Op Banner photos - some memories for the old and bold

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I had been in NI for a week when a Gnr asked me if that Flak jacket was heavy.
'Err yes ' I said.
'Follow mw'.
He opened a room with about 50 jackets in it, I tried about 5 and the fifth weighed nothing when wearing it but the same as the others by hand.
That one fits you he said.
Motorcyclist will recognise the phenonema of a well fitting leather jacket that loses all weight when you wear it.
I was the laziest soldier ever and just about managed to pass BFT etc, yet I never found flak jacket or A41 heavy, or SLR to be significantly heavier than an SMG.

Just saying.
 
I was the laziest soldier ever and just about managed to pass BFT etc, yet I never found flak jacket or A41 heavy, or SLR to be significantly heavier than an SMG.

Just saying.
It wasn't particularly heavy nor did it bother me, but not being heavy at all was better.
Same with you on the BFT but found the CFT a doddle, even carrying an LMG rather than an SLR.
 
...because we were driving back to Armagh not Dungannon, because that's the way the MT Pl bod took me, because it was a nice sunny day...?

Feck knows...it was 38 bloody years ago. I was a lowly lance jack back then and was just doing what I was told... :)
she it! I've egg on my face here , because
...because we were driving back to Armagh not Dungannon, because that's the way the MT Pl bod took me, because it was a nice sunny day...?

Feck knows...it was 38 bloody years ago. I was a lowly lance jack back then and was just doing what I was told... :)
egg on my face here, I read Armagh but what's left of my brain was thinking Omagh.
as you were carry on.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
she it! I've egg on my face here , because


egg on my face here, I read Armagh but what's left of my brain was thinking Omagh.
as you were carry on.
In later years I worked with a fellow consultant whose father had been RUC. Son, very young, had been taught to swim by our PTI in the Lisanelly pool.

He made sure I knew that Omagh sounds like Omer, whereas Armagh sounds like Arm AAARGH.

Never having been to Armagh, I don't get the two confused, but Tony obviously thought it important enough to stress. It may help you get them right in your head.

I know Ken Walton in one of his books mentions a mortar attack on Lisanelly barracks, Gortin Road, Armagh (April 76) that didn't rouse me from my slumber, even though one of the rounds landed within 20M of my bedspace. In Omagh.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I'm loving the descriptions of car borne weapons and hugely envious, as I am of the varying flak jackets etc. I think it may have been my second tour when we were issued with bulky, unwieldy, heavy, smelly and uncomfortable jackets. Fresh from "the 'Nam ! " Boy, did it make us feel good. And, on a tour in that delightful and pleasant little place called Newry, I was volunteered to be the driver for "some people who had to go somewhere". Straight off camp guard I was told to wear my scruffiest civvy clothes - as if I had anything other than scruffy - and a police car took me from camp , crouched in the back, to somewhere where I was dropped off next to a dirty, dented and very sad looking Bedford van The sort with the sliding doors. 3 men met me there, gave me a shoulder holster, a Browning pistol and 3 magazines of rounds. I drove wherever they told me, and had no clue what was going on, except that some road signs were in Gaelic.
The van had a wooden partition between the cab and the rear, and behind this partition were two of the guys, some serious radio kit and a rack of weapons. To this day I have no idea what it was all about, but then again, most of my life has been like that.
 
I'm loving the descriptions of car borne weapons and hugely envious, as I am of the varying flak jackets etc. I think it may have been my second tour when we were issued with bulky, unwieldy, heavy, smelly and uncomfortable jackets. Fresh from "the 'Nam ! " Boy, did it make us feel good. And, on a tour in that delightful and pleasant little place called Newry, I was volunteered to be the driver for "some people who had to go somewhere". Straight off camp guard I was told to wear my scruffiest civvy clothes - as if I had anything other than scruffy - and a police car took me from camp , crouched in the back, to somewhere where I was dropped off next to a dirty, dented and very sad looking Bedford van The sort with the sliding doors. 3 men met me there, gave me a shoulder holster, a Browning pistol and 3 magazines of rounds. I drove wherever they told me, and had no clue what was going on, except that some road signs were in Gaelic.
The van had a wooden partition between the cab and the rear, and behind this partition were two of the guys, some serious radio kit and a rack of weapons. To this day I have no idea what it was all about, but then again, most of my life has been like that.
Some things its best not to know !!!
 
Told to go out one night and drive these 2 scalies to location X then park up and wait, fekken shat myself when this blacked up individual tapped on the window and handed me two bits of Don10 with instructions to do the business with the remote telephone connections and listen. Spent the next 2 hours listening to a silent public telephone box in a South Armagh village.
 
In later years I worked with a fellow consultant whose father had been RUC. Son, very young, had been taught to swim by our PTI in the Lisanelly pool.

He made sure I knew that Omagh sounds like Omer, whereas Armagh sounds like Arm AAARGH.

Never having been to Armagh, I don't get the two confused, but Tony obviously thought it important enough to stress. It may help you get them right in your head.

I know Ken Walton in one of his books mentions a mortar attack on Lisanelly barracks, Gortin Road, Armagh (April 76) that didn't rouse me from my slumber, even though one of the rounds landed within 20M of my bedspace. In Omagh.
The lad was spot on in his pronunciation!
Also, Bang-err as opposed the North Wales Ban-gorr
 
From reading this thread and from my own personal experiences, I would like to say one thing. I first went to NI in '83 and '84 on 4 month tours. I recieved little or no training for working outside the wire in civvies apart from qualifying on the weapon (Browning 9mm.) and having to re qualify every month. At that time any work I was involved in that required me to wear civvies (nothing special, just courier work mainly) was as a passenger in a car.

