1969/70

UK Ops Trials and Exercises 69-70_editedTotals –       Exercises 18

Noteworthy UK Exercises

EX. ROSELEAF (15th – 22nd April 1969)
An SR E21/R241 was written into EX. REPLETE but could not take part owing to delays in delivery. Ex ROSELEAF was initiated to practice the E21/R241 crew and fully test the new equipment prior to deploying to EX. SATURNIN.

The exercise was between the E21/R241 deployed in Norton Barracks and Kempsey Common and DCN Cyprus. It was uneventful but provided valuable warming-up experience.

EX APRIL SHOWER (21st – 25th April 1969)
An SR D13/R234 detachment provided simulated rear link communications for an HQ 3 Division CPX from Nesscliffe to a simulated anchor station (also an SR D13) in Norton Barracks, Worcester. This exercise was a work-up practice for:-

EX REPLETE (28th April – 10th May 1969)
This itself was a practice for the main 3 Division deployment with Joint Force HQ overseas later in the year. (The main exercise was subsequently cancelled as a result of the increased commitment in Northern Ireland and the political troubles in Libya)

The Regiment provided an SR D13/R234 to provide a simulated rear link from the JF HQ deployed at Keevil to DCN Siggiewi, Malta. The circuit was then patched via DCN circuit 102 to Cyprus and DCN 027 to Boddington and finally to Control HQ. A liaison team was deployed to DCN Siggiewi.

EX. ROYAL FLUSH XIV & EX. FLUSH OUT (20 – 22nd May 1969)
Ex Royal Flush was an annual 2 and 4 ATAF air photographic reconnaissance competition. The Regiment was selected to provide two targets in the Sennybridge area. Ex Flush Out was a domestic inter D13/R234 exercise using the deployment at Sennybridge.

The Regiment was awarded second prize in the competition for best targets. Capt Gryspeerdt was flown to RAF Wildenrath to accept the trophy

EX. FASTBALL (27th June 1969)
This exercise, a practice of our Op Spearhead commitment was carried out once during the period. It involved callout, movement through the MCCP at Devizes, return to Worcester and establishing communications with Commcen Siggewi. The exercise went very smoothly.

EX BROWNLOW (8th – 10th July 1969)
EX HEDGEROW (25th – 29th August & 4th – 5th September 1969)
Both exercises were domestic practices of SR D13 working to Commcen Cyprus. They provided substantial training of a routine nature.

EX UNITY (17th – 18th September 1969)
This was an emergency movement of an E21/R241 to Bulford to take place in a demonstration which was subsequently cancelled. It however proved the ability to move the E21/R241 at short notice.

EX. LONESOME (30th October – 3rd November 1969)
This exercise was designed to test the two E21/R241’s interworking. D Troop was moved by road to Blandford and E Troop to Catterick where they deployed in training areas by 30th Signal Regiment and 8th Signal Regiment respectively.

The exercise took the form of three phases each 24 hours long when SSB (4 classified channels, two with ISB (4 Tg. plus two speech) and equipment tests (including remote teleprinter console and conference facilities) were practised.

The exercise was most successful, proving the ability of the troops to deploy reasonably rapidly and proved the full capacity of the E21/R241. The E21/R241 stations were demonstrated to many interested spectators from the School Of Signals and 30th Signal Regiment at Blandford and Training Brigade at Catterick.

EX. MONARCH (3rd to 7th November 1969)
This was a routine communications exercise between a SR D13/R234 detachment and DCN Commcen Siggiewi, Malta. The D13/R234 was deployed in barracks. The exercise was uneventful, but successful.

EX. BITTER BREATH 6 Phase 4 (18th to 21st November 1969)
D Troop deployed their E21/R234 with transmitter at Kempsey Common and receiver complex in Norton Barracks. A 78 degree Sloping Vee transmit antenna was used with two Sloping Vees as receive antennas Working to 38 Gp RAF in Singapore operating the TGR1 (AT) 26023/1 kept in preservation.

Although short, the phase proved moderately successful when 64% receive path availability was achieved on the second day. ISB working was attempted but with limited success – not surprising, considering the range involved.

EX. PALMETTO (25th-28th November 1969)
This was a routine communications exercise between a SR E21/R241 at Worcester and DCN Cyprus. The D Troop station was already deployed, having just finished Bitter Breath 6. Communications were established on 25th November 1969.

Availability was not good for the first 34 hours, there being only 61/2 hours traffic time. In the next 161/2 hours however only 45 minutes time was lost.

