was rough, causing the flat bottomed ships to roll and pitch, then the treacle sponge pudding, slopped over into the main course, landing on top of the sausage and mash - Oh! well!! it all goes down the same way.By the 17th / 19th April, the ships had travelled nearly 4000 miles and were closing with Ascension Island, the staging post.Detailed gridden maps had arrived, including up to date info on the Islands.Plans had been discussed, on how to attack the islands, which included backing landing ships into Douglas Harbour, on a full frontal attack.Most plans were scrapped thankfully, due to lack of Artillery support, helicopter availability and Air cover.The Crucial Landing Plan was still a way off.So thoughts were put to Cross-decking troops and equipment, each troop of the squadron, would be attached to various Infantry Units, they had to be with these Units on landing, to help with mine warfare and obstacle clearance. 1982 29th April - Ascension Island.A British possession, 4250 miles from Britain, 3800 miles to the Falklands and 1200 miles from West Africa.A volcanic outcrop Island, measuring only 62 square miles.It is known for its Breeding of Sooty Terns, commonly known as "Wideawake".The Island became known as Wideawake Island and during this Operation, it lived up to its name. The airfield was normally handling 3 flights per week, now it was handling 400 flights per day!!Troops came ashore to practise Landing under full kit and to use the Firing Ranges. Practise, practise, going down ship cargo nets to the landing craft, then getting ashore quickly.Weights were adjusted, to find the perfect load capacity and layout, to permit moving distances, fighting all the way.With no capacity on the Island, for men to stay, they moved back to the ships for meals and sleeping. Some troops never even had a chance to land, they were trapped on-board.The Island was quickly becoming a massive Stores dump, Food, Equipment and ammunition.Options for Attacking were constantly being planned and changed, as more news filtered in from the SAS & SBS on the Islands.Ships were converted to accept helicopters, or have Machiune guns mounted to the railings.Thousands of sandbags were filled and put on ships for landing. Posted by 59Sqnhistory at 4:55 PM 0 comments Tuesday, January 25, 2011 Pride of Britain Award 2006 Special Recognition59 Independent Commando Squadron RE The widespread devastation and loss of life following the catastrophicearthquake in South Asia in 2005 was enormous.Up to 75,000 people lost their lives; roads, water and power supplies were obliterated; hundreds of thousands of people from Afhanistan to Western Bangladesh were left homeless.Among the worst hit areas was Pakistan - administered Kashmir, homes were annilated and the mountain regions were cut-off, whilst they scrambled to find people, bury their dead and ward off hunger and disease.With the bitter Winter approaching, it was vital that the International Community acted fast.Among the NGO's and expert teams, 76 members of 59 Indep. Commando Squadron arrived in the Bagh region to bring Aid and help rebuild communities.With the help of 10 Royal Marines, the team helpedensure local people receivedthe Medical treatment they required, by building 17 Health Centres - including one for the World Health Organisation.Determined to ensure youngsters could continue their education, they also built 30 large School Shelters, including one to replace a Girls School, 6000 feet above sea level.Despite the Sub-zero temperatures and high altitude, they distributed food and clothing to remote areas, during the 10 weeks the team were there.During the return from one Mountain area, the team came across an 11 vehicle Aid convoy, trapped behind a 'jack-knife' lorry, all vehicles were perilously close to the edge of a sheer drop. Using their 4-wheel drive vehicles and their experience, the team moved the Aid vehicles to safety and opened the road, for further Aid vehicles to flow through.GOAL Chief Executive John O'Shea stated "The assistance of the British Armymeant we could get on with delivering essential supplies, to the most vulnerable in earthquake-ravaged Bagh, we are in-debited to the British Army".Commander of the Disaster Relief Team in Pakistan - Air Vice Marshall Andrew Walton CBE, stated the Squadron's work was essential in the reconstruction project.Secretary of State for Defence - Des Browne stated "The outstanding work they did in helping the devasted people of Kashmir, is a shining example of all that is best about our Military".He further added "The headlines are understandably dominated by stories of our troops dedication and courage in battle - and when called opon to battle, they are un-surpassable. Behind