Home
News Updates
XI Sphinx  -- Now.
Reunions
Contacts & Links
Historical
Old Sphinx Tales
Photo's  Page
 




THE NEGUB TIE.
I served in Aden in 1962 with 11(Sphinx) Battery RA, when part of the Battery was deployed around the village of NEGUB.
Half way through our four-month tour of duty, the personnel were rotated with those who were deployed in the town of Aden.
 At that time Signallers & REME personnel were thin on the ground, which meant that Geordie Hodgson, two REME NCOs, and myself had to remain at Negub for the full four-month tour.
One of the Reme Corporals decided to have some Ties made, to his own design, for the four of us to commemorate this event.
I have managed to take care of my Negub Tie over the years, and often wondered if the other three lads did the same. Could mine be the only one left?
I would like to donate my Negub Tie to the Association Memorabilia Collection.
Mr TA Minshull (Ex Sgt)

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI

A TALE BY ANON.
I was not yet 18 when I ‘joined up’
After serving as a Junior Soldier I was fully trained in the skills of driving and Radio ops etc.
I had been posted to another Regt in Malaya (Malacca) and this unit was on an operational tour of Borneo in both Inf & Artillery roles. I was Just 17 & a bit , and too young to join my unit, so was sent to 34 LAD Regt RA in BAOR
I joined 11(Sphinx) Bty as a Troop Commanders driver / signaler, but my TC Lt Howard-Harwood always drove the Champ on exercises!
One day I said “I can drive sir“.…“You” he said “are too young to be able to drive & answer the radio“! Fed up with this, while he was doing a recce of foot, I drove off up the track, and reversed back to him changing gear in reverse mode,then spun round and picked him up. I drove from then on.....but not without retribution! I had no idea how difficult it was for the other lads to get on a driving course! I was given a smack or two one night in bed for my crime of not yet being 18 and being able to DRIVE!! How times have changed eh.....


click here to view Photo's of the Austin Champ, provided by the Champ Spares website.

Another tale. Bernie Bond was a legend in B troop, quite small but all sinew
and hard as hell.He was great mates with the fijians and adopted the Rowa-Rowa
as his personal war cry at the Brigade sports. One time he was so far ahead
in a distance race (his black hair tied back with tie!!) he ran into the Beer tent
sank a pint and with a loud ROWA_ROWA ran back on to the track and finished
first! He went on to win a couple more races that day to.
Rip-cord Foster was the CO then, Bernie was bored with the AA Regt so asks to join 7 th Parachute Regt RA.
Ripcord says “Bond, No Way you'll muck em about ,its the SAS for you my lad Bernie reports back to the lads, “The CO wants me to go and join some special delivery service?? I aint no ------ postman!”
I assume he went cos i never saw him again. Years later I asked some members of said regt about Bernie, but no one seemed to know of him,Or did they?
Who knows!
ANON 2004

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI

KOREA REVISITED.
My experiences in 11 (Sphinx) Battery were very short lived but memorable.
I joined them in late August 1951 in a gun position close to Castle Hill but only for a very short time. We then moved to Teal bridge , firstly on the south side of the river, the war was very much a stale mate at that time which perhaps was just as well because, as a 19 year old Sgt who's gunnery experience up to that time was based on 25 Pdrs and then 3.7" and 5.25 "heavy ack ack guns I had no idea of the workings or the drill for a 40mm Bofor.

One chap I do remember well but regrettably not his name was the Sgt of the gun crew that I was with at that time, he was a mean harmonica player and spent endless hours serenading us all. After a short while I moved across the river to take over the gun just at the top of the road off the bridge. I must confess that I had a pretty hard time due to my youth, lack of experience and with a crew that was made up mainly of Z reservists who had desires only to get back to blightie (who could blame them) and they were not over keen to take any notice of a fresh faced senior NCO just out of boys service.

When the replacement troops came from Hong Kong around late September 1951 I inherited a crew of very interesting lads, I do have all their names somewhere but cannot at this time lay my hand on it. I do recall that the alternating "cooks" (we all took turns to be cook of the day), produced some very interesting meals, one particular lad was an ace at making white sauces but no good at anything else so you can imagine what we ate on his day as cook!! Fortunately the C7 rations came in handy and these we managed to supplement by stealing from the back of the US ration truck, the drivers of which were being carefully and well orchestrated & distracted by the MP who controlled the traffic to and from the south side of the river, we ensured that his part was well compensated for by way of ample supplies of tea etc.

