Category Archives: 103 Battalion

Set a new World Land Speed Record of 1000 mph


My Role as an Army Reservist

Objectives

Inspire the next generation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Share an iconic research and development programme with a global audience

Set a new World Land Speed Record of 1000 mph

Mission Statement

Create a unique, high-technology project, focused around a 1000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt. Share this Engineering Adventure with a global audience and inspire the next generation by bringing science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life in the most exciting way possible.

In April I became a REME STEM Ambassador, an Engineering adventure that just entices the passionate Engineer to be drawn in and offered the chance to talk endlessly about the design challenges, make rocket cars, offered the challenge to inspire and ignite a similar passion in the next generation and not forgetting being part of a project that breaks the land speed record…who could say no!

Craftsman Sarah Dorey, 678 (Rifles) Sqn (REME)

Craftsman Sarah Dorey, 678 (Rifles) Sqn (REME)

Friday 13 June 2014 saw the reveal of Bloodhounds cockpit and what will be Andy Greens 1050 mph office. The project is supported by a stunning website and following the link you can take a 360 degree tour narrated by Andy Green http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/news/andy-green-guides-you-round-his-1000mph-office. The big press event linked live across the net around the world including South Africa where the car will be making its record breaking runs and the local community are supporting the project by every day collecting stones to ensure a smooth runway, to date 78 tonnes of stones have been collected. Ambassadors attending the event served many purposes; we experienced the event first hand – gaining first hand knowledge that we can pass on at other events (fuelling our own passions and interest helps transfer interest to others), met Andy Green and in speaking to the press promoted our project objectives and mission statement.

Goodwood Festival of Speed Schools day was my next big even on 25 June 2015. We had 300 school children visit during the day from primary and secondary schools, to listen to science demonstrations by build members, make Styrofoam rocket cars investigating how shape affects aerodynamics and the forces applied to an object travelling at high speed and then time trial them down a track, make K’nex cars powered by compressed air, show pupils round our 1:1 scale model of Bloodhound SSC and all of our interactive Bloodhound stand. The day was also open to the general public, many people are already following the project through the website (http://www.bloodhoundssc.com), Twitter (@Bloodhound_SSC, @spinningdorey), Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/95684012@N02/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BLOODHOUNDSSC) but many visitors came to see our stand out of curiosity…bright orange and blue car, soldiers in uniform, crowds of excited children! Everyone that came in to had a positive enthusiasm once they listened what we had to say. Many were amazed that this group of people were going to attempt such a challenge, more amazed that British Army REME soldiers were hand making individual components and building the car. Generally people are shocked that soldiers have the skills to do this but very proud to say its British and handmade by British soldiers.

Bloodhound SSC has many events and tours and is continuously tweeting and keeping project updates in the public mind. Personally I am beginning to get bookings to attend schools and organise activities so I now go forward with planning with teachers over objectives they wish to achieve from my visit then looking at tailoring my content to their aims. Quoting Maj Morgan “if we can leave the memory of a soldier coming into their classroom and build cars and taught them rocket science when a child looks back at their school days then we have done our job”.

Please follow the project and see the effect it is having, see the quality of Engineering from the REME team and see if we reach our objective. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me on sjdorey@yahoo.co.uk

To know more about 678 (Rifles) Squadron visit http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/armyreserve/678squadronaac6regtaac.aspx

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Army Reserves Prepare for the Commonwealth Games


Mobilised for the Commonwealth Games

More than 2,000 military personnel from all 3 services, including hundreds of Reserves, have been tasked to assist with venue security as well as undertaking a number of ceremonial roles. We intend to deliver to you a weekly Blog from a Reservists perspective…..

2014 Commonwealth Games Logo

2014 Commonwealth Games Logo

Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Standing Joint Commander, said:

The armed forces have always provided support to the civilian authorities in the UK whenever it is needed. We are ready to assist in whatever contingencies may arise and have done so during the 2012 Olympics and more recently during the floods crisis. We are extremely proud to be able to provide support to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games as part of a task that reflects the flexibility, capability and adaptability of our armed forces. As part of our shared commitment to ensure a safe and secure Games, the UK government will fully fund this military contribution, with no costs being incurred by Police Scotland.

RTMC Chilwell

RTMC Chilwell

All personnel mobilising for the Commonwealth Games made their way to RTMC Chilwell to start the mobilisation process on 10th July 2014 – At 0800hrs the mobilisation begins with briefings on the task ahead and the mobilisation process:,J1 administration and a medical.  All personnel from 103 Bn REME and 3 PWRR successfully passed. 11th July 2014 – All personnel move to Grantham to commence the training package. 12th July 2014 – After a few short briefings all troops were split into small groups and the SIA (Security Industry Authority) training began .

