A walk through the Vehicle Test Track in Lightwater

Continuing my heathland walk from Folly Bog, I thought a walk through the Vehicle Test Track would offer a change of scenery.

Gosh, on arrival I found the Army with a range of vehicles using the test track. Must say I was pleased to seem them, for two reasons. One, that I like all things military, and secondly, it’s good to see the facility in use for the purpose for which it was designed.

As is my wont, I approached the soldiers and briefly chatted to them. I noticed that most of them had wet trousers, almost up to their waist. One I noticed was pouring water out of his boots. Why? Before the vehicles entered any of the ponds or deep muddy tracks, the soldiers had to verify the depth of the water. Were they local? I enquired. No, we’re from the RLC in Abingdon. Aarrhh, lovely, a convoy of Army vehicles. That’s another thing that I like to see, a convoy of Army vehicles.

In the photos of the vehicles on the test track, if you look carefully at the soldiers, they’ve got wet trousers, and some are in the process of changing.

Eagle Radio’s Local Hero award to Roy Sellstrom BEM

It was Roy Sellstrom’s idea to create a support group for ex-forces veterans suffering with PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] that should also included their family members. From small beginnings, the Surrey Heath Veterans & Families – Listening Project  serves a wider area than Surrey Heath, extending to Rushmoor Borough and beyond.

Seeing Roy being recognised for his outstanding work in Eagle Radio’s annual Local Heroes Awards is terrific. I should say that Roy is wonderfully supported by his wife Deborah, who’s an equal mainstay in the running of SHV&F-LP.

There’s a monthly meeting of the project on the first Tuesday of every month at the Sea Cadet centre in Gilbert Road, Frimley. Each month there’s a speaker from one of the many veteran support organisations. I occasionally attend a monthly meeting, and end up learning a lot from these presentations.

RLC Museum evening lecture: Operation Eagle’s Summit – daring and dangerous

The Royal Logistic Corps Museum evening lecture, on Thursday 19th October, hosts Lt Col Ian Bayliss’ talk on the dangers posed by the enemy, and the multiple challenges faced in moving a 220 ton turbine for the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan through the incredibly dangerous Afghan province of Helmand.

In August 2008, 16 Air Support Brigade planned and executed the transportation and protection, of seven electricity turbine components, in the Operation Eagle’s Summit conducted by ISAF, and the Afghan National Army.

Sounds like a fascinating evening’s entertainment.

The Navy put on a show for HMS Queen Elizabeth

The arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth to its home port of Portsmouth attracted thousands of spectators. I don’t know, is there another nation that celebrates in such numbers the arrival of a ship into port? Maybe it’s because we’re an island nation and naval power is important to our survival.

We stood by the Square Tower, on the historic fortifications, close by the Sally port where Nelson left to fight the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Royal Navy put on a show for today’s arrival. Sailors of HMS Queen Elizabeth lined the decks, and as the huge ship, majestically, arrived at Portsmouth it was accompanied by numerous helicopters, and also a couple of fighter jets. The throng of spectators were kept informed through a helpful public address system.

Spotting a business opportunity, a flag seller was doing good business with Union Jacks, as were Royal Navy staff. Being there, and witnessing the large ship ever built for the Royal Navy, gave a sense of pride, wonder, and not a little emotion. With the public address, helicopters and cheering crowds, it was a noisy event. I’ll write more about the day later. We’re now off to a reception. and will be completely at the end of this evening.

My report and video of HMS Queen Elizabeth arriving at Portsmouth will be posted here later today

We’ll be at Southsea, or wherever we can get a good position, to see HMS Queen Elizabeth arrive at Portsmouth at 0710 am. Should be quite a sight, as I image all the sailors on board will line the ship, if not I’ll be mega-disappointed.

When we get back home, I’ll work on my report and a video of the arrival, and post it here. It’s sure to be in the TV News.

Means getting up early to see supercarrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth

Thought we were going to miss the arrival of the Royal Navy’s new supercarrier – HMS Queen Elizabeth, at Portsmouth. It’s now confirmed to be arriving in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard at 0710 am approximately on Wednesday 16th August.

To see her arrive means getting up at 5 something – eurgh – though has to be one of those not to be missed events. Must hunt for our Union Jacks.

What do you know about the GHQ Line and military defences?

Explanation first. The GHQ Line [General Headquarters Line] was a defence line built in the during World War II to contain an expected German invasion.

The defence line comprised hundreds of concrete pillboxes and anti-tank defences. Here in Surrey Heath we are above the GHQ Line- see map below – though we do have a smattering of pillboxes, notably one on Deepcut Bridge Road at its junction with Old Bisley Road. As ever, wonderfully, there’s a group of people dedicated to their preservation – see the Pillbox Study Group website.

Chris Kolonko, a military heritage specialist, in his Mapping the GHQ lines in Google Earth, provides the necessary detail on the location of each of the defences. Here’s a screenshot from one of his maps. If you’re interested, you’ll find much more to discover on his maps.