Linemen

#21
My bold bits.

I only had the one posting with R SIGNALS, this was a couple of years as a full screw with 4ADSR in Herford.

As Recy Mechs we were with the 'lineys at every endex. (We obviously were at the back of every convoy.) Bottom of the food chain, unwashed and feared by the establishment, brothers in arms and braincells. Good lads all.
The crews of RE Lights were very similar, hard working and hard playing to a man and a law unto themselves when attached to Div Sig Regts.

They dragged huge generators, which could have powered a small village, all over the north German plains. On one exercise a convoy I was in with RE Lights attached pulled into a layby whilst waiting for our recce to come back with a location. They fired up their gene in order to just boil a kettle, as a young LCpl I was well impressed.
 
#22
Pride used to count. Like back in the day God’s Tradesmen refusing to answer to Signaller from knuckle-dragging PBI signal NCOs. :)
To bloody right. reminds me at 28 we had Pioneers as well as Belgies and I had a run in with their SM, spotted by ours who promptly informed him that I wasn't his responsibility. Same later had a run in with REME chappie and found it an electrifying experience:smile:
 
#23
The crews of RE Lights were very similar, hard working and hard playing to a man and a law unto themselves when attached to Div Sig Regts.

They dragged huge generators, which could have powered a small village, all over the north German plains. On one exercise a convoy I was in with RE Lights attached pulled into a layby whilst waiting for our recce to come back with a location. They fired up their gene in order to just boil a kettle, as a young LCpl I was well impressed.

Slightly off thread but at 7 Sigs when they had moved to Krefeld, on exercise pulled into a layby and as if by magic the SQMS has a brew, on interrogation it transpires the power is via a crowbar and a pair of jump leads, the crowbar assisted in removing the panel off a lamppost, the jump leads 'borrowed' the power and transferred it to his Bedford, the rest as they say is history. Needless the kettle was on the boil sharpish and brews all round. 'Brews all round' was the usual one black mug passed around half a dozen guys to share, probably a criminal offence these days.
 
#24
Slightly off thread but at 7 Sigs when they had moved to Krefeld, on exercise pulled into a layby and as if by magic the SQMS has a brew, on interrogation it transpires the power is via a crowbar and a pair of jump leads, the crowbar assisted in removing the panel off a lamppost, the jump leads 'borrowed' the power and transferred it to his Bedford, the rest as they say is history. Needless the kettle was on the boil sharpish and brews all round. 'Brews all round' was the usual one black mug passed around half a dozen guys to share, probably a criminal offence these days.
certainly if it was here "abstracting electricity". But then we were BAOR:mrgreen:
 
#25
Added to which there was an old Scammel at the REME LAD at 28 and a certain person had a rep for nipping off the thing as it was moving at walking pace and popping in with a crate of beer.
 

DaManBugs

LE
Book Reviewer
#26
That's interesting. I never realised that only lineys were issued with leather belts. I got attached to 11 Inf Bde (later 11 Armd Bde) in the Traz a number of times and, for some reason, I was always put on the ration strength of 212 Sig Sqn. I thought that the leather belts were private purchase because the lineys always had masses of kit hanging off them, and that it was "unofficially" allowed, perhaps because it was more comfortable. Sometimes, out on scheme, I used to go out with them just to watch them work and help roll out the cables. The "joiner-uppers" (to use a, er, technical term) always fascinated me. It was a hollow metal tube with solder inside and a sort of "match-head" around the middle. When the two wires to be joined had been pushed into the ends, the "match-head" thingy was struck on the side of the box and it melted the solder inside the tube to fuse everything together.

One thing I noticed in 212 barracks was that the various trades all, sort of, kept to themselves. The comcen operators had all their rooms next to each other, as did the technicians, radio-relay operators, etc. But when we were out on scheme everyone kipped anywhere they could find a place, regardless of trade. But they were a really good bunch of lads.

MsG
 
#28
When I was at 1(BR) Corps I had a lot of respect for the 7 Sigs lineys.
Back when the ability to crash out of a location was important they would always be the last to leave, often many hours after the main HQ had departed.
Was always good if you too were stuck behind (broken down BSV etc.) and see them suddenly begin to 'take it easy' now all the grown ups had departed.
At endex the beers would come out too.
I'm surprised to find out the trade has now gone. are there less cables these days (I was working with Ptarmigan BSV's) or do they just make everyone else work that much harder laying cables as well as their 'proper' job?
Have you ever seen a Liney deal with fibre, that’s why we don’t need them any more.
 
#29
A little off topic but nonetheless an interesting pic from the US Civil War. This would seem to show a US telegraph operator repairing a line:



What is interesting here is that he is using an apparatus to tension the wires which looks similar to a commonly used tool still used to the same end now. The modern tool wasn't supposed to have been invented until 1922.
 
#30
I had a letter today from a cousin. Among other things he reminded me that his father, my uncle, would have been 100 this week. As it was he didn't do badly, making it to 93. This in turn reminded me that said uncle's line belt was used by me to hang my six-shooters on when I was 9 or 10. It had already been on a road trip from Catterick to Austria via a bit of 'Torch' in North Africa followed by Sicily and all the way up Italy. Seems a stupid route to me but there you go.

In all that time the only course he had been on was his BII (always Roman numerals in those days) and that was when his Div was in reserve after an unsuccessful pop at Monte Cassino.

I occasionally wonder how many miles of cable he laid and recovered in that little jaunt.

Oh yes, and he was in no small way responsible for me spending nearly half my life with Jimmy in my hat. Barsteward!
 
