Living History !

Talk about your time in the Regiment, the KRH, Military Life, Equipment - Let's keep the good memories going.
Arnie
Posts: 581
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:16 pm
Service Details: 14/20H, 1959-1962 Hohne, Munchen Gladbach, 1962-1964 Benghazi, Cyprus and Tripoli. 1965-1967 7 Armd Bde Soltau.
Tranferred into Int Corps. 1967-1970 NI, 1970-1971 Singapore, 1971-1972 HK,1972-1974 NI, 1974-1976 NITAT(UK), 1976-1979 Berlin, 1979-1981 Preston. 1981 Retired
Real Name: Arnold Greenwood
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Re: Living History !

Post by Arnie » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 pm

Hi All
Although this is not a segment of my book relating to the 14/20H, this is a teaser from the book. I will however paste a segment of my time in the Regiment in the next few days.

It happened as follows:
3 RUC constables and I were enjoying a quiet break in a night of patrolling, and were sitting in an unmarked police car. They were in uniform and wearing bulletproof vests and I was in my usual civvies, without bulletproof vest. In fact I never wore a flak jacket in the whole of my army career.
We were parked in the Market Square, which together with the Police Station, the Orange Hall and the TA Centre formed the basis of the town centre.
The police radio interrupted our conversation with the message that ‘a call had been received that there was a 700 lb bomb in a blue Bedford van outside Wellworths’. All in the car knew that the Wellworths store was situated In Irish Street, running off the SW corner of the square and Woolworths were in Scotch Street, which ran from the SW end of the square.
We then heard that the RUC crew under Sgt Jack Brown, (RUC) were on their way to check out Wellworths.
Several minutes passed before the radio again informed us that Wellworths was ‘all clear’.
I suggested that we check out Woolworths, as this store was only about 200 metres from where we were parked. The constable driver started the car and we drove to the bottom end of the square and into Scotch Street. When we turned into Scotch Street, even though I was a back seat passenger, I could see that there was a blue Bedford van parked outside Woolworths.
It’s a funny thing but quite unreal, when you have no control over what is happening. I thought, this driver is going to stop soon, but no! He drove right up to the back of the Bedford. We all got out and the driver looked in through the rear window and said, “Jeez! It’s full of explosives” or words to that effect.
It being a late night shopping night there were many shoppers in both Woolworths, the surrounding shops and pedestrians on the street.
My first reaction was self-preservation, though there may have been some training. Being the most senior of the four, rank wise, but not really having any authority over these policemen, I took charge and ordered the constable driver to remove his vehicle and one of the constables to clear the street South of Woolworths and the other constable to clear the street North of us. I, would clear Woolworths.
In Northern Ireland in 1972 it was a well practiced routine. I marched into the store and in my best Sergeant-major voice, said , “Ladies and Gentlemen. Would you vacate the premises, there is a bomb”.
No panic or screaming, everybody just quickly and quietly, filed out. All had to walk past the Bedford van. I was standing about 5 metres from the van and the last person out, a little old lady, stood about arms length from the back of the van.
I said, “Madam would you vacate the area, there is a bomb”.
She asked me, “Where is it?”
“You’re fucking standing next to it”. I said in a fairly emphatic voice.
She said, ”Ooh”.
I grabbed her by the wrist and, in a crouching run, reminiscent of the newsreels one had seen of civilians in Paris or Berlin in the latter part of WWII, we crossed the road running in a crouch, towards Market Square. We were about 25 metres from the corner and some 50 metres from the vehicle when the bomb exploded. My most vivid memory was of the rear axle and differential, with the wheels still attached, whooshing over our heads and landing with a crash halfway up the Market Square. When wee got round the corner, I said to her, “There you are. You are safe now”.
She replied, “Thank you young man, (pause) I’ll even forgive you for swearing at me”
Don’t you just love the Irish!
This was not first nor the last time my allocation of nine lives diminished. I am getting ahead of myself. Where did it all start.