In the early days the weather was hot and friendly and we used to swim off the rubber pontoons that formed the bridge, not the best thing to do in view of the many decomposing bodies that were still around and were as a result of the great battle that took place earlier in April. We also were aloud to visit other gun crews and in my case we took the unit and went to see my pal Tom Brereton (I would love to make contact again with Tom) he was one of the four Bofor's on Pintail and to get there we used to drive along the shingle which formed part on the river bed and on one occasion my driver managed to get on the wrong side of a shingle bank which was rather soft and we managed to put the unit on its side.

We also passed the time which was very boring by trying to exterminate some of the pests around, mainly rats and one method was to find a rat hole, pour petrol down and ignite it, I think our "school of explosive expert "was a Welsh chap who was not as good as he thought and on one occasion the selected hole was "fired" and some one standing was not aware that there were two ways into the rats hole, the effect being that the flame went in one and out of the other at a rate of knots thus shaking up the unfortunate individual.

Our inability to adjust to the very fine rations that we had were made more bearable due to the infrequent visits by the cook Sgt who visited us all in turn, made ovens out our of empty tins and mud, and had the ability to turn powdered potato (pomme)into a mouthwatering delicacy, sadly we were unable to continue his good work so it was back to white sauce and other revolting meals. At this time we were in tents and did not have any equipment by way of clothing, sleeping bags etc that were suitable for the climate in which we were situated and of course the weather turned rapidly to winter and with it the bitter cold. The yanks had space heaters that were very effective, we had the body of one but not the other bits so all we could do was burn bits of wood in it to try to give us some degree of comfort. Some of the lads managed to get hold of empty wooden beer crates and turn them into bedside lockers in an attempt to get a more homely feeling to their surroundings . It was quite common to wake in the morning and find the locker gone!!.

When 61st Light Regiment was formed I fell foul of a young subaltern, who was not in tune with the situation or the conditions under which we lived, he was most concerned that my hair had grown in length over the weeks and was oblivious to the fact that barbers just did not exist where we were, funny because everyone else understood and excepted it but not this fellow, subsequently I was taken into BHQ for a while and then sent on secondment to Seoul where I fell foul of a very obnoxious WO1 in the SIB and did my best to get a transfer to one of the field regiments but to no avail. I finally managed to get transferred to 120 Mortar Battery, firstly in E Troop and then D Troop where I stayed until coming home in March 1953.

I did keep in touch with 11 Sphinx Battery for a while but am not sure if they still exist, perhaps you can advise me. I also paid my second re-visit to Korea in 2001 and while there had the chance to go up to the ROK held position on the DMZ and in order to get there travelled over the modern bridge which I new as Teal bridge, on the way back I was able to look west and note what I believe would have been the remains of what would have been the replacement bridge for the old pontoon, no doubt built a number of times since, we do now know that the first effort lasted only until the rains came in the year, what was much more poingant to me was that down stream from that bridge I observed a sandy patch which I am convinced was very close to my old gun site and a place of many memories for me. I am pleased to say that I do keep in touch with a number of those that served in 120 Mortar Battery and have managed to organise a couple of re-unions which were a great success but as time passes we become that much older and some less mobile than we were, my old Battery Commander is still alive and in his 80's and does not get about too well, my old Troop Commander is also around 80 he lives fairly close to me and I keep in contact with him as often as I can.

I shall be pleased to hear from and have a wee blether with any of the old boys who once knew me (Including the young and difficult subaltern)
David Drinkwater

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI




Never Misunderstand Your Bombardier

It was in the winter of 1968 while attending my first Firing Camp , that I first encountered the wrath of my Detachment Bombardier.

The move from our Barracks in Hilden; a small rural town in the Rhine Valley, to the North Baltic Costal Artillery Range of Todendorf , had taken us about 2 days to complete.

An Air Defence Regimental convoy was certainly a sight to behold in those days, with each detachment of Gun, Generator, and Radar Vehicles towing their Equipment at a maximum speed of 30 MPH, plus all the admin support vehicles and the enormous 4 Mk 7 Radar Cabins, all being kept in check by the DR’s on their motorbikes.

