Using a pace stick requires much practice

At the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Heritage Day we enjoy the Colour Sergeants demonstrating marching with a pace stick. This year there was no pace sticking demonstration, much to our disappointment.

According to the diggerhistory website, a pace stick is,

The Regimental Sergeant Major of a Unit carries a ‘Pace Stick”, which originated in the Artillery as a “Gunner’s Stick” and was used to measure the distance between guns.

It was soon adapted to measure the length of the pace taken by soldiers to get them all pacing the same. The Pace Stick is actually two pieces of timber, hinged at the top and able to be set to a particular distance, something like the compass set you used at school.

Our loss was assuaged by friendly Colour Sergeant P Johnson of the Lancashire Regiment. Jany stopped by a couple of Sergeants to enquire about the pace sticking demonstration, for me to return to see her practicing with a pace stick. I too tried to use one, only to find that it’s not as easy that at first it would seem. Adeptness with your wrist is essential to use one

Should you like to know more, and see a pace stick demo at RMA Sandhurst, then look at my article HERE, when all is revealed. Here are a few photos of our efforts.

The 2018 Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Heritage Day is Sunday 17th June

The Heritage Day of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is a popular local event, attracting over 15,000 visitors. It’s the one day every year the RMAS opens its’ gates to the public.

We’re regular visitors to the Heritage Day. There’s always lots to see and do. The refreshments are good, and good value. We especially enjoy the cream teams, an opportunity to sit for a while over tea and scones after wandering around the academy grounds.

This year, 2018, the Heritage Day at Sandhurst RMAS is being held on Sunday 17th June 2018, commencing at 10.0 am. Entry is free.

Museum Monday #3: Museum of Military Medicine

At the edge of our Borough we host the Museum of Military Medicine at Keogh Barracks in Mytchett.

The museum sits inside Keogh Barracks, the home of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and so to enter there’s a process of identification and acquiring a pass with photograph. All part of the fun when visiting.

The story of Army medicine is engagingly told through surgical tools, and staged presentations. There’s an Iron Lung in the museum, which impresses on how lucky we are to have beaten poliomyelitis.

The museum is open from 9.30 to 3.30 from Monday to Friday. It’s postal address is The Museum of Military Medicine, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, GU16 6DD

Thrilling first-hand account of Operation Eagle’s Summit

Lt Col Ian Bayliss told the audience about the complex planning, and the transport dangers involved in Operation Eagle’s Summit, in Afghanistan in 2008, at an evening lecture Royal Logistic Corps Museum in Deepcut.

Operation Eagle’s Summit involved moving a 220 ton turbine for the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan through the highly dangerous Afghan province of Helmand. The Chinese made turbine was delivered to Kandahar air base by Russian Antonov aircraft. The turbine was dismantled into seven 30 ton units, there being no crane capable of lifting that weight at the dam.

From thence, in 10 days in August 2008, 16 Air Support Brigade executed the transportation and protection, of the seven electricity turbine components. The operation was six months in planning, and consisted of British, ISAF, and Afghan National Army units, with the British element being by far the largest, with over 2,000 troops and 100 assorted vehicles. Lt Col Ian Bayliss commanded the convoy, with special forces clearing out the opposition, Royal Engineers levelling the road, and with US providing essential air cover.

The operation is described in detail in a report in the IndependentThe inside story of a daring foray into Taleban territory, and in Michael Yon’s blog. Lt Col Bayliss ended his talk stating the the hydro-electric dam was finally made operational in October 2016. One helluva good story.


Reminder: RLC Museum evening lecture of a daring and dangerous military operation

This is a reminder of the Royal Logistic Corps Museum evening lecture on Thursday 19th this week.

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.

We’ll be in the audience for this fascinating talk, and hope to see you there.

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.