At 1540Z on 27th November, a transmitter fault developed which proved to be irreparable and the exercise was terminated on 26th November at 0300Z.

EX STAMPEDE (1st-6th Dec 1969)
This was an exercise designed to practice the establishment and maintenance of communications with DCN Cyprus. A Troop provided a D13/R234 to work from Blandford to DCN Cyprus.

The exercise was timed to coincide with a School of Signals symposium for headmasters on 4 Dec 69. Communications were established on CW at 0806Z on 1st December 69, 6 minutes after opening. On no day did the D13 achieve less than 80% reception!

This was a successful exercise from A Troop’s point of view. The demonstration was also well received.

EX. MAELSTROM (4th-12th December 1969)
This exercise was to practice the establishing and maintenance of communications with DCN Siggiewi. A SR E21/R241 of E Troop was deployed in Worcester, sloping vee antenna being used at both Rx. and Tx. sites.

Communications were generally good, daily traffic time amounting to 14 hours, 17 hours 47 minutes, 19 hours 8 minutes and 7 hours 20 minutes (from 0800Z to 1600Z only). A standby D11 Transmitter was set up and tested to Malta, but proved unsuccessful.

EX. CHIVE (13th -16th January 1970)
This exercise was designed to provide a demonstration rear link with DCN Siggiewi as using a SR D13/R234 as part of the CSO Amy Strategic Command Study Period at Bulford on 15/16 Jan.

The Exercise was preceded by an EX. FASTBALL call-out on 13th January 1970 which was satisfactory. The station was deployed at Bulford and communications established.

The demonstration was entirely satisfactory but the circuit performance was poor. This was due to the congested nature of the site, which severely restricted the erection of effective antennae.

EX. CLAYPOLE (12th – 19th January 1970)
This exercise was designed to test the remote EDC traffic position and voice facility (TOP 21) of the short E21/R241 station. E Troop was deployed at Tangmere and D Troop at Worcester.

E Troop employed a Delta matched dipole Tx. antenna for the first time. It proved to be a success.

This was purely an engineering exercise, and no traffic was passed. The remote EDC position was successfully operated from both positions. The maximum distance possible to operate the remote position from Cabin 2 was found to be 1 mile.

EX. TRANSOM (17th – 20th February 1970)
This was a routine communications exercise employing a SR E21/R241 working to DCN Siggiewi. Communications were established at 1000Z on 17th February 1970. All channels working by 1400Z.

Traffic availability was generally good, and improved during the course of the exercise.

Overseas Operations & Exercises

Overseas 69 to 70_editedTotals –        Exercises 6        Operations 3

OP. SHEEPSKIN (Continued)
The detachment continued to provide a rear link through this period. Improvements to the layout of the station and the power supplies were made throughout. A detachment turnover took place in June when WO1 (YoS) Dixon took command.

EX. CUNNINGHAM (26th April 1969 – 26th June 1969)
This was a first attempt at a deployment of the Advanced Base Group in NW Europe. The Regiment was tasked with providing the rear link to UK using an SR D13 of B Troop (formerly 645 Signal Troop).

The detachment was flown in Argosy aircraft from Benson to Gilze Rijen in Holland and thence by road to the exercise location at Sloehavn. Communications were established using dipoles for both transmit and receive antennae on 26th April 1969.

The exercise was most successful as a communications test since the circuit was maintained for a long period (26th April – 26th May 1969) with an 83% traffic time. Further, a great deal of experience was gained by new crew members. The type of service offered was well advertised to other arms and services and the reliability of the equipment was retested.

EX. SATURNIN (5th May – 17th July 69)
This exercise involving movement by air and deployment in British Honduras of the first SR E21station when then had to work four weekly schedules to assorted DCN anchor stations. The aim was to exercise and test an E21 in all respects to ensure that the crew and equipment would be capable of operational deployment from 1st July 1969.

Reconnaissance of the exercise sites were carried out by Maj Taylor GSO II HQ 1 Signal Group and Capt Gryspeerdt. Capt Gryspeerdt accompanied the detachment on the flight out from the UK and briefed them in-situ.

Movement by 5 Hercules C130 of RAF ASC was routine and the complete station arrived in Belize by 5th May 1969. The detachment found that KD was of little protection against the cold at Gander where they staged.

The station was deployed with transmitters in the BH Police Training grounds. There was just enough space to site both a Sloping Vee and Grainger antenna (After note –  The Granger towers were used to support HF Log-Periodic antennas one for transmit and two for receive – memory and records support that this was the only overseas exercise that they were ever used – OM). The receiver site was at Belize Airport Camp, some ½ mile from the transmitters. Dual diversity Sloping Vee were used but space was again at a premium. The station was completely ready for the start of Phase 1 on 9th May 1969.

