The Argyll and Sutherland
Lemgo 1959 - 1962
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The advance party arrived in Germany on 20th October 1959 and were met at Herford Station by The Royal Hampshires. A lot of hard work was put in by the advance party and the Battalion got a very good hand-over from The Royal Hampshires. On 10th November the first Battalion leave party arrived and quickly got settled in at Stornoway barracks. The battalion joined 20th Armoured Brigade as an Armoured Infantry Battalion, with 9th Lancers and 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards as the tank regiments, A Sqn 14/20 Hussars drove the Bn’s Saracen APCs. The Battalion returned in four leave parties, and the month of November proved to be a difficult period with many people ''filling in" in different jobs. On 1st December the last leave party rejoined, and the battalion settled down to training with the tanks and A.P.C.s and a multitude of sports and competitions. During the winter all platoons spent a week at the battalion huts at Girkhausen, in the Harz mountains. Nearer home the two local training areas were continuously used for varying forms of exercises which included Ex "Snowdrop." This was part of a week's cadre for Platoon Commanders and NCOs, and included map reading, wireless and tactics, the second of which proved the name to be most appropriate as there were several inches of snow on the ground and the temperature was below freezing.
Aerial picture of Stornoway Barracks c2007
Raising the Regiment Parade 11 February 1960
The Battalion formed up on the Square with four guards of 75 men the Colour Party and both bands, and then marched through the streets of Lemgo to Saint Nikolai Kirche where a service was conducted by the Bn Padre, Rev. W. G. A. Wright, and the sermon preached by Padre G. Bennet from HG 1 (BR) Corps. After the service, the Battalion formed up again in the road and marched down the main street of Lemgo where the Burgermeister took the salute. A large crowd had gathered round the saluting base and along the main street, and obviously appreciated the colourful sight as both bands and the Colour Party were in No. 1 Dress and the remainder in Highland Dress. After the parade, the Burgermeister, the Town Clerk and the Chief of Police were entertained to lunch in the Officers' Mess. In the dining hall the Battalion were given a special lunch with beer. As a matter of interest— this was the first ceremonial parade that the Battalion had done since Oct 1957.
In February the Battalion went to the Sennelager training area for three weeks and much individual, section and platoon training was successfully carried out. Immediately on returning from Sennelager the Battalion had to provide a skeleton headquarters for a four-day Divisional Wireless exercise. For this exercise B Coy provided a platoon as enemy. At the same time B Coy had a platoon on detachment with the 9th Lancers in Denmark.
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Battalion Training at Borg Leopold Training Area, Belgium
The Advance Party set off on Friday 25 Mar under 2/Lt Hyndman, RAEC, and arrived safely at Borg Leopold that night. The following day the Battalion loaded into their APCs and D Coy led off at 1030 hrs, followed by the remaining groups at half-hour intervals. The move down was carried out in two stages, spending a night on the Haltern training area. Despite various breakdowns and disagreements about the route, everybody arrived safely at the night leaguer area (the last APC was towed in at 0330 hrs). Apart from D Coy, who decided to cut down on their weight of liquid baggage, everybody got a reasonable night's rest.
The following morning Battalion Headquarters led off at 0830 hrs and had to cross two frontiers the route led us through a corner of Holland. The only real highlights of this day were the "Keystone Cops" (Dutch Military Police) who escorted the columns through Venlo, and the very obvious friendliness of the Dutch people.
On arrival at Borg Leopold, the Advance Party had done a great deal of hard work and that most of the tentage was up. The first two days were occupied in route marches, shooting on the range and maintenance for the 14/20th Hussars APC drivers. In the evenings the town of Borg Leopold was invaded by a stream of "Jocks," "Hussars" and "Horse Gunners." It soon became obvious that the town appeared to provide far more in the way of entertainment than Lemgo. The Depot Commander, Major J. V. Parnell. who had come out to visit the Battalion, was also taken to Borg Leopold and made to rough it for two days. The next three days were spent in training with APCs on the " Ghobi Desert." The training area itself was nothing more than a desert of tracks, mud and sand, with one or two very straggly woods round the perimeter. Nevertheless it proved adequate for initiation into training with APCs. The only problems appeared to be in finding the way about as there were no features and thus map reading proved extremely difficult.
