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.
Here in Lightwater this week, there’ve been lots of loud bangs emanating from the Greyspot Grenade Range in the Bisley & Pibright ranges. The only other day this month when the Grenade Range is in use is Thursday 27th.
In an odd way I rather like them when they occur, as it reminds me that our local history is closely allied with military training, and we need a well-trained Army. A couple of years ago I looked into these loud bangs, and found that West End Parish Council publishes online a schedule of when the grenade range is in use.
I even delved into the type of grenade that was likely to be used by soldiers. It’s an L109 [see image], if you’re interested.
Wonderfully, in the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, there’s this lovely story about hand-grenades,
A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20:
‘Saint Attila raised the Hand-Grenade up on high saying, “O’ Lord, bless this thy Hand-Grenade that with it thou mayst blow thy enemies to tiny bits. In thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”‘