The MOD Telephone Exchange

Is anyone else out there thoroughly pissed off with the muppets employed in the MOD operator service?

Let me give you an example, I phoned the operator to request  the contact number for the Officers' Mess HQ RLC TA based in Grantham.  Simple enough you might think, not a bit of it!  Firstly the operator ask me in an unintelligible Scottish drawl what RLC stood for, fair enough, I explained it to him. then he asked me what TA stood for, are you serious.  

After 5 mins of getting no where I ask for any number in Grantham, confident that they would be able to help.  He kindly gave me the number of a chief clerk somewhere in Grantham, then connected me.  The number was engaged, so I asked for another random number.  Wait for it, this is the best bit.

He could connect me to the second number but could not tell me what it was!!!!! nor would he, instead he spent longer telling me why he was only allowed to give one number than he would have done F**king telling me the number!!.

Faster, Better, Cheaper  Bollocks.


I totally agree - the amount of time I have spent not getting a number out of DFTS or getting connected to SO1 Generators means that I now just use the force - I figure I have a far better chance of getting the right number.  Failing that of course you can use the tried and trusted method and delegate it - preferably to the Chief Clerk.


Now I am mounting my soap box with some enthusiasm over this one.  

1. Ever tried being out of the office, calling on your own phone to ring, in this case, a mil no in Germany and being told that they won't connect you as you're on a civi phone?

2.  I was trying to organise a Bn event (all ranks do) (all good retention stuff which is apparently v. important) and was told that I wasn't allowed to buy a phone an ents company and that I should go and buy a phone card and bill it to the function.  Offr to NAAFI and back, then to Regt Acct with receipt, OC PRI for signature = min 1hr = about £10.  All for a call worth a fraction of a penny!  I went right up to 1 Div over that one and got nowhere.  We are bloody mad.

Leave soapbox, although there's more.


Oh, and for really amusing time wasting, try getting a number for 2RIrish.  7RIrish have gone from their lists (probably the same offices so could be helpful) and 2 don't yet exist.  Asked for the Gd rm at Palace Bks, got the hospital, etc etc .  I suspect elite RIrish drills may have a part to play here, though.


And if you can't read my no.2 in above gripe; it should read 'phone an ents company' - the 'buy an ents company' bit was inserted by a secret MOD department tasked with big brother thought control and disinformation activities.  Be warned brothers...


I love it when they deny a unit exists.  I'm no longer with my Battalion, but a while ago tried to ring them on the Mil Net.  After an eon of searching they informed me they don't exist.  This came as something of a shock.

I also adore their utter lack of knowledge about Army organisation and abbreviations.  When asking for a Fire Support Company a while ago (before they became the Coy no-one can spell)  I had to wait 5 mins before being told "there isn't a fire station there."  Or how about:

"There isn't an adjutant listed in Bn HQ."
"OK, just read me the list."
"Sure.  There is CO, 2IC, Adj..."
"I'll try the adj, thanks."


To be fair to them on that point, though, it takes quite a while to get to grips with all the abbreviations, jobs etc that we use every day and I'll bet that there's quite a high staff turnover (as in most call centres), relatively short training etc.  Additionally, I have to say, they're generally polite and a lot of us must be insufferable when in a hurry for a number.

You'll wonder why I've just done a 180; basically it's their rules and regs that piss me off the most and they are almost certainly a result of an Army staff officer and the budgets system.  Now there's a whole road I wouldn't want to go down....


Now thats a road the army hasn't gone down - and look where we are now. This one could be bigger than Ben Hur so as you say - probably best to steer clear.
have you tried to use the cd-rom telephone directory. We were told to load it onto our office pCs and to use them as it was cheaper.

After 30 mins scrolling through lists, searching files i came to the conclusion that the only army telephone directory on the cd rom was the Afghan Army, therefore sod the penny pinchers , i'll use Doris, Enid, Elsie at the telephone exchange - at least they offer some comedy value
Its not just the operators-I once received a posting order to be SO2 DIT. Not knowing where or what this stood for I rang my MS Desk officer (who had got me the posting) to be told it was SO2 Directorate of Information Technology in London MOD. Great-packed up the MQ (I was overseas at the time)  and applied for new one. 3 weeks before arrival at 'new job' MS told me DIT actually stood for  Directorate of Individual Training-in Upavon. (and it was a shite job too!). Morale of story-find your own job and then tell MS what you want.


when you go via the operator for a mobile number or any number really why do they insist on asking if it's official do they think we are going to phone our parents using the system to pay if we go via the operator of course it's bloody official thats why were doing it


I once asked 192 for the Range Controlling Officer at HQ Salisbury Plain Training Area to be told:

'Sorry, there is no such place as Salisbury Plain Training Area'.



War Hero
I may be able to shed some light on this bit!

I visited an Operator Assistance Centre (OAC) as I was fed up to the back teeth with the c**p service and thought that it needed to be sorted.

In reality it willNEVERimprove!

If anyone wants to visit an OAC and meet Doris, Elsie and all the girls, mail me and i'll fix it.


1.   You could find true romance (Yeah, right!)

2.   They know the phonetic alphabet (Pretty good for a civi!  Try making your own up to confuse them: A is for apple, B is for Bertie, X is for Xenophobe etc just for a laugh)

3.   They service the whole of the MoD (I challenge even the Shrivenham Cpl Clk to know that much about all the TLAs)

4.   The contract was awarded at the minimum cost!!

PS  If anyone can give me the number for DG D&D I'd be in your debt.
I tried to get hold of a friend who was working at HQ NATO in Brussels and asked for "HQ NATO"

"Can you spell that please sir?"


"I want a number for SO3 G3 Trg in 16 Bde, please"

"I've got a "Comd" is that who you want?"

For flip's sake


Apparently there is a way of calling the DFTS directly from the different mobile networks (and vice versa), but I have never got to grips with it!! If anyone knows the dial-in access codes, could they please drop me a line??


I called 192 to get the number for  the SSA 2 Bn, ITC Catterick to be told that there wasnt a 2 Bn! So i tried the Adjt 2 Bn, to be told again that the number wasnt listed????????
I got fed up with that and asked for a telephone number in wathgill Camp to the asked where?
I explained where it was and still got no where!  It only holds a full company of recruits from ITC, and it is a main TA camp in Catterick.  

In the end I got hold of 2 Bn by calling the guard room at the ITC.  The guard comd was abit P"&*ed as this was the 4th call that day for that number.

I called 192 to give them the number for future reference to be told, "Sorry we cannot accept any number as we cannot confirm it as being correct"????????

I asked to speak to a supervisor, to be told that it is the armys fault as when they took over the exchanges all military units were sent a form requesting numbers for all unit telephone numbers.  They say most were not returnd!

Oh! well it does pass the time of day when you are not busy:)
in all fairness i do have to say that these poor operators at this time were dealing with emergencies and being paid approx 5 pound an hour - plus dealing with civilians who have no idea what or who they want. So understandably the turnover of staff in this place is astonishing!!! Also the fact that half of the people phoning are looking for someone called mark , at a army base with blue eyes and he drives a Nissan does not really help when the operator is not based on site. The fact that no one informs anyone when a regiment moves or changes does not help. How do you expect to have up to date numbers when no one tells any body anything. The problem is lack of communication if you ask me.If the right people were informed at the right time this would not be an issue and they are instructed too. and as for checking calls are officicial , fair enough some are genuine but when you are putting 09 calls to chatlines through i dont think that is so official , nor is calls to peoples wives !! i just needed to make that point !!. As for the slagging off the poor operator has got they have had some rediculous questions asked by army staff that they themselves could not believe ! so give the operator a break !!!

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