On the Friday each Coy in turn carried out a test exercise with Major James, OC A Sqn 14/20 Hussars, representing the CO of an Armoured Regiment. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings transport was run into Antwerp for each Coy. This proved to be a highly popular move, as it had been hoped to run trips to Brussels and Waterloo but it was found that the Belgians do not like parties of soldiers in uniform in these places; still Antwerp proved to be a reasonable substitute. On the Saturday the camp was struck and everybody moved out into night leaguer areas. It was decided to do the move back in one day (200 miles), so the following morning A Coy crossed the start line at 0745 hrs; once again groups followed at half-hour intervals. The move back proved highly successful except for one or two small map-reading errors; all the vehicles (less one APC) were back in Lemgo by 2030 hrs. Our congratulations must be given to our Hussar drivers who managed to keep the vehicles going so successfully and for making the whole trip such a success. Also mention should be made of a part of Chestnut Troop 1 RHA who were working with A Coy during the trip.
The Battalion Rifle Meeting took place on Wednesday, 20th April, a warm, sunny day. The first event was the Rifle Shoot and the winning Company in this event was A Coy, Sp Coy coming second. The Sten Shoot followed and this time B Coy were the winners, with A Coy second. The third match to count towards the Inter-Company Competition was the LMG Pairs, B Coy again won with 329 points, and D Coy were second with 324 points. The results of the three matches combined were:—
Rifle Bren Sten Total
A Coy ............ 722 267 635 1624
B Coy ....... 650 329 643 1622
Sp Coy. ....... 657 309 620 1586
D Coy ....... 648 324 525 1497
HQ Coy .... 639 282 563 1484
It was a very close match for first place! Other events during the meeting were the Falling Plates Competition in which the Sergeants' Mess swept all before them and the shoot for the best individual rifle shot. This was won by Sgt McLean with Pte Wright second and Pte Duffy third. Pte Wright won the Young Soldier Competition.
Visit of the Colonel of the Regiment
The Colonel of the Regiment and Mrs. Graham arrived in Lemgo on Monday. 23rd May and that afternoon the General inspected a Quarter Guard composed mainly of men from the Signal Platoon:—Sgt McGurk. L/Cpl Graham. Pte Harvey, Pte Hunter, Pte Balfour, Pte Neill, Pte McLaughlan 51, Pte Watson. Ppr Hay, Dmr Levy. The General congratulated the guard on their turn-out. The General then moved on to the Battalion Square, where a Guard of Honour found by B Coy was on parade. The Guard, commanded by Major Howat, consisted of 48 men and a Colour Party. The Regimental Colour was carried by 2/Lt Clarke. Both bands and Cruachan were also on parade. After the inspection the General returned to the Saluting Base and the Guard marched past in slow and quick time, finishing up with an advance in Review Order. The General then spoke to all ranks and congratulated them on their turn-out and smartness. The next day the General visited A and D Coys, who were both training in the field. A Coy gave a demonstration of a Coy group in the attack. The Coy was carried by 1st Troop. A Son 14/20 Hussars and supported by a Troop of tanks from 3 RTR. The General spoke to the Coy and to a very large number of individuals, amongst whom were:— Sgt Saunders, Cpl Armour and Pte Bremner. After this the General was driven to the area D Coy were using, where he saw the Company moving forward to occupy observation posts on an obstacle under nuclear conditions. All ranks were wearing full protective clothing, and the whole operation was carried out quickly and smoothly. That night the General attended a guest night in the Officers' Mess.
On the Wednesday the Highland Games took place on a dry, warm and sunny day. The whole day was a tremendous success and thoroughly enjoyed by not only General and Mrs Graham but also by a large number of visitors and guests. All praise for the success of the meeting must go to the Signals Platoon who organised and ran it. On the final day, the General toured the barracks and then spoke to the whole Battalion in the Gym. After this he visited the Sergeants' Mess and had lunch in the Officers' Mess. Mrs Graham met most of the wives, and on the Tuesday afternoon there was a Garden Party in her honour, which due to the weather, unfortunately had to be held in the Gym.
Queen's Birthday 1960
There was no parade in 20th Armoured Brigade, but in the evening there was a Beating of Retreat at Detmold. The Regimental Band took part with the Bands of the Royal Tank Regiment and the Drums of 3 RTR. The whole parade was under the direction of WO I Pope. There was a large number of German spectators at the parade, which was a great success both musically and as a spectacle. During the summer the Rifle Companies completed Regimental/Company Training at Soltau. The Royal Scots Greys and the 10th Hussars, joined the Brigade in place of the 9th Lancers and the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. A Coy were affiliated to the Royal Scots Greys and B Coy to the 10th Hussars. A and B Coys each spent a week at Haltern Training Area carrying out normal infantry training. D Coy gave a demonstration to 3 RTR of a Company in the attack. There were a large number of skeleton exercises and even Battalion Headquarters, twice ventured into the field.