#33
That's interesting. I never realised that only lineys were issued with leather belts. I got attached to 11 Inf Bde (later 11 Armd Bde) in the Traz a number of times and, for some reason, I was always put on the ration strength of 212 Sig Sqn. I thought that the leather belts were private purchase because the lineys always had masses of kit hanging off them, and that it was "unofficially" allowed, perhaps because it was more comfortable. Sometimes, out on scheme, I used to go out with them just to watch them work and help roll out the cables. The "joiner-uppers" (to use a, er, technical term) always fascinated me. It was a hollow metal tube with solder inside and a sort of "match-head" around the middle. When the two wires to be joined had been pushed into the ends, the "match-head" thingy was struck on the side of the box and it melted the solder inside the tube to fuse everything together.

One thing I noticed in 212 barracks was that the various trades all, sort of, kept to themselves. The comcen operators had all their rooms next to each other, as did the technicians, radio-relay operators, etc. But when we were out on scheme everyone kipped anywhere they could find a place, regardless of trade. But they were a really good bunch of lads.

MsG
How old are you? :) Those are self-soldering jointing sleeves. I have only ever seen them in the museum. The same job was done in my time in the Corps (86-01) with the Hellerman crimping tool, which was basically a mechanical joint formed by crimping a metal sleeve.

You actually didn't need any joint sleeves at all to joint D10. It was possible, and taught on BSS courses to tie a reef knot in the bare conductors, and if you staggered the joints, you didn't need to insulate the repair either. D10 has 4 x copper and 3x steel strands. The copper provides the conductivity, the steel the mechanical strength. The steel conductors used to stick in your fingers like needles! Stripping D10 with just a pair of 8" engineers pliers was a fcuking pain in the arse.

In the Ptarmigan era, a much more straightforward cable joint appeared, the "jellybean", which had two holes. Put the stripped (with ubiquitous Leatherman) ends in the holes and squeeze the body of the jellybean with pliers (or Leatherman). This broke a small vial of glue, which set quickly and completed the joint. Easy peasy. Until you run out of jellybeans and then you're back to reef knots in D10 and fingers like a pin cushion.
 

DaManBugs

LE
Book Reviewer
#34
How old are you? :) Those are self-soldering jointing sleeves. I have only ever seen them in the museum. The same job was done in my time in the Corps (86-01) with the Hellerman crimping tool, which was basically a mechanical joint formed by crimping a metal sleeve.

You actually didn't need any joint sleeves at all to joint D10. It was possible, and taught on BSS courses to tie a reef knot in the bare conductors, and if you staggered the joints, you didn't need to insulate the repair either. D10 has 4 x copper and 3x steel strands. The copper provides the conductivity, the steel the mechanical strength. The steel conductors used to stick in your fingers like needles! Stripping D10 with just a pair of 8" engineers pliers was a fcuking pain in the arse.

In the Ptarmigan era, a much more straightforward cable joint appeared, the "jellybean", which had two holes. Put the stripped (with ubiquitous Leatherman) ends in the holes and squeeze the body of the jellybean with pliers (or Leatherman). This broke a small vial of glue, which set quickly and completed the joint. Easy peasy. Until you run out of jellybeans and then you're back to reef knots in D10 and fingers like a pin cushion.
I served from 1966 to 1972, that's probably why I'm familiar with museum stuff. So they're called "self-soldering jointing sleeves", are they? That sounds a lot more professional. But I'm glad you recognised what I was talking about from my clumsy description.

One thing I have to say about the lineys I worked with (from 212 Sig Sqn) was that they were fückin' fast! I never had very much to do as a CMT for the first day or two on scheme (it was when the comrades started getting tired that the injuries started), so I'd go out with the lineys and give them a hand. My main job was Harry-blacking the joints and standing on the cable while two lineys raced off into the distance with a cable-drum held on a stick between them unraveling the new section. By the time I caught up with them, they'd already joined the cables and were off with a further drum, leaving me to Harry-black the new joints. It was all done at absolutely breakneck speed and the lads were really fit, I must say. I once, sort of, timed the exercise, and we (or they) laid about a mile of cable in something like ten minutes between the HQ tent and a radio-relay station up on a hill. Very impressive stuff!

MsG
 
#35
@Roadster280, I had to do BSS as part of a conversion course when it first appeared in 70 or 71 and it was Hellerman tool and/or rip your fingers time then. From that time on I was almost never in an environment where anyone had any copper crimps, though there was often a tool - sometimes more than one, it depends on how you define tool ;) - and my fingers have never been the same since.
 
#37
I saw linemen at 1 Div fault finding on D10 cable lays by spitting on their palms and running their hands along it till they felt a tingle, this usually was where the break was.

You needed to be tough to be a lineman in BRUIN units what with humping 10pr cable drums about, laying locations for Comheads to move unto and then going back to help recover cable from the previous location.

I had a great deal of respect for that trade.
 
#38
I saw linemen at 1 Div fault finding on D10 cable lays by spitting on their palms and running their hands along it till they felt a tingle, this usually was where the break was.

You needed to be tough to be a lineman in BRUIN units what with humping 10pr cable drums about, laying locations for Comheads to move unto and then going back to help recover cable from the previous location.

I had a great deal of respect for that trade.
You and me both. They had two lays per det, so Ex Flying Foulup, with command passing twice a day and main-main moves first and last light meant if a Comhead's det wasn't laying it was recovering. On the middle weekend 24 hours stand-down they were mostly totally zonko.
 
#40
@Roadster280, I had to do BSS as part of a conversion course when it first appeared in 70 or 71 and it was Hellerman tool and/or rip your fingers time then. From that time on I was almost never in an environment where anyone had any copper crimps, though there was often a tool - sometimes more than one, it depends on how you define tool ;) - and my fingers have never been the same since.
Pushing that fr!gging line cart on BSS.... all to get your B3. "People see Jimmy on your head and you're the man that has to be able to...." Though I think the DT WRACs did the BSS too? Or is my memory playing up?

Happy daze though!
 
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