the headlines, our people are even busier saving lives, with the same quiet professionalism and determination".The actions of 59 Indep. Commando Squadron Engineers, typifies this spirit and reminds us why our Forces make us all so proud. Posted by 59Sqnhistory at 5:43 AM 0 comments Sunday, February 7, 201059 Squadron converted to 59 Independent Commando Squadron, carrying forward the Squadron Infrastructure.59 Squadron existed with:1, 2, & 3 Troops, Support Troop, Squadron Headquarters and REME LAD.Commando Training was started in 1970, mainly volunteers intially.By early 1971, an extra Troop was required, to support 45 Commando RM. These were drawn from BAOR volunteers, presently undertaking the Commando training, this troop became Condor Troop. Based in Arbroath with 45 Commando RM.2 Troop, which became known as Malta Troop, was the next fully Commando Troop.Initially, the volunteers who formed the first two troops, had to forsake their original Trades, to cover Combat Engineers roles, to fulfill the Troop quoters.Later, the Squadron could become more selective in their choices of men and trades.Filing roles such as Clerks, became difficult.Those who had served with 59 Fd Sqn and did not want to become Cdo, were posted out.As more volunteered for the RE Cdo Course, the failure rate on the Beat-up at 29 Cdo RA, became alarmingly high.There was no set schedule to become Fully Green Beret.The Squadron moved as fast as possible, to get as many through the Cdo Course.By December 1973, over 95% of the Squadron was Green Beret, all Blue Beret had been shed and the Squadron went 'light' by the 5%.Getting REME and ACC through the Cdo course was extremely difficult, so the Squadron had to retain those un-willing to do the Cdo Course. Posted by 59Sqnhistory at 3:18 PM 0 comments Friday, January 1, 2010Seaton Barracks 1974When Joe Hogan arrived in Plymouth Railway Station, he phoned the Squadron to ask for transport and was promptly told "It is only a short run to the base - DO NOT be late for Parade", he has never forgotten his Welcome to 59 Indep Cdo sqn RE!!On arrival at Block 6 in Seaton Barracks, he had just enough time to change into his Boots / Denims and Red Vest, leave his kit in the Block entrance and run to the Parade Ground, then straight off on his first run round Looseliegh, accompanied by:Mick Melia - later a Welder in Sp trp - he died at Goose Green with H. Jones.Brummy Buchan - later a Driver with MT - he died in a car accident.Steve (Taff) Stokoe - later 1 TrpAlan Kearns - later MT in Sp TrpChalkie White - later Sp TrpJoe Stoddart - later 2 Trp - he was WO1 on the course, later Diving School.Peter Berladyn - later 1 Trp - he died in car accident.Peter (Jock) Smith - later MTGinge ??? - he failed the courseBenyon Stocken - REME WkspsThe Beat-up staff at Crownhill Fort was:Sgt Jock Gray and L/Cpl Geordie Wilkinson. Posted by 59Sqnhistory at 4:17 AM 1 comments Wednesday, October 28, 2009The Commando Idea was Born ARMY COMMANDOThe term Commando originates from the South African War of 1899-1902. The Boers had no regular forces, apart from the Staat Artillery, which was officered by Dutch and Germans and their Police. Consequently they raised bands of men based on electoral districts.They were called Commandos and each man was responsible for providing his own horse and received no pay or uniform. Commando tactics were marked by lightning strikes on the British Forces, with the Boers fading away into the veldt before the British could react.Although by October 1900, the British had virtually defeated the Boers in the field, it was the activities of the Commandos, who would not surrender, which would cause the war to drag on for a further 18 months. Little note was taken of the Boer method of fighting, it was merely considered guerrilla warfare, in which regular armies did not indulge.In 1940 Sir Winston Churchill was concerned that an offensive spirit must be fostered of the already formed independent companies and wrote the following to the Chief of Staff:The Commando Idea was born. June 3rd 1940“The completely defensive habit of mind, which has ruined the French, must not be allowed to ruin all our initiative. It is of the highest consequence to keep the largest numbers of German forces all along the coasts of the Countries that have been conquered, and we should immediately set to work to organise raiding forces on these coasts. Enterprises must be prepared with specially trained troops by the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror first of all on the butcher and bolt policy.
