Bridges built by Sapper’s in Bosnia - Op Loadstar

Folks, I am ex 77AES support troop and I have fond memories of building a Bailey bridge somewhere in Bosnia in early 96. I cannot for life of me remember where we built it but I do remember we built it in freezing rain that left a layer of ice on everything it hit. We had to smash the ice to get the pins in and if you stood still for more than a minute it would freeze on us. Anyone know where it could be? I plan on visiting next year and it would be great to add it on my tour of places that stood out on my various tours of the country.

It was also a high octane start as we went in expecting trouble from the Serb’s on the other bank and took up aggressive positions along the bank facing off against them. They also had mines laid on the other bank until we got halfway across, they took some persuasion if I recall from a platoon of Czech infantry to remove them.

There was also a night club just around the corner that a couple of us visited during our “sleep” break, even had a dance with a full chest rig on and SA80 strapped to our backs.
 
Folks, I am ex 77AES support troop and I have fond memories of building a Bailey bridge somewhere in Bosnia in early 96. I cannot for life of me remember where we built it but I do remember we built it in freezing rain that left a layer of ice on everything it hit. We had to smash the ice to get the pins in and if you stood still for more than a minute it would freeze on us. Anyone know where it could be? I plan on visiting next year and it would be great to add it on my tour of places that stood out on my various tours of the country.

It was also a high octane start as we went in expecting trouble from the Serb’s on the other bank and took up aggressive positions along the bank facing off against them. They also had mines laid on the other bank until we got halfway across, they took some persuasion if I recall from a platoon of Czech infantry to remove them.

There was also a night club just around the corner that a couple of us visited during our “sleep” break, even had a dance with a full chest rig on and SA80 strapped to our backs.
Wish my Grandad was still around to see this post. Bridging unit RE from Salerno north until 1945, reckoned his gang could put a Bailey up in the dark with their eyes shut, having done so ma y (sometimes under fire).

He always wanted to go back, apparently some were still in use 50 years on; never did though.
 
Folks, I am ex 77AES support troop and I have fond memories of building a Bailey bridge somewhere in Bosnia in early 96. I cannot for life of me remember where we built it but I do remember we built it in freezing rain that left a layer of ice on everything it hit. We had to smash the ice to get the pins in and if you stood still for more than a minute it would freeze on us. Anyone know where it could be? I plan on visiting next year and it would be great to add it on my tour of places that stood out on my various tours of the country.

It was also a high octane start as we went in expecting trouble from the Serb’s on the other bank and took up aggressive positions along the bank facing off against them. They also had mines laid on the other bank until we got halfway across, they took some persuasion if I recall from a platoon of Czech infantry to remove them.

There was also a night club just around the corner that a couple of us visited during our “sleep” break, even had a dance with a full chest rig on and SA80 strapped to our backs.
There was one built on the Neretva, IIRC, and another built on Route Mario to replace one that the Dutch dropped by mistake. They might have been in 95 though.
 
Wish my Grandad was still around to see this post. Bridging unit RE from Salerno north until 1945, reckoned his gang could put a Bailey up in the dark with their eyes shut, having done so ma y (sometimes under fire).

He always wanted to go back, apparently some were still in use 50 years on; never did though.
I still find bailey bridges even today doing a solid job - 75 years old and going strong!
 
I believe some of the bridges were named after Sapper VCs. 'McPhie Bridge' was one? Were they Mabey Quickbridges? Incidentally the Op was spelt "Lodestar".
 

Truxx

LE
Was it a full bridge or an overbridge? Did the sappers not put a bridge in at Mostar while the iconic original was repaired?
 
Was it a full bridge or an overbridge? Did the sappers not put a bridge in at Mostar while the iconic original was repaired?
There certainly is or was an RE-built bridge in Mostar. The rebuilt original isn't for vehicle traffic anyway.
 

Truxx

LE
There certainly is or was an RE-built bridge in Mostar. The rebuilt original isn't for vehicle traffic anyway.
I know that a Brit had something to do with it (he is now doing Crossrail stuff) but thinking about it more I think the building was done by the Spanish.
 
I know that a Brit had something to do with it (he is now doing Crossrail stuff) but thinking about it more I think the building was done by the Spanish.
The Spanish were certainly in Mostar but I've an idea I saw a British plaque on a bridge. Might be wrong. There are several bridges over the Neretva.
 
Tried to find it, but my search skills failed me once again, there is a thread from a year ago? that was started on this exact topic. The poster had pics of the bridges that he took with the locations noted that were up to date.
 
I do recall one which, whilst handy was a PITA for us tank transporters as we had to unload before the bridge, cross, then reload on the other side to ensure we were still in gauge.
The location escape me, but it may have been on the route to one of the more remote RA locations who's name I can quite remember.
I may have some pics somewhere of us doing this.
 
Here are some, not very hi-res scans I'm afraid, and you can see the old blown bridge next to it.

16drag.jpg

blownbridge.jpg

loadingas90.jpg

loadingas901.jpg


The bottom two pics are reloading after crossing the bridge.
 

ACAB

LE
There's a Bailey Bridge at Thetford (or at least there was)

We did many an attack over it.

And, it's still going strong.
 

Donny

ADC
I know that a Brit had something to do with it (he is now doing Crossrail stuff) but thinking about it more I think the building was done by the Spanish.
Chris S? If so, I think he’s moved on due to the current Crossrail challenges. Still a good guy.

Edit: I’ve just looked him up and I’m wrong. He’s still there, but in a more senior role. Good on him.
 
I remember driving from Sarajevo to Bania Luka in a Foden Recca, we definitely drove over a bailey bridge on route, I don’t remember the route name though, that was in 1996. There was a hole in the middle of the bridge and the Foden straddled it, but the LRover following nearly ended up in the hole. I’m not sure how the hole got there, don’t think it was caused by munitions
 

Truxx

LE
Chris S? If so, I think he’s moved on due to the current Crossrail challenges. Still a good guy.

Edit: I’ve just looked him up and I’m wrong. He’s still there, but in a more senior role. Good on him.
Not Chris whatever...someone else. He was either a CO or a CRE at the time.

I will remember his name at about 0330 and will have forgotten again by breakfast.

Aha. Robbie B? Now Network Rail according to a quick google
 
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Folks, I am ex 77AES support troop and I have fond memories of building a Bailey bridge somewhere in Bosnia in early 96. I cannot for life of me remember where we built it but I do remember we built it in freezing rain that left a layer of ice on everything it hit. We had to smash the ice to get the pins in and if you stood still for more than a minute it would freeze on us. Anyone know where it could be? I plan on visiting next year and it would be great to add it on my tour of places that stood out on my various tours of the country.

It was also a high octane start as we went in expecting trouble from the Serb’s on the other bank and took up aggressive positions along the bank facing off against them. They also had mines laid on the other bank until we got halfway across, they took some persuasion if I recall from a platoon of Czech infantry to remove them.

There was also a night club just around the corner that a couple of us visited during our “sleep” break, even had a dance with a full chest rig on and SA80 strapped to our backs.
I was in the same troop/squadron/tour three or so years later!!Winter tour was a pretty bad weather for bridge building though - I think we only had a month or so or decent weather.
 

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