I had only been with the Bty for a few weeks & I stuck out like a sore thumb. It had been 9 months since the last recruit had joined the Regiment! (The name “Young’n” was to stick for the next 3 years)

My biggest problem during the move was finding my detachment vehicle after each feeding / refuelling halt. Find the right Battery; choice of two. Find the right troop; choice of two. Find the right detachment; choice of four. Find the right Vehicle; choice of three, then get in Cab that holds thirteen people, and find the right seat!!! I thought I’d solve my problem by following Gnr Cichanski every where, that didn’t work! I didn’t know that the co-drivers often swapped vehicles to act as spares when needed.
The words “SOD OFF YOUNG’N” rang in my ears on many occasions.

Upon arrival at Todendorf , while the rest of the lads went to find the accommodation, Young’n had to stay and guard the vehicles. Needles to say, it was dark when I was eventually relieved and I got lost for ages looking for our accommodation block. I found my bunk no problem, the lads had reserved it for me, right by the door & the light switch, but furthest away from the Pot Bellied Stove.

The first parade next morning was to be a range briefing, but as I had not done any courses yet, it was naturally my turn to do cookhouse fatigues! After Pan Bashing and Spud Peeling for most of the day, I was taken off fatigues to go to the Firing Point. My services were required, but only because our Generator operator Gnr Convery, had sprained his wrist. What a sight to see; a Firing Point occupied by a row of 12 Anti Aircraft Guns deployed side by side 20 yards apart, with the Fire Control Equipment No 7 Radar , deployed 20 yards to the rear of the Guns, and finally in the rear the big 4 ½ ton 27 ½ KVA generator trailers.

My new duties were simple; keep the detachment generator internal fuel tank toped up, by hand pumping fuel from the 45 Gallon barrel of diesel perched on the alternator next to the power plant. I was also appointed “Brew Boy”

A Generator Operator was greatly appreciated by everyone during the working day, but come knock off, he didn’t have many friends, on account of the Diesel & Oil smell that could not be disguised or washed away.

The days firing concluded, and after the customary scrub down of the equipment, it was off for the evening meal. My detachment Bombardier was impressed with my Gene Op duties and said that tomorrow he’d let me near the gun on the point, but first I had to learn a new task. I was to return to the point after tea with Gnr X who would show me how to scrub the barrel.

Gnr X took me to the Generator Vehicle, got out the oil and brushes for the barrel, said “get on with it,” then disappeared to the Bar. It took me ages to do it on my own, but I scrubbed that barrel till it was spotless, all nice and clean and free from oil and grease.

Next morning off I go to the Fireing Point with the rest of the Lads. I stay at the rear waiting for the Bdr to send for me.

Within minutes he calls for me from the Gun Point. Off I trot, down to the sharp end.  "I thought I told you to scrub the Barrel” said the Bombardier, "I did” says I.

As I picked myself up off the ground and felt my split lip ,I thought “What did he do that for?”  Pointing at the Gun Barrel, he said “It hasn’t been touched". “But Bombardier” I replied, “I didn’t clean that Barrel”.   “If you’ve cleaned someone else’s Barrel you’ll be on fatigues for the rest of Camp” he replied.

He 'invited' me to show him the Barrel I had cleaned, so he could inspect it. Rather sheepishly I took him to our Generator and showed him the cleanest Diesel Barrel he’d ever seen! I thought it was a Barrel, but I now know its called a Drum!

That night my Bombardier drank me under the table, and it took less time than it would take to clean a Barrel, or a Drum!
 Andy Mortimer taught me a lesson that day. 8 years later, when I was promoted to Sergeant, he STILL drank me under the table at his expence!

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI


In The Beginning There Were Grunts To Be Heard, These Sounds Came From The Mouths Of Those Who We Now Recognize As The Infantry.

A Small Proportion Of Grunts Were Endowed With Brain Cells & Evolved,
To Be Classed As Ruppert’s & Rodney’s.The R’s Had A Great Dislike For Wallowing In The Mud (An Occupational Hazard For All Grunts) To Escape from the Mud They Conquered Their Fear Of Heights And Mounted Beasts Of Burden.

They Trained Other Grunts To Mount Beasts & They Became Known
As Donkey Wallopers. In Later Years To Be Categorized As Cavalry & RHA.

To Clothe, Sustain & Provide For These Brave But Foolish Troops There Evolved A Sub Culture; The Providers. Later to be known As : Acc ,Reme, Rct, Raoc, Rqms, Bqms,& Most Prized For Their Diligence, The Pay Corps.