Arnie

Arnie
Posts: 581
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:16 pm
Service Details: 14/20H, 1959-1962 Hohne, Munchen Gladbach, 1962-1964 Benghazi, Cyprus and Tripoli. 1965-1967 7 Armd Bde Soltau.
Tranferred into Int Corps. 1967-1970 NI, 1970-1971 Singapore, 1971-1972 HK,1972-1974 NI, 1974-1976 NITAT(UK), 1976-1979 Berlin, 1979-1981 Preston. 1981 Retired
Real Name: Arnold Greenwood
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Been thanked: 10 times
Contact:

Re: Living History !

Post by Arnie » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:10 am

The following might be remembered by some of the 'Old Sweats' who were in Benghazi, and it involves the Regiment directly.

Some interesting events which happened to me were; during the month of Ramadan (Muslim Holy period, during which all Muslims fast during during daylight and feast and make merry after nightfall) in 1963 I was Guard Commander of Wavell Barracks and during the Guard Mounting Parade the Orderly Officer pointed out to me that I had 3 extra men on the guard, and that they would be armed with an SMG (Sub-Machine Gun) and 30 rounds. He explained that the 2i/c of the Libyan Army had driven into our barracks the previous night, parked his Mercedes at Reception of the BMH walked in, informed the nurse that he had had an accident and promptly dropped dead. It transpired that some dissidents had ambushed him and shot him five times. He survived until he got to the hospital, but as the dissidents could not prove to their followers that they had killed him there was a distinct possibility that they would try and steal the body, which was being prepared for burial in the hospital morgue, hence the armed guard. I could see that there was going to be no sleep for me during the night as I was specifically instructed by the Orderly Officer that I, personally, had to take the relief sentries round to the morgue and bring the relieved one back to the guardroom. I could also see another problem which I brought to the attention of the Orderly Officer. If the dissidents were to come to steal the body, they would have to come through that gate I said pointing to the front gate. We were only armed with the usual pick-handle for personal protection. So they would have to kill us before reaching the morgue. He agreed with my assessment of the situation, and issued me, personally with an SMG and 120 rds of ammunition. Three incidents happened during the night; one happened at the end of the fasting when the festivities started. Yelling and screaming began and all of us on guard assumed, wrongly, that this was the dissidents coming to get the body. My first thought was that this is it, Greenwood VC. I had the weapon all ready and believed I would have put up a brave fight for the glory of the regiment. . . . . . , the second one was when I relieved one sentry, a 19 year old lad from Blackpool, he asked me if I had seen what was going on in the morgue. I replied that I didn’t want to. Go on, he urged, its ‘dead good’. I thought if he, a 19 yo could watch it so could I, a 23 year old could. I had never seen a dead body before so with some trepidation I went in.
The body was laid out on a stainless steel table and the medic had almost finished preparing the body. The preparation had taken the form of making an incision from just under the chin to just above the penis, breaking the ribs and removing all the internal organs and intestines. These were in a stainless steel bucket at his feet. The cavity created by the removal of these parts had been filled with cotton waste, well known to tank mechanics for wiping their oily hands with. The incision is then stitched together and ‘voile’, there he is all prepared. As I walked through the door the medic was almost finished. A few more stitches and the hole would be sealed, but until then the flaps of skin from just above the breast-bone were folded like a suit lapel. I could see some of the bullet holes of which there were seven. Apparently he had put up his hands to shield himself so 2 of the bullets created the extra holes. He looked quite peaceful and tidy but I understand that his back was a mess.
The third incident could have been a tragedy. Needless to say the sentries had been given quite specific instructions concerning the very limited reasons they should and could open fire. I was informed that sometime during the early hours of the morning a member of the staff of BMH, after dropping off his girlfriend at her quarters had then driven his car to where it was normally parked, which just happened to be the short driveway to the morgue. He obviously had forgotten what had happened the previous night or what might be going on in the morgue, so he cavalierly screeched to a halt and was about to alight from his car when he noticed my sentry, cock his weapon and prepare to shoot him. This was the one event not covered by the sentry’s instructions. There was no time to shout, “Halt! Or I will fire” 3 times. The soldier was quite right in being prepared to kill the man, who, incidentally, shit himself.
Since that night in 1963 I have told that story as an after dinner anecdote for many years. It was only a couple of years ago, while reading a biography of Ghadaffi that I got the whole story. The author had got to 1963 in his narrative and related a story that goes like this.
‘During Ramadan in 1963 the Commandant of the Libyan Army Officers Training Academy, a Colonel, had been ambushed and shot. He drove to the BMH in Wavell Barracks and was being treated by the British when he received a visit from the Brigadier in command of the British Army Training Team in Benghazi, a good friend.
The Brigadier asked the Colonel in the bed, “Who did this to you?” “Muammar” was the only word he got out before he succumbed to his wounds and died. Had he managed to say ‘Gadhaffi’ first instead of ‘Muammar’, his given name, I wonder how the history of the modern world would have changed. There is no doubt that Gadhaffi would have been arrested that day by King Idris, then still the ruler of Libya, and probably executed. Gadhaffi at that time was a cadet at the Officers Academy, but would not have been around to stage the coup in 1969, when he overthrew the king.

