Monthly Archives: August 2011

Lanyard Trophy 2011

What is it? Well it certainly isn’t a long piece of tape to be hung around the neck. It is in fact a grueling endurance march across a nightmare of rolling hills and deep valleys. This year being run by 22 Signal Regiment based up in MOD Stafford.                                                                                  

It is an undertaking that is one of the most challenging events that anyone in the Royal Signals can expect to face without going onto more specialist units like the Paras. The one day competition involves teams of eight, each carrying forty lbs, navigating between checkpoints, attempting to complete the forty miles as quickly as possible, even finishing at all is a prospect that most people have upper most in their minds!

The first training weekend kicked off with the teams in high spirits, the weather was glorious on the South Downs and we reveled in the new challenge. The focus was primarily navigation skills and we covered about ten miles on the first day. A success in itself, as most of us had only ever been as far as the eight miles required for a Combat Fitness Test.

Leading the A team was last year’s winner, Lt Kong who was well supported by DS who had been on the winning team last year. The presence of this level of experience built our confidence as they took us through the skills of navigation and personal administration and I will never again underestimate the importance of comfortable feet or a well packed Bergen.

As the training weekends progressed, so did the distance and the range of challenges faced by the teams. As we aimed to keep spirits high whilst dealing with hot temperatures, blistered feet and the inevitable rookie mistakes of getting lost. This was also when we learnt the most importance factor which could make or break a team… Banter. An essential element in our arsenal, everything from one line jokes to quoting from comedy shows. The truth about the competition was that it would be tough and we would need everything at our disposal to complete it.

More recently the group have split into their respective Regimental teams, the A Team being led by Lt Kong from Eastbourne who are out to defend their TA title again this year having beat 63(SAS) Signal Squadron (Reserve) last year. The B Team being lead by Lt Craster from Windsor and Female Team by 2Lt O’Regan again from Windsor. During the training, we’ve now reached thirty miles and all teams have the competition day firmly in their sights. Good luck to everyone for the 22nd of September in Stafford!

Lanyard Trophy


The Poppy Appeal

History of the Poppy Appeal

Did you know that the Royal British Legion organises a fund-raising drive in the build up to Remembrance Sunday, during which artificial red poppies, meant to be worn on clothing, are offered to the public in return for a charitable donation.

How the Poppy Appeal began

Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote these verses:

In Flanders’ Fields
John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War ended. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae’s poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.

Walton Army Cadets Honour Their Hero

A former Army Cadet who served with the Walton Detachment of Surrey Army Cadet Force for five years has been honoured by Cadets currently serving at the Detachment. Major Matt Bacon, who was 34, died in an explosion in Iraq six years ago where he was serving as a Staff Officer with the Headquarters of the Multi-National Division (South East) at the time of his death. Major Bacon joined with Army in 1988 and served with the Intelligence Corps.

Officers and Cadets serving with Walton Army Cadet Force turned out on force joining friends and family of Major Bacon plus local dignitaries and officers from the Intelligence Corps and Army Air Corps to witness the unveiling of a commemorative bench located in the town centre.  The ceremony took place at the War Memorial on 1st August – the date of Major Bacon’s birthday.

Walton Army Cadets spent two years tracking down Major Bacon’s family after coming up with the idea to commemorate his life. In addition to the memorial bench, the Cadets have placed a plaque in the Detachment grounds plus a new trophy, called the Matthew Beacon Cadet of the Year, is hope to be created.