1982 Sapper P. K. GANDHI Killed in The Falklands Sapper Pradeep Gandhi will be remembered as the only Asian Hindu to be killed during the Falklands War. Goosey, as we called him,would have laughed at this. I first met him at our Royal Engineers’ Depot in Chatham when we were on our artisan courses, and he was a great lad. He was a soldier first, then a Sapper. From Chatham, he went on to complete his commando course with the Royal Marines at Lympstone and was awarded his coveted Green Beret. He was then posted to 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers in Plymouth,and soon deployed to the Falklands. His unit immediately dug into the peat hillside for better protection from the Argentinean Sky Hawk Jets strafing the Bay. During these attacks, you were as likely to catch a bullet from one of your own, with so much fire going into the air. Goosey was big and strong, and had his machine gun up defending his mates and firing at the aircraft. It was during one of these attacks that a bomb dropped close to his fighting position and Goosey was buried under a load of peat. He was quickly attended to and his head and face were uncovered. As another attack came in, his helmet was placed over his head to offer some protection. When the attack was over, Goosey was dug out of his fighting position. Unfortunately, he had died during the previous attack. His name, besides being on the main memorial, is also on the Royal Engineers’ Memorial on the top of Sapper Hill overlooking Port Stanley. Goosey won’t be remembered as an Asian Hindu, he wouldn’t want to be, he will always be remembered as a Sapper and a friend. I ran towards the trench as the two planes C-207 and C-212 from Flight “Pocker” swooped in very low. (The two planes can be seen in the attached photo montage). So low in fact I can clearly see the underbelly of the first plane. We charge at each other like Bighorn rams during rutting season, them at 300/400 knots and me at a somewhat slower mad dash. It was a race to the death, mine. As I neared the trench I watched as they released all eight of their bombs. White parachutes on the tails of the retarded bombs opened in order to slow down their fall to allow the planes to get away before the bombs exploded. I had one final look at the bombs floating down towards me as I slid into the trench; my only thought was “oh fuck”. My body went numb as the shock of the explosions hit me. Debris, shrapnel, and equipment flew everywhere and the trench caved in burying me alive. As a side note, time really does slow down during traumatic events. However it is as if two versions of the same event are happening simultaneously. One is happening in real time and the other seems to be in slow motion as the event is recorded onto your brain, bloody weird. It was pitch black and except for the loud ringing in my ears, it went very quiet and very peaceful. After what seemed an eternity I felt rather than heard scrabbling above me. Stevo Saunders, Joe Laverick, and Harry the Head began digging me out using their hands and their mess tins. There may have been more that helped, but I cannot remember who. They managed to get my head uncovered, my eyes, ears and mouth were full of muddy peat and blood was trickling down the back of my throat, I spat it out and shouted “Fucking Spik Bastards”, which brought about howls of laughter from the lads digging me out. There was a cry of alarm and someone shouted “here they come again”. A tin helmet was placed on my head and everyone retired to their trenches for safety. It was terrifying, buried with just my head sticking out, unable to move and waiting helplessly for another attack. Thankfully there was none and the lads returned and dug me out. The attacks killed a total of eight including my friend Goosy Gandhi and injured 26 others including Chris Walker and myself from 2 troop. Goosy took the full force of the blast and suffered massive blast injuries. He was slumped half in and half out of our trench; he was still breathing but was barely alive. Stevo, Harry, Danny Daniels, and Al Pearson used an old five bar gate as an improvised stretcher to get Goosy to the medical aid post, he was pronounced dead not long after.