RSM Jimmy Masterton left the 1st battalion and went to be RSM of the Depot after nearly three years as RSM. He joined the Regiment in 1938 and served with it all over the world, including North Africa, Crete, Italy, Palestine, British Guiana and Cyprus. He was a native of Argyll and understood all the characteristics of the Jock. Soldiers often turned to him for advice in times of trouble and he was a friend of all. S/Sgt Reggie Ball ACC one of the greatest personalities of the Battalion, moved on to 10th Signal Regiment after serving ten years with the Battalion. All those who served in Korea will remember the wonderful food he produced under appalling conditions and his pig "Lulu"! He also served in British Guiana, Berlin, Port Said and Cyprus. He will be missed by all ranks, but particularly by the Sergeants' Mess, in which no function will be quite the same without him.
RSM Ginger Coleman took over as RSM of the Battalion. He came from the Depot, where he had been the RSM. RSM Coleman was CSM of B Coy when he last served with the Battalion. He was an extremely active sportsman and played in the Depot football team. In fact, within a very short period of arriving back in the Battalion, he was playing for the battalion hockey team.
During the Autumn the battalion was involved in Ex "Holdfast" a NATO Exercise, which the battalion had to supply part of the Umpire organisation. It was an extremely interesting exercise and the Battalion was responsible for providing umpires teams in the centre sector of the exercise where British and Canadian Forces were operating against the Germans. It was a most impressive and busy four days and most interesting to see already the high standard of efficiency of certain parts of the Bundeswehr (New German Army). Exercise "Holdfast" was in fact such a big exercise that it used up practically all the year's allocation of petrol in BAOR and with a result that the battalion ended up with practically none. This lead to difficulties over training and administration. The only person who seems always to have petrol was the Padre — everyone was asking him how he done it!
The final exercise of the training year was Ex "Iron Hand" in which 20th Armoured Brigade took on 5th Infantry Brigade and was the culmination of the whole year's training. It involved a long night march in which both A and D Coys led their respective Armoured Regiments to seize the crossings over a river line. Both companies went so fast and so well that they completely surprised the "enemy," who were either asleep or otherwise refreshing themselves when our soldiers arrived. In fact everything went so well from our point of view that there had to be a six-hour standstill to get everyone sorted out! Exercise "Iron Hand" was the end of the training year and the battalion returned to Lemgo to start a fresh training year.
In November a farewell parade was held for A Sqn 14/20 Hussars, they were relieved by A Sqn 4 RTR. ‘A’ Sqn 4 RTR did not move into Detmold, but into Stornoway Bks, Lemgo. This created an accommodation problem from which everybody suffered. The NAAFI in the barracks was designed for 400 men and there were approximately 800 in the barracks, work was eventually done to improve the NAAFI building. Married Quarters—there were still many married men who have not got their wives in Lemgo owing to a shortage of quarters, sixty new flats for other rank families were built. There was one asset to life in Lemgo which cannot go by unmentioned, that is the WVS Recreation Room run by Kate. It was a popular spot and was fully used by the Battalion. No-one has seen the WVS charter of what they were supposed to do but it appears that there is nothing that 'Kate did not do. She arranged bus tours to football matches, acted as a travel agent, got films developed for the soldiers and ran an absolutely first class recreation room.
13th December was the Annual Administrative Inspection. The day before the Inspection had been spent cleaning the snow off the parade ground so that the Brigade Commander could inspect the Battalion on parade. The planned programme was carried out in spite of the extremely cold weather, not a single man fainted on what was ruled a very good parade. The remainder of the day was spent with a thorough inspection of everything in the Battalion and it received a good report. Once the Inspection was over, the battalion embarked on a full round of Christmas and New Year activities. On 23rd December the Battalion gave a party for the orphans of a convent in Lemgo. About 200 children came and it was really gratifying to see the pleasure that it gave to them, the majority of them spastics. Many of the soldiers came to help run this party and it was difficult to see who was enjoying it most—the soldiers or the children. On the following day the battalion had our own children's party—all 170 of them. Each one got a present and there were only very few cases of boys getting dolls and girls getting toy swords! Captain Howmann, Sergeant James and their assistants were congratulated on organising two extremely successful parties both of which were held in the Gymnasium. About the only thing for which the Gymnasium was not used during the Christmas period was PT. There were company dances, a corporals' dance, the Sergeants' Mess Christmas draw and a Battalion smoker. Tombola was successfully banned from the Gymnasium but that took place in the Dining Hall ably organised by the Bandmaster WO I Pope and ORQMS Thew. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were holidays as was Hogmanay, New Year's Day and 2nd January, 1961. During these days inter-company football and hockey competitions were organised to "blow away the cobwebs." As New Year's Day was on a Sunday, there was no officers and sergeants football match this year.