After spending a few years in Germany I next returned to NI in '90 doing a similar job but things had changed. I was sent on a 3 day course learning how to use a car properly, doing NSP's and stoppage drills until I could do them in my sleep. we also did a bit of CQB again with the emphasis on the car being the main weapon or means of escape. IIRC we were taught a very neat trick on how to spin a car virtually on it's axis using the handbrake,a lot of revs and full lock.

My point is that post Woods and Howes, people like myself who were not specialists, but did have cause to travel around in civvies, were better trained and hopefully prepared for anything untoward happening. Thankfully for me my training was never put to use. We all know the impact that the deaths of Woods and Howes had on everyone out there, but I hope if one small positive can be taken from their murders, it's that we were better trained afterwards. Small comfort for their friends and families, I know.
 
I'm loving the descriptions of car borne weapons and hugely envious, as I am of the varying flak jackets etc. I think it may have been my second tour when we were issued with bulky, unwieldy, heavy, smelly and uncomfortable jackets. Fresh from "the 'Nam ! " Boy, did it make us feel good. And, on a tour in that delightful and pleasant little place called Newry, I was volunteered to be the driver for "some people who had to go somewhere". Straight off camp guard I was told to wear my scruffiest civvy clothes - as if I had anything other than scruffy - and a police car took me from camp , crouched in the back, to somewhere where I was dropped off next to a dirty, dented and very sad looking Bedford van The sort with the sliding doors. 3 men met me there, gave me a shoulder holster, a Browning pistol and 3 magazines of rounds. I drove wherever they told me, and had no clue what was going on, except that some road signs were in Gaelic.
The van had a wooden partition between the cab and the rear, and behind this partition were two of the guys, some serious radio kit and a rack of weapons. To this day I have no idea what it was all about, but then again, most of my life has been like that.
Sometime between April and September 1985?
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Fair enough! I only just registered that you mentioned a 'Bedford' van, which would have been wrong anyway.
I think it was a Bedford, may have been a Commer. Memory a bit hazy.
 
A situation that I could never understand; I was heading one dark evening for Glenanne base near Whitcross Armagh , I came upon a car pulled into the side of the road with the lights on and door open. I didn't hang about but drove into Glenanne, at the entrance was the driver of the abandoned car, he was in a great deal of distress, he said he had been ambushed. A patrol found empty cases in the road by the car, but nothing else. The next day the CO was informed by Bde that there had been no incident. The Adj spoke to someone at Bde with a point that the UDR soldier was to be disciplined if it was confirmed that no incident had taken place. The Adj was positively told. 'Leave this incident alone, say nothing to the soldier but issue him with a PPW. some months later I saw the soldier and broached the subject. He blanked me and walked off! Never could understand that situation.
 
A situation that I could never understand; I was heading one dark evening for Glenanne base near Whitcross Armagh , I came upon a car pulled into the side of the road with the lights on and door open. I didn't hang about but drove into Glenanne, at the entrance was the driver of the abandoned car, he was in a great deal of distress, he said he had been ambushed. A patrol found empty cases in the road by the car, but nothing else. The next day the CO was informed by Bde that there had been no incident. The Adj spoke to someone at Bde with a point that the UDR soldier was to be disciplined if it was confirmed that no incident had taken place. The Adj was positively told. 'Leave this incident alone, say nothing to the soldier but issue him with a PPW. some months later I saw the soldier and broached the subject. He blanked me and walked off! Never could understand that situation.

There's a " Q cars" story from the early 80s, almost certainly apocryphal, but illustrates the confusion of the times:

An army team of 4, in civvies and armed with pistols, are on an admin run somewhere, when the van breaks down near a village.
The corporal in charge tells the lads to get behind the roadside hedge, out of sight, while he walks to a nearby phonebox to report.

While he's in the phonebox, a passing civilian notes the pistol in the corporal's waistband, drives home and calls the police.

Meanwhile, totally unconnected, a RUC covert cruising the area spots 3 likely lads in a hedgerow, and opens fire.
The army covert returns fire.

In response to the earlier civilian's phone call, RUC uniformed bowl up, see two groups of armed civilians shooting at each other, so open up on both.

Allegedly, 48 shots fired, no hits. And quietly hushed up, to preserve the dignity of all concerned.

When I first heard it, it was engineers from Antrim, but no doubt the names changed over time.
 
There's a " Q cars" story from the early 80s, almost certainly apocryphal, but illustrates the confusion of the times:

An army team of 4, in civvies and armed with pistols, are on an admin run somewhere, when the van breaks down near a village.
The corporal in charge tells the lads to get behind the roadside hedge, out of sight, while he walks to a nearby phonebox to report.

While he's in the phonebox, a passing civilian notes the pistol in the corporal's waistband, drives home and calls the police.

Meanwhile, totally unconnected, a RUC covert cruising the area spots 3 likely lads in a hedgerow, and opens fire.
The army covert returns fire.

In response to the earlier civilian's phone call, RUC uniformed bowl up, see two groups of armed civilians shooting at each other, so open up on both.

Allegedly, 48 shots fired, no hits. And quietly hushed up, to preserve the dignity of all concerned.

When I first heard it, it was engineers from Antrim, but no doubt the names changed over time.
'king hell
 
I was turned out of my pit in BBK one dark and stormy night in ‘74 to act as part of a cordon around an incident where some CAV guys were returning from R&R and had been picked up in a van from Aldergrove. Van broke down in Armagh somewhere and guy jumps out to have a look at the engine, trouble was he had an SMG in his hand when an RUC vehicle drove past. There was a contact with at least one Brit fatality.
 
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