John Maher Thursday 27th May 1982. The last few days saw the Argies continue with their air raids, but only during the days, which left you wanting the night fall to come as quick as it could. It was great to be on the ground and not sat on one of the ships. I had returned to the Sir Lancelot with a group of others to recover what kit, stores etc. that was needed. We had waited for night fall, boarded some of the small lcu boats and took to sea from Ajax bay. It was an eerie feeling coming along side abandoned Sir Lancelot and then climbing over its side. The 1,000lb was still sat on its resting position by the Sgt's mess and after 1st retracing your steps to the cabin decks below to recover your own personal kit, a view of this bomb was on the cards. The ship was in darkness and movement around was by torch. I entered the main galley corridor that had seen Danny McGeechan days earlier flee from his office as the bomb passed him by. I could see the hole where it passed through the toilets and beyond, there she lay.....Matt green with a yellow line around both ends. At first you were scared to blink in case you set the thing off and remembering what happened on the Antelope, a quick look was good enough. The RN bomb disposal guy was on board and was waiting for us to leave the ship before he started his work. I was told later that he diffused the bomb and had it thrown over the side. It was not the only bomb not to trigger and this was due to the bombs being dropped too low that the fuse never armed itself. On one hand you had the bravery of the Argie piolts who flew their planes so low to the water, which was avoiding the radars and the other the thought of what would have happened that day if the bomb had exploded and the Sqn allocation of PE4 which would have added to the firework show. The other strange fact was the story of the "Choggies" those guys who manned the LSL's, they had abandoned ship as well. I remember them serving food each day in their tin lids and life jackets once we crossed the exclusion zone. I am sure they had not expected to be bombed and shot at and it was a sorry sight watching them disappear in the night in a long line with one hand on the chap in front like the elephants in "Jungle Book". Some how they made it back to Ascension Island. Mean while I had now relocated from Ajax Bay to Port San Carlos and dug in yet again, this time close to some newspaper reporters on the slope of the hill. The days consisted of running to your trenches on Air Raid reds and the nights taking you turn on stag. It is amazing how alert you are on stag when it is the real thing. We had found a chicken pen in the settlement and at first light we would sneak down and recover a couple of eggs to add to our breakfast. Not sure if the farmer figured out why his hens were laying less eggs, but the omelettes were fantastic. Having settled into a routine, it was always great to bump into someone you knew and knowing some of the guys in 2tp 9 Para, helped pass the time. I was edging to get back with 2tp 59 who were dug in at San Carlos with 40 commando but that would happen soon, for now I remained at Port San Carlos. I watched 11 Squadron turn up after arriving with the 2nd wave and could not believe what I was seeing. They looked like lost tourists on holidays, walking around with their issued suitcase and kitbag's, not a Bergen or camouflage in sight. Welcome to the war boys. They were trained in airfields and despite losing most of their kit on the Atlantic Conveyor they soldiered on and did a great job. The news of the loss of Atlantic Conveyor was a shock as we were all awaiting this boat turning up with more Harriers and Chinooks and rations and ammo and everything that we needed, Oh well we had better get on with what we got. That afternoon the Paras left Port San Carlos for Goose Green, I gave farewells to my friends in 9 Para and the guys from Recce Tp 59. It was to be the last time I would see Mick Melia, he was Captain of our football team and I had got to know him well with our daily training prior to the war. He had come to the Squadron from 9 Para and looked the part, you know what I mean.... OG's and smock, moustache and grips and fit as a butchers dog. He would take the footballers for a run each morning and we would end up all over Plymouth in place I never knew existed, some mornings he would have his dogs with him and they would throw the towel in before we did. What a character and a great man, never to be forgotten. I can not explain what happened at Goose Green, but know there are a few on here that were there and maybe they will share with us the events of that day. R.I.P Mick
1982 June JONES, CHRISTOPHER. Sapper59 Independent Commando Squadron, Royal Engineers.Died Saturday 12 June 1982. Aged 19.Born Cinderford, Gloucestershire 21 August 1962.Son of Stanley and Evelyn Jones of Cinderford, Gloucestershire.Buried Yew Tree Break Cemetery, Cinderford, Gloucestershire.Grave Ref: Section J. Row J. Grave J.Christopher was educated locally at St. Anthony’s School from 1966 to 1973,then moving on to the Double View Secondary School until 1978. A keen CubScout at junior school, and then later on instead of becoming a Scout he joinedthe Army Cadet Force. A keen sportsman, he representing his school at rugby,cricket and cross-country. He also liked fishing and swimming, and played cricketfor a local