Reference material, click the link below
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_G ... %80%931966

Cheers All
Arnie

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PINKY
Posts: 2470
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:32 pm
Service Details: Ex 1420H,left as a Sgt in March 2003 after 23 yrs service.
Real Name: John Pinkerton
Location: Born in Salford now living in Alberta, Canada
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Re: Living History !

Post by PINKY » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:10 pm

Brilliant
Thanks for sharing
Pinky

Bill Bentley
Posts: 840
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:12 pm
Service Details: 1970 - JLR RAC, 14/20KH, Para Sqn RAC, 2 Para, DLOY- 1990
Real Name: Martin W.L. Bentley
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Re: Living History !

Post by Bill Bentley » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:48 am

Mini Drac,

Drac = Dracula :idea: got it ! We should have put Brian up against Mike Tyson, boxing in water, they would have looked like Amazonian fish :lol: :lol:

Would it be impolite to ask how you got your nickname or would that embarrass your mum ...


Nice one Arnie,

were you ever a fisherman ? Ground bait, tasty ground bait, thanks for the preview !

I was never a fisherman though the logic of ground baiting is known to me ... find the feeding ground and you will find whatever it is that you are looking for, create the feeding ground and your target will come to you :shock:.


When I joined the regiment at Aliwal Bks. in Tidworth in 1972, I got the impression that there were only giants and dwarfs. My own mentor from JL's, had been SSM Johnny Marcelle, who's nickname was FEPD (four eyed poison dwarf) as one example, Drag (arse) Howard being another. Then there was big Willy Wilson, aka Langbow and Dennis Jones, all good 6 footers. I had joined JL's in 1970 at just 15, at 5'0" and, having been fed meat DAILY for the first time in my life, grew to be a 'normal' 5'8". I found myself looking up to the lower ranks and down to the senior ranks, an odd position to be in for a Sprog.

My own great/grandparents had fought in both WWI & WWII but we kids never had the chance to associate with them, our own family's veterans. I used to really enjoy singing along in the old British Legion, Burma Star, Toc H, and Sally Bash clubs, with other veterans, where has it, this feeling of national pride, of camaraderie, of shamelessly enjoying, all gone ?

I have just congratulated Frank Smith for being awarded the Regimental Rosetta, I commented that he had worked hard in the background. There is another person whom I should like to 'bait' into telling his story, here, because, as I see it he too has obviously worked hard and achieved a lot but I know all too little about his story and unlike Brian Dracula Draper he is still here amongst us and could tell his story first hand.

He would have been much closer than 'my generation' to the WWI veterans and would have probably been friends with some WWII veterans.

I think that he was a Boy Soldier, a term which is frowned upon by our modern society, he worked his way up through the ranks and achieved a commission, which I think he held for almost as long as he was a ranker. He is a person who I comfortably look up to, though I am not quite sure why ... I hope that he takes the bait because the times that he has lived through were in many ways extraordinary and he achieved more than most of us even dared to dream of. He has the same initials as myself and signs his post with two letter that I also sometimes use and I know that he reads everything that we all write, so as a famous talk show presenter used to say "will you please stand up, because 'This is your Life' !

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