Throughout the year, while everything else was going on, the Champion Company Competition was taking place concurrently. The events which were included in it were Rifle Shooting, Drill, March and Shoot, Cross Country, Football, Boxing, Documentation, Barrack Inspection, Athletics and Swimming. In fact a selection of events to cover as widely as possible all facets of Army life.- The final placings in the competition were:—
1st ... ... B Coy ... ... 59
2nd ... ... A Coy ... ... 38
3rd ... ... D Coy ... ... 37
4th ... ... HQ Coy ... ... 36
5th ... ... Sp Coy ... ... 20
B Coy are to be congratulated on a very fine effort and, as winners, have been given the privilege of wearing their blue flashes on the epaulettes of their battle dress for one year.
1961 The training and year's programme was very similar to 1960 with various minor alterations and finishing up with the Corps Manoeuvres in October. On l0th January the Pipes and Drums together with the Pipes and Drums of the Greys and the Gordons went to Munster to play for the 1st Bn The Seaforth Highlanders as they left for the UK and Amalgamation.
During the winter, Battalion signals and NCOs cadres were run with considerable success. It is interesting to note that all the students on the signals cadre this year were regular and while the cadre was actually shorter than last year, the results obtained were better — a very encouraging sign for the future. The NCOs cadre too went well and it was very satisfactory to see the results of what was taught to the junior NCOs being practised at Sennelager later in the year.
Apart from the sporting world, life was fairly quiet in Lemgo. The individual training period went well and as many people as possible went away either to Girkhausen, Silberhutte, which was the 1 Corps Winter Warfare Training Centre or to Austria or Switzerland for skiing. During April the battalion was at Sennelager for field training and Section and Platoon training. You could tell by looking at them who had been training at Sennelager and who stayed in their steam heated offices and stores at Lemgo!
During the early part of the summer the battalion got together with "A" Squadron 4th Royal Tanks. Although they had been living in Stornoway Barracks for about five months, practically no training has been done with them as during that time they have been learning all about the Saracens. The next few weeks were spent training with "A'' Squadron and then the Companies started training with their affiliated Armoured Regiments at Soltau in preparation for Ex “Spearpoint” in October. Preparations were also in progress for the changeover to the new Battalion establishment which will take place in the autumn. The main change was that Support Company as such will disappear and the support weapons will be an integral part of the Rifle Companies.
Ex “Spearpoint” was the last major exercise of the year and it caused quite a stir, not only amongst the troops taking part but also in the Press and in the UK. The result was that Mr George Brown, MP, came out to visit BAOR to see for himself what was going on. Amongst the units he visited was the Battalion. He seemed pleased with what he saw and was told, when he was with the battalion. For this exercise D Coy with 3rd Royal Tank Regiment were taken away from the Brigade and given to 7th Armoured Brigade who were on the other side. There were great hopes that there would be a splendid battle. D Coy versus the rest. However, unfortunately, this was not to be. In fact, from the Battalion point of view as a whole, Spearpoint was not very thrilling. A and B Coys withdrew under orders in front of a very slowly advancing enemy. D Coy who, having managed to slip the Umpires, carried cut a very quick and dashing advance to capture a vital bridge, were stopped and told to wait where they were. Battalion Headquarters and A Echelon could never be described as having been extended during the exercise, although at one stage Battalion HQ were responsible for defending an important bridge over the River Weser. It was here that Sgt Andrews sortied from the Officers' Mess and became operational for the first time for an indecent number of years. However, both he and the other soldiers with him did well under unusual and unaccustomed circumstances. In point of fact, the bridge was never attacked, but if it had been the enemy would have been met with all kinds of missiles!