club. On the completion of his civilian education, his full-time armyservice began in September 1978 at the Army Apprentices College, Chepstow.From there he went to the Corps of Royal Engineers at Chatham, volunteered forCommando training with the Royal Marines, gained his green beret without anyproblems, and was posted to 59 Independent Commando Squadron in Plymouth.Christopher was killed by mortar fire at Two Sisters, whilst attached to No. 45Commando, Royal Marines. Please also note brief additional details appertaingto No. 45 Commando, Royal Marines, at the brief commemoration of SapperPradeep Gandhi. Christopher’s body was evacuated from the battlefield andtemporarily interred at Teal Inlet. In November 1982, at the request of his parentshis remains were brought home to Cinderford, Gloucestershire, where he waslaid to rest near his family home. By Angus MacMillan I knew both well as was with Chris in Condor Troop and the battle of Goose Green on the night that Chris was killed. I knew Goosey as worked with him, Dave Wright etc when attached to 2 Troop as the Falklands broke out as I was training for the Snowdon Marathon for the Sqn Team. Chris was attached to X-Ray Company and was in Brian Fairbairn's Section. I was with Zulu Company and was only informed the next day when we met some other Condor lads. Des Brunton weas at his side when he died and knows more than all about that day. 1983 Jan Brunei Section of Condor Troop attached to 'Y' Company RM. 1983 Condor Troop Norway 1984 -Condor Troop Norway Exercise: Team Work Exercise: Avalanche Express Troop based at Dombas. 1985 Norway 1985 - CyprusSquadron deployment. Infantry & Adventurous Training.1986 Norway 1986 - Germany - Exercise Bold Guard 1987 49 Field Squadron (EOD)Cdo Status from 1987 1986 - Germany - Exercise Bold Guard1986 - Denmark - Exercise Blue Fox1987 - Exchange with Bavarian Engineers1987 - RAF Fourford - Sqn Tattoo1987 - Weymouth Bridge Camp 1987 Condor Troop Following the tour to Norway, Condor Troop was ordered to return to Plymouth and dis-banded, to become 3 Troop. 1991 Iraq 1998---Macedonia---Op. Upminster 1998---Crownhill Fort---Cloutman Day 2002 Afghanistan 2003---Iraq---Op. Telic 3 2006 Sept Afghanistan The deployment includes Bickleigh-based 42 Commando, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery from Plymouth's Royal Citadel, and 59 Commando Squadron based at Chivenor. 2008 1st April.... Title transfered to 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, based at Chivenor, Devon. 59 Indep Cdo Sqn, became 59 Commando Field Sqn, with 54 Sqn & 56 Sqn joining the ranks of 24 Cdo Engr Regiment. During 24 Engr Regiment history, 54 & 56 had worked closely with 24 Regiment, making them a good choice, also in keeping the Regiment's Squadrons in the '50's' 2009 Boxing Team Squadron QM's Jan 2006 ........Major PJ Leigh July 2004 ........Major I Sinclair July 2001 ........Major WG Wheeler March 1999 .....Major DA Diggins Nov 1997 ..........Captain JA Dunning April 1997 ........Captain G Howard April 1995 ........Major DP Neary April 1992 ........Major VB Jones April 1989 ........Major NE Winder MBE May 1986 .........Major MJ Smee MBE April 1983 ........Captain DR Barton Dec 1980 ..........Captain WD Edmunds MBE Nov 1978 ..........Major J CraigJan 1975 ...........Major D Stuart April 1972 .........Captain AJ Wilson April 1971 ..........Major T Kyte May 1968..........Captain B. Aldridge Squadron Sergeant Majors (SSM) WO2 Sept 2008 ..........JA Roberts April 2008 .........DG Howells April 2008.......... 59 Indep Cdo Sqn became 59 Cdo Field Sqn July 2006 ...........DG Howells May 2004 ...........I Murison Dec 2001 ............M Garcia MBE May 2000 ...........PJ Denham MBE Oct 1998 .............LM Wilson May 1997 ............AM Tustin MBE Dec 1995 .............AM Reddick June 1993 ............M Provan April 1991 ............DA Diggins March 1989 .........D Woods July 1988 .............MD Berrill Jan 1987 ..............C Bottrell Dec 1984 ..............RA Hugh Nov 1982 ..............PG Ellis QGM Aug 1981 ...............B Jones Jan 1979 ...............I Lougher May 1977 ..............S Pickles Jan 1975 ...............MJ Smee Jan 1973 ...............F Matterface (Punchy) Feb 1970 ...............WJ Morretta May 1968.............."Spreader" Hurst Officer Commanding July 2007 ..........Major N. Whitcombe June 2005 .........Major NJ Cribb July 2002 ..........Major JC Weedon April 2000 .........Major LH Williams Nov. 1997 ..........Major AS Dickenson Sept. 1995 .........Major AG Troulan Jan 1994 ............Major RJ Le Grys Jan 92 ................Major MP Carter Dec 1989 .............Major RC Hendicott Dec 1987 .............Major AB Kerr Feb 1986 .............Major MR Cambell July 