The RHA & Cavalry Found That Their Beasts Necessitated So Much Care & Attention That An Alternative Was Needed. The "Boffins" (Origin Unknown) Provided The Answer; Machines!

With The Development Of Tanks & Long Range Artillery On Both Sides,
The Life Of The Grunts, Cavalry And The Providers, Was Shortened Considerably.
So The Boffins Invented The Aeroplane: An Air Borne Machine ,That Could Drop From The Skies Incredible Things, To land On The Enemy’s Grunts,
Long Range Artillery & Providers.

This Is The Time In Army Evolution That A Most Significant Metamorphosis Occurred,An Elite Force Of Courageous Men Evolved ,
To Face The Might Of The New Airborne Threat,                                               
The "AIR DEFENDER" (Cloud Puncher).

The "Cloud Puncher" Has Evolved To Become The Most Valued Of  All The  Army Species.
He Is Always Warmly Welcomed Within The Boundaries & Territories Of The Lower Orders.


               



San Carlos, Falkland Islands.

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI

CORNFLAKES.
The Battery TV room could seat about fifty people. The armchairs were laid out in precise lines of five rows of ten, and it had a Black & White TV that could receive 3 German Channels and Dutch TV when the weather was bad.

I was watching a Wildlife Documentary with the sound turned off. This was the first time in my short life of 17½ years that I had absolute total unrestricted personal access to a TV set, but I didn’t make use of my newly gained independence, because I didn’t now how to work the controls to change the channel or sound!

It was nice to be able to relax after what had been quite a hectic day that had started in Liverpool about 18 hours earlier, and had concluded here in St David’s Barracks, Hilden Germany. This was the start of Real Soldiering for me!

Someone entered the TV room and sat at the back, I didn’t turn to see who it was. The animals on the TV screen were wallowing in the mud when a voice behind me said “Are they Hippo’s or Rhino’s?, I always get them mixed up.” The accent was new & strange to me, foreign in a strange way. As I turned to answer I came face to face with the biggest Black man I had ever seen. (The use of this descriptive word is not intended to cause any offence, it was an acceptable  term at the time, and is not intended to be seen in anyway as derogatory)     “Oh may god, how do I answer that,? surely he should know!” I thought in all my innocence!

( I had been told in training, that some Regiments had very strange Initiation Ceremonies) Was this going to be a Wined Up?

I replied that I had been snoozing and hadn’t noticed. “Where are you from” he asked, “ England” I blurted out in my confusion! Did I really say that, I thought in panic.

My fear subsided over the next few minutes, as he explained what it had been like for him and his pals when they first joined the Regiment, having travelled half way round the world to join the Army.

He explained that his first experience with Snow a week earlier, had been exciting. He had later tried to put, in a letter to his family back home, what it was like to be Snowed on. They had seen Snow in the Movies, but had never encountered it first hand.

He said he had written “Its like the stuff in the fridge, very cold, and when it falls from the sky, it sometimes looks like Cornflakes, and sometimes like Rice Crispies."

This had been my first encounter with a member of a group of the most friendly bunch of likeable lads I’ve ever met in my life: The Fijians!
P.P.

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI


How I came to find your organisation was thru the Artillery Ex Boys net.
They had a link to "Find your Mates" or something like that and up your name/organisation popped. As I am already a member of the Royal Artillery Boys, Articifers and Junior Leaders Association I tend to get a lot of information from their website, however include me in your orbat by all means although I don't think there would be many people out there that would remember me.
Nevertheless a short run down on my history may help.
11 (Sphinx) Bty was my first posting after Boys service, promoted to LBDR after just three/four weeks. Actually joined up with them in Thetford on exercises. Went to Lingfield on advance party in Sep 59, started on guns, then education section, went to Manobier for a G45 camera course, firing camp in Feb 60, champion layer!!! Still got the medallion. Went to Singapore with 11 Bty and then moved to Penang in Jan 61 with 58 Bty, did a little bit on the guns and then in the orderly room. Went to HK as member of 58 and then got shoved across to RHQ, still a clerk, and stayed with the HQ until I left the Regt in Wuppertal in Apr 64 for MOD. Got out in 65 with the rank of Bdr.
I think I was a bit of nuisance to the Regt as I was married and under 21 when the Regt moved to the Far East, my wife joined me in Penang (at our expense), we then paid for her to go to HK on TS Nevasa, dumped on the dockside by the Regt and continued to be treated as a single man until I was 21.
Lots more to the story but I don't want to bore you.We left the UK in 68 after I had joined the Australian Air Force in London. Joined as an Aircraftsman Clerk. (funny how you stick with things) served in Australia (obviously) , Vietnam for a year, then back here onto Singapore, made Sergeant and then commissioned. Various jobs, posting to USA and then spent my last three years in Malaysia at Butterworth as Senior Admin officer (Big Adj).
Basically retired at 48 and have just been enjoying my self since. We usually get back to the UK every 3 or 4 years and stay for anywhere from 3 months to a year or more. Our next trip is next year although most of our time will be spent on the continent, I have a love affair with the WWI battlefields around Ypres.