Security Industry Authority Certificate

Security Industry Authority Certificate

Perseus a civilian security company took the lead role in the training, they trained us in “Working in the private security industry” and “Managing conflict and challenging behaviour” both of which were to City & Guilds level 2 standards and consisted of 4 theory exams, 1 theory assessment and a physical assessment. 15th July 2014 – After a long and tiring few days of training, most of the mobilised personnel head off to Grantham town centre for a well-earned and deserved social evening. 16th July 2014 – Currently waiting to move to Glasgow, moral is high and everyone is looking forward to the challenge ahead. The mobilised personnel from 103 Bn REME and 3 PWRR wish to thank all the staff from RTMC Chilwell, Grantham and Perseus for all their kind help and advice during the mobilisation process and training package.

LCpl Arkwright, 103 Bn REME

 

103 Battalion REME


Ex-Himalayan Tiger

As we sat in the tea house, considering an apple pie masquerading as a Cornish pasty, we began to   wonder exactly what it was that we had got ourselves into.  We were 50m away from Lukla’s airstrip – aka the World’s scariest airport, and several days walk from Everest Base Camp via a lot of “Nepali flat”.  It seemed a long time since the posters had first been put up around the Battalion advertising “the trip of a lifetime” to Nepal.  With just 12 places available for members of 103 Bn REME, the selection involved a classic English trudge across the South Downs one delightfully damp weekend in November 2012, followed by an extreme weekend in Brecon doing the Pen y fan route in Force 8+ winds in Feb 2013.  Suddenly the training weekends we’d completed in the UK didn’t seem preparation enough when considering the mountains we could see out of the window.

View of the mountains

View of the mountains

We’d been in the country for 4 days at this point, and were already 2 days behind schedule.  After sitting in the chaos of Kathmandu domestic airport for 2 days waiting for the weather to clear, we’d given up on the airplane and arranged for a more exciting and possibly less terrifying helicopter flight.  Our first experience of a tea house (trekking phrase for a youth hostel really) was something of an eye opener.  The rooms were basic but nice, and the beds had what looked like mattresses on – they even had sheets and blankets, although you probably wouldn’t want to sleep in them without the protection of your sleeping bag.  But it was just so cold.  This turned out to be one of the themes of the trip, with the temperature decreasing as the altitude increased.  By the time we got to 5545m at Kala Pattar most of us were dreaming of being on a beach in the Bahamas.  But the experience was outstanding.

The glacier we crossed

The glacier we crossed

We made it to Namche Bazaar at the end of Day 2, the main town of the SagamarthaNational Park, the Nepalese name for Everest.  This was our last real sign of civilisation for the next 8 days, and sold almost everything you could wish to buy.  The most amazing part of this is that everything is carried up to Namche either on a Porter’s back, or using Donkeys or Zos.   A Zo is a cross between a Yak and a cow.  We even passed a porter carrying a full sized fridge freezer on his back.  This humbled us somewhat as our measly 15kg rucksacks didn’t really compare.   From Namche our route quickly took us away from the crowds, as we headed North to the beautiful Gokyo lakes.  We had a poignant two minutes silence on Remembrance Sunday next to one of the lakes, surrounded by a thin layer of snow.  The following morning, we had a 0330 hours start in order to climb Gokyo peak in time for sunrise, which was by far the coldest moment of most of our lives, but an incredibly satisfying achievement and a real experience to see the sun rise on Mount Everest.  And we soon forgot about the cold that day, as our route took us over a swelteringly hot glacier.  Crossing a glacier was another first for many of us.  Because of the amount of rock debris that the glacier had collected it took a while for most of us to realise there was any ice at all.  And the huge peaks and troughs on the surface meant that there was little air movement.  The next day was another big marker in our trek, as we headed East to cross the Cho La Pass.  While the group had known this was likely to be the most challenging day of the trek, the sheer scale of it surprised many of us.  It took 4 hours just to get to the top and the last part involved climbing up a wall of snow that was at the limit of what we were able to trek without crampons.  Stepping into the sunshine at the summit of the pass and feeling the heat from the sun was glorious.

The team at the top of Cho La Pass

The team at the top of Cho La Pass

We then wound our way through the valleys as we headed towards Everest base camp.  The altitude was starting to show in everybody.  Energy levels were generally sapped while the body worked hard just to keep the vital functions going; loss of appetite meant that eating anything was becoming a real effort; and trying to drink 4 – 5 litres a day was getting harder and harder.  Reaching the summit of Kala Pattar became an even bigger highlight, because the rest of the trek was then spent walking down to lower altitudes where simple tasks such as