1983 ............Major TG Hoddinott Dec 1980 .............Major R MacDonald June 1978 ...........Major R Lean-Vercoe Jan 1976 .............Major GW Field MBE Jan 1973 .............Major GA Hewish June 71 ...............Major GR Owens 1st April 1971 - 59 Field Squadron was Renamed 59 Independant Commando SquadronSept 1969 .............Major JB Grosvenor Sept 1967 ..............Major GW Preston-Jones MBE Aug 1965 ...............Major MG Roberts MBE Jan 1963 ................Major CA Bramwell 59 Field Squadron Re-formed in 1963.59 Field Squadron dis-banded in 1961 - Formed RSME Jan 1961 .................Major HP Cunningham Jan 1957 .................Major CT Holland Jan 1946 .................Major AE Arnold Nov 1945 .................Major RP Hutchinson Nov 1944 .................Major JA Price Feb 1944 ..................Major AJ Pittam June 1943 ................Major AP De T Daniel July 1940 .................Major De V Winkfield July 1940 .................Major D Cowie Sept 1939 .................Major AJ McDonaldNov 1937 ..................Major Chambers June 1937 .................Major EN Clifton Feb 1937 ...................Major FW Boggs March 1936 ..............Lt. Col. KN Crawford MC Aug 1932 ..................Major EA Robinson MCJan 1930 ..................Major SJ Armstrong Jan 1927 ...................Lt. Col AE Grassett DSO MC March 1924 ..............Captain G De C Findlay VC MC March 1922 .............Major AJ Dartington DSOSept 1921 .................Major MR Reynolds Jan 1921 ...................Captain HG Payne July 1921 ..................Major J Dove-Park DSOMay 1920 ................Major RA Mansel MCJan 1920 ..................Captain G DeC Findlay VC MC May 1919 .................Captain SharpJan 1919 ...................Lt. KG McLeanAug 1918 ..................Major D Fitzmaurice Dec 1917 ..................Major NC Cloutman VC Nov 1916 .................Captain DH Green May 1916 .................Captain ME MorganFeb 1915 ..................Lt. Col. JR White Dec 1914 ...................Captain WH Johnstone VC Jan 1912 ...................Major G Walker Oct 1900 ...................Lt EN Mozely May 1900 .................Captain HW Weeks Cloutman Award Year Awarded To 2006---------------------------- LCPL S ELEY 2005---------------------------- NOT AWARDED 2004 ----------------------------LCPL GD LLOYD 2003---------------------------- LCPL P MAKENZIE 2002 ----------------------------LCPL CD TAYLOR 2001---------------------------- LCPL L EVANS 2000-----------------------------LCPL S BRAMHALD 1999-----------------------------LCPL J McKEE 1998-----------------------------LCPL S ROGAN 1997-----------------------------LCPL R LATTER 1996-----------------------------LCPL P GILLIMORE 1995-----------------------------LCPL M McDOUGAL 1994-----------------------------LCPL T COONEY 1993-----------------------------LCPL J LEWIS 1992-----------------------------LCPL M GILL 1991-----------------------------LCPL W J PARTRIDGE 1990-----------------------------LCPL T GAUCI 1989-----------------------------LCPL B P MILLING 1988-----------------------------LCPL O N WARNER 1987-----------------------------LCPL C L JACKSON 1986-----------------------------LCPL A RIDOUTT 1985-----------------------------LCPL T WOODSIDE 1984-----------------------------LCPL C J BRODIE 1983-----------------------------NOT AWARDED 1982-----------------------------LCPL R GILLON 1981-----------------------------LCPL T SOUTH 1980-----------------------------LCPL S M BRADLEY 1979-----------------------------LCPL D J STANTON 1978-----------------------------LCPL G H GRIFFITHS 1977-----------------------------LCPL J P HOGAN 1976-----------------------------LCPL R D PACKER 1975-----------------------------LCPL D QUINN 1974-----------------------------LCPL J T DONNELY 1973-----------------------------LCPL D RANSON 1972-----------------------------LCPL J M LEWIS 1971-----------------------------LCPL D J FARMER 1970-----------------------------LCPL M TWIGG 1969-----------------------------LCPL M ELLERY Major Brett Mackay Cloutman VC MC RE Whilst serving with 59 Field Company RE, Major Cloutman was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation reads: "For most conspicuous bravery on November 6 1918, at Pont-Sur-Sombre, France, Major Cloutman, after reconnoitring the river crossing found the Quantes Bridge almost intact, but prepared for demolition. Leaving his party under cover he went forward alone, swam across the river and having cut 'leads' from the charges, returned the same way, despite the fact that the bridge and all approached thereto were swept by enemy shells and machine gun fire at close range. Although the bridge was blown up later in the day by other means, the abutments remained intact".