Five phases were worked in all, each of 4 or 5 days duration. They were to Boddington, Stanbridge, Siggiewi, Cyprus and Boddington again in that order. Despite minor equipment difficulties on occasions, the overall results were most pleasing.

The return in two phases suffered from aircraft delays and breakdowns including a fire in mid-air. The last aircraft finally reached UK on 17th July 1969, some four weeks later than scheduled.

EX BEAUMONT (22nd May1969 – ? )
To practice deployment in an unfamiliar location and inter D13 working it was arranged for a detachment of 1 Squadron to be moved by road to the RA Range in Benbecula, Outer Hebrides, and from there to work to a station in Worcester.

The movement in both directions proceeded without a hitch. The distant detachment had difficulty erecting antennae in the almost continuous gale force winds, but the exercise was successful.

OP. MARGINAL (18th August 1969 – Dec 1969)
The increasing civil unrest and disturbances causing over-stretching of police resources in Northern Ireland resulted in the reinforcement of existing garrisons and the emergency deployment of several battalions for IS duties. Concern was felt about the physical security of the GPO cable route between Belfast and England. Accordingly, the decision to deploy an SR D13/R234, in a standby role, was taken.

The “Spearhead” detachment of B Troop, 1 Squadron under command of Capt J V Fielding was moved by road to Lyneham and air to Aldergrove on 18th August. The station was moved to Lisburn and deployed in the area of HQ Northern Ireland. Communications with DCN Commcen Boddington were established at 191700Z August.

Command of the detachment was handed to the Foreman WO1 (FoS) Jarratt on 25th August. The detachment assisted in all types of work including the build up of static commcen and radio facilities and the use of antenna masthead light as a helicopter LP indicator.

The radio circuit was always used as a back-up for the GPO PW but even in these circumstances traffic time was kept to 93%. Local interference problems which occurred at the outset of the operation were eliminated by re-siting and other means. A dipole was used for transmit and a dual-diversity combination of dipole/long wire for receive antennae.

The SR D13/R234 detachment handed over its standby role to the static D13 and commcen manned by 233 Signal Squadron and returned to Worcester by mid-December

EX. BITTER BREATH 6 Phase 4 (18th – 21st November 1969)
Exercise Bitter Breath 6 was the deployment of a detachment of LRCF, 38 Group SU RAF to the Far East to activate TGR1 (AT) 26023/1 kept there in preservation. The fourth phase was added at our request to attempt intercommunications between two E21 type stations over the very long range made available by this deployment.

The regiment sent a liaison team consisting or Maj R .A.F. Reynolds (OC 2 Squadron) and six to Singapore to work with the LRCF They proved most useful to the RAF and found the detachment experience worthwhile themselves.

WITHDRAWL FROM LIBYA (6th February 1970 – 28th March 1970)
Due to the coup of young Army officers in October 1969 the training and staging lease for British armed forces In Libya was withdrawn and a withdrawal planned to be complete by 1 April 1970.

An SR D13/R234 was despatched to Tobruk by sea on 7 Feb 70 with the crew flying out later to join up at the port. The detachment under command Captain T.T. Hallchurch established the station close to the static station of El Adem which was being withdrawn. Communications were established on 18th February working to DCN Commcen Cyprus.

After initial mutual interference problems due to the cramped space limiting siting, the circuit settled down and the main circuit was taken over on 23rd February 1970. From then, the detachment maintained a high circuit time of at 80% plus, at one time reading 93%. They have suffered from sandstorms and low humidity (3%) which have caused antenna problems.

The detachment provided the only circuit from 1st March 1970 and continued to do so until 31st March when they made a rapid movement to the LSL at Tobruk and back to the UK.

EX. CAULDRON (6th February – 8th March 1970)
This exercise took place in 4 phases. The first 3 phases being communications exercises and the fourth phase being military and adventure training.

A D13/R234 of A Troop was deployed to Dhekelia SBA in Cyprus. The communications phases of the ex were as follows:

Phase I – 6-11 Feb 70 – Cyprus to DCN Siggiewi
Phase II- 13-19 Feb 70 – Cyprus to DCN Boddington
Phase III- 21-28 Feb 70 – Cyprus to DCN Mauritius

The communications phases of the exercise were quite successful. The most successful phase was Phase III to Mauritius, where 67% traffic was achieved over a circuit of 4,380 miles.
OC 1 Squadron visited the detachment on 17th -24th February 1970.

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