A New Church for Stornoway Barracks
On Wednesday, 8th November, the new St. Martin's Church in Stornoway Barracks, Lemgo, was dedicated by the Rev. L. W. Mathews, OBE, TD, MA, the Assistant Chaplain-General, HQ, BAOR, before a large and representative congregation. The service was conducted by the Battalion Chaplain, the Rev. W. G. A. Wright, BD, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. G. M. R. Bennett, BD, Deputy Assistant Chaplain-General, HQ 1 (BR) Corps, the senior Church of Scotland Chaplain in BAOR. A welcome guest amongst the clergy present was Pastor Wiegrabe of the local Lutheran Church. An amazing conversion from part of a garage-block, this is a most attractive church, and the Battalion is fortunate to have had the use of it since mid-August. The various items of Battalion Church property, including the Celtic Cross and Brass Lectern on the Communion Table, blend excellently with the general background. Rev. W. Wright, was posted at very short notice to the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, it was especially sad that he had to go so shortly after his new Church, of which he was so proud, had been consecrated.
Major General Pearson the new Commander of the 1st Division, visited the Battalion on Monday, 4th December, 1961. His was only a brief visit, but he had time to meet the Sergeants and to have lunch in the Officers' Mess.
During the winter months was the annual training and cadres period. With the re-organisation of the Battalion to the new establishment, an increased number of Mortar men and Anti-Tank gunners were required. These were trained and with cadres taking place in the Rifle Companies to train them. The Reconnaissance Platoon was also been formed under Lt D. Younger. This will be the first time a Battalion Commander has had an effective Reconnaissance element of his own. A very successful Junior NCO's Cadre was held by Captain I. B. Robertson. A varied and most interesting programme was arranged which included not only weapon training at Lemgo but also a most interesting and instructive week at Girkhausen, where a considerable number of patrol exercises were carried cut.
On Friday, 16th March the annual Administrative Inspection which was carried out by the Brigade Group Commander, Brigadier P. Hobart, DSO. 0BE. MC. ADC. Broadly the problems which faced the battalion were three. In the first place it was quite clear that a Brigade Group Commander, whose parent Regiment is the Royal Tank Regiment, was going to know all about MT. Secondly, we weren't quite sure how much he would know about Highland Dress. Thirdly, the weather for a fortnight before the day alternated between snow, sleet and frost which was not helpful to the practising of such manoeuvres as taking open order in slow time or advancing in Review Order. In the event luck was on our side. Friday the 16th was about the only fine day during the whole Ides of March and the battalion had a splendid parade. The Brigade Group Commander knew all about Highland Dress and took 35 minutes inspecting the front rank to prove it. His inspection included the Officers which pleased the ranks of Jocks. Thereafter the Commander proceeded at great speed, but missed nothing. He saw some splendid barrack rooms, notably in HQ Coy, where the Signals and the Pipes and Drums lines were a picture, and in B Coy also. But perhaps the biggest success, and the crux of the inspection, belonged to the MT. The Brigadier gave their vehicles his unqualified approval and said he couldn't fault them. This was the culmination of really hard work by the MT, much of it necessarily in their own time, and they deserved their success. The overall grading awarded the Battalion was the highest possible, an Excellent, which has since been published in Corps Orders. It was a fitting final to the battalion’s tour in BAOR.
On Thursday, 22nd March, 1962, command of the Battalion passed from Lt Col H. S. Spens, MBE, MC, TD, to Lt Col C. G. Kelway-Bamber, MBE.
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The Champion Coy competition was again won by B Coy, individual competitions were won as follows: — Rifle Meeting, A Coy; Drill Competition, D Coy; Marching and Shooting Competition, D Coy; McEwan Cup, D Coy; Football, D Coy; Barracks and Documents, B Coy; Boxing, B Coy; Athletics, HQ Coy; Swimming, HQ Coy; Patrol Competition, B Coy; 22 Shooting, A Coy; Basketball, No competition.
10th April B Coy took over Redford Bks. Early May the battalion advance party moved to Redford Bks, Edinburgh. 14th May the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the battalion plus the Pipes and Drums and Military Band Royal Scots Dragoon Guards began a tour of Sweden. 4th-8th June the battalion handed over Stornoway barracks to 5th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and flew from Gutersloh to Gatwick, the battalion then went on leave before moving into Redford Bks. 5th June the Pipes and Drums and Military Band finished their tour of Sweden and flew to Edinburgh.
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Updated: 06 May 2015