It was that time of the year, time for the annual vehicle inspection, time for the FFR.
Our lookout strategically placed at the end of the hangars could faintly discern a small group of people suitably armed with clip boards padding their way along the road in the direction of Stalwart Troop hangars, avoiding where possible those neat little piles of autumnal leaves and other items of debris that had been swept together in readiness for disposal prior to the big day.
To a man they were all wearing DMS boots and denims, unusual in itâs self to those accustomed to wearing more comfortable attire with their legs safely tucked under a desk in their nice warm office. On reflection they had on this occasion probably got it right for Stalwart Troop was rarely renowned for living in a pristine environment.
As they approached the hangars they could hear what proved to be the rythmetic throb of a compressor emanating from within the hangar. They could have been forgiven for mistaking what they thought was an early morning mist lingering just outside the hangar doors. The unusual thing about this mist was that it was tinged with green, NATO green to be more precise.
Out of the innermost bowels of the hangar emerged two figures for the entire world looking as though they had just done a post office job. Around their faces and tightly secured was the coveted green scarf, berets were pulled down to cover as much of the head as possible while gloved hands held the guns, spray guns that is, the otherwise black denims looking a sickly shade of green.
Christ said Beastie to Cpl Tremblet and one or two others who had appeared and were hastily trying to make them selves look more presentable, theyâre bloody early.
âSorry Cpl Selwood quipped the one who appeared to be the leader of the pack I know we are a little ahead of schedule but do you think we might check and see what your state of readiness might be? Donât want the CO finding any horrors do we?â
The green mist was beginning to disperse; it was getting increasingly more possible to see into the darkest and innermost recesses of the hangar. In one corner there appeared to be a heavy mass of metal, closer inspection revealed it to be an ANVIL. A quick check of the CES immediately told the pre inspection team that it was not part of the vehicle kit. A further check of current 1033s did not help either. Beastie at this stage had a rather blank look on his face. Well said the team leader if itâs not WD property better get rid of it, hey? Donât want sunray asking embarrassing questions do we?
Easier said than done, after all it did weigh in at close on 150 pounds was thicker than the glacis plate on a chieftain and would have almost certainly stopped an APDS round.
To cut a long story short a friend of a friend who would never accept that a situation such as this could not be solved took it upon him self to remedy the problem and in due course the said Anvil crossed the channel to a new location. A plinth suitably bolstered with a couple of track links was constructed and the ANVIL reverently put in place. To this day it gives a good a service as ever. I guess Beastie and his boys would have been very proud to have known that their part in the procurement of the ANVIL would eventually lead to it being put to such continuing good use.
One or two questions, and please and after all these years donât be afraid to answer truthfully.
Aware that the ANVIL appeared in Stalwart Troop Hangar shortly after an exercise and stupid as the question may be I have to ask where it came from, and please donât tell me Gretna Green though I know anything was possible in Stalwart Troop. It must have taken two or three people and possibly with some mechanical help to hoist it onto the back of a stalwart. Is there anyone still out there who might at this late stage be able to throw a little light on the matter and put my mind at rest?