Can't say that I know of Bill Pearson or any other ex 34 Regt members out here in Australia, other than a very good friend of mine, ex 58 Bty then 11 Bty,
John Meadows, Ex WO2 who sadly passed away in March of this year (2004) in Newcastle NSW, he had only been retired for four years. We had been friends since 1961 in Penang. There would no doubt be a number of your members who would have known him or at least of him.
Terry Baumback.

(Anyone who does know Terry, can contact him through our Forum page) admin.

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI


Ghostly tales from the Sphinx of old!

       Those of us who are from the camp 10 vintage were always reminded of the more sinister units that were once stationed in the barracks, one only had to look at the Third Reich carvings above doorways, still visible, and the huge barrack rooms that in years past echoed to the sound of many nailed boots. No not the ROS doing his rounds but the jackboots of Nazi Germany!

       One dark winter night when I was but a slip of a boy and new to the Sphinx and being a true pauper (spare a penny Guv for an old soldier) for my take home pay was but a mere £45 per month with LOA taking it up to a whopping £50, I had retired to my pit as early as I could so that I could go mad at the weekend. I was sharing a room with Errol Lindsay (God rest his soul) who was also a pauper in arms. Errol at times was not an easy person to share a room with, he was certainly neat and tidy but he often talked and moaned in his sleep and no amount of shaking or calling would normally wake him up. This particular night I came to wish fervently that he was not such a deep sleeper for he slumbered happily through my time of need like a babe in arms. That evening I had retired and lay in bed for a short while in luxury, listening to Diane Ross on the monogram my clothes neatly stacked and uniform in pristine condition; bulled boots winking at me from the corner. 
       I was asleep when Errol came in, whenever that was, but at some time in the early hours I was suddenly awake! What it was that woke me I shall never know but what I did know was that the moon lit the room through the wide windows and there was a third presence with us. No noise came from outside, all the drunken Gunners had long since crashed out wherever they were but I felt something boring into the back my head, something unreal and scary. I felt compelled to turn and face whatever it was that disturbed me and warily turned onto my back to try to make sense of the feeling of dread that had taken hold of me. Words died in my throat as I tried to shout ‘Lindsay’ but my lips were stuck together. Desperately I tried again but could not shout loud enough to make Errol even stir….slightly! My eyes could not shift from what was in front of me and panic rose but my fear prevented me from moving a muscle. 
       The moonlight glinted on a belt full of pouches and familiar looking military items but not of my own army and not from the present day. The body to which it was attached stood motionless staring, stooping slightly but intently looking directly at me. The face was dark and featureless but on the head was a Coal- Scuttle helmet. This apparition was standing at the foot of my bed and I wanted to scream but my pathetic efforts came out as a mere whisper. From the far corner of the room Errol moaned and ground his teeth blissfully asleep, the figure continued to stand at which I shouted ‘go away’ but it remained for what seemed an age until eventually I hid my own face. When I looked again the room was empty, the moon shone unobstructed through the room allowing me to see all the familiar items as I had left them. I was drenched in sweat and shaking, my immediate thought was to go to the toilet but nothing would entice me from the safety of my bed.
       I only wish I had been out on the piss that night because at least I would have dismissed it as nonsense but I will never forget that night for every detail is as clear as it was then. It is only now (thirty years later) that I have told anybody else. I never told Errol and it’s a shame he’s not here now to speak about it. Has anybody else experienced such a thing at camp 10?
Steve Lewis

XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _ XI _XI _ XI _ XI _ XI 


Use the Quick Links below to return to other pages.

Home  Contacts & Links  Reunions  News Updates  Historical  Pictures


 
Top