12 Squadron

12 Field Squadron and 55 Field Squadron, part of 28 Field Engineer Regiment, went from Korea to Christmas Island in 1956.

The email below was received on 8th December 2012 - can anyone help?

Hi. I signed up to your well organised site in an attempt to find out more about the 12th Independent Field Squadron RE’s, it is not mentioned on your site nor the Royal Engineers sites anywhere! The squadron went out to Christmas Island and helped to build the Air strip in 1956 and again in 1957/8 to build the Main Camp sewage system and started the constructing of the permanent wooden accommodation. They also saw all 5 Hyd/Atomic during that second tour. I did the Accommodation store with one other Sapper and a R.A.S.C driver. One reason for my interest is that I received a Commendation from the Grapple commander but have never known who recommended me for it. I can supply a copy of the commendation and photos of the time I was on the Island.

This commendation held me in good stead in getting a Civilian job as soon as I left the force. I joined the UKAEA and was a radiation worker for 32 years, plus the three bombs, you would think that I would  glow in the dark! I retired, in good health, when 52 years of age on a full pension and at 73 am still enjoying good health and the pension!

I was also at Farnborough ,3TRRE and went on to NCO Cadre in the mid 1950’s but am unable to be precise for I have mislaid my pay book after some 60 ish years. I have tried to get my service records, to no avail, any help in this direction would be appreciated. I also have photos of this time.

I didn’t get my first L/Cpl stripe until my return from Christmas Island and was posted to Barton Stacey, I don’t know who recommended me for that stipe either! I was a 9 year regular but as I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and I had joined before my eighteenth birthday I had the 3 year option to come out, which I did. I would like to know the Regiment I was with at Barton Stacey.

If you can give me any pointers I would appreciate it.


Cliff Barnard 


12 Sqn went to Christmas Island in mar 1958 as independent support of 36 Corps Engr Regt. They returned to Barton Stacey, in mar 1959, as part of 2 Bgde Gp, 3 Div. In Nov that year Sqn was reduced to a Cadre? In December 1960 they moved to Ripon.
With regard to obtaining your records, this is easily done. Follow the link provided and download the form. https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-your-own-... . I obtained my gradads records and he was in WWI so I am sure they have yours!

I served on the island from March 58 to March 59. I am just finishing my autobiography (part fact part fiction as I am 77 and memories fade) which deals on a very ordinary level with some of the life on the island. Nothing technical nor even accurately historical but nonetheless an account as true as I can remember. I shall try and upload some pictures.

In Jan 1958 38 Corps sailed in the Dunera for Christmas Island, witnessed all the bomb tests and left in December and went to Ripon. 36 Corps was NOT on the island in 1958, but may have replaced 38 Corps 1959. I was with 38 Corps from Mar 1957 to Feb 1959 in Osnabruck, Christmas Island and Ripon, where I was de-mobbed John Stopforth

Just published 'Christmas Island & Sam' on Kindle. My memories of the island brought into an autobiographic framework. May bring back memories (may find out where my memory slipped!) Author is John Smart.

There is a very good site called, "British military in Hameln", run by a German bloke called Arndt Wöbbeking from Hagenohsen, that's where we we had the fuel and ammo dump up on the hill. He has 12 Sqn. on his list, but no fotos, he would be happy to get any pics or stories to add to his page, believe me, it's really worth looking at, many of you must have seen him at parades or exercises taking pics. It's English and German, try it, Tony