GPS Kebab


I was considering adding this to the QM’s forum but I can’t find mention of it on my 1157 and I don’t have an NSN. I’m sure my Kebab GPS (formerly Bed Finder™ Mk1) was issued to me at some stage during basic training. Probably when I was being issued with an odd number of socks, olive, wool and a couple of oversized T-shirts, red, saggy neckline. My point is, does anyone know the history of this gizmo and its evolution into the hi-tech fusion of the kebab and mobile electronics industries that it is today?

My current issue 12 channel receiver with Bluetooth and chilli-sauce multi-waypoint precision route selector is a far cry from the Bed Finder™ Mk1 which safely saw me from Reading to Arborfield on my first proper night out as a trained soldier. What should have been a 2 hour beer fuelled tab back to camp turned out to be a 5 hour slog with frequent lag stops and an uncomfortable dump in some prickly bushes at the 2 and a half hour point. All for the sake of a £10 taxi fare.

Improved performance has been achieved with a little experience and in combination with the Moose Alarm (that bit of the brain that wakes you in time to do a runner from some munter’s gaff before she realises that she’s been had by the old “But I’m not like all the others” line). But is this improvement down to user competence or has the technology changed with time?

My dad (ex-scalie) had what I can only describe as a magic door key. He took this from unit to unit so I can only assume it was issued on his 1157, or someone lost the original 1033 he signed it out on. This magic key helped him find his way home from the many and varied drinking holes of West Germany (and most of NW Europe, probably). It wasn’t as accurate as our modern GPS. I know this because the key could never find the exact location of the keyhole with the precision required to open the front door. In fact, all attempts failed and my father would inevitably resort to the secret pass-phrase “Ler’us’in love. The key’s knackered again.” This was followed by incoherent mumbling and threats of violence until my mum opened the door, somehow managing to do so without unfolding her crossed arms.

I'm curious, is this phenomenon unique among British soldiers or is it common throughout all three services (or indeed other armies/forces/civvies of the world)?

Does anyone know the history of development any further back than late twentieth century or is this just a skill that one absorbs sub-consciously from the old and bold? I'm sure Riddley Scott hinted towards it in the film 'Gladiator' when Russell Crowe made it from RFG (Roman Forces Germania) to one of the Spanish Costas in a right state.

Finally, does anyone really give two shits? Would I get a better response waffling about arran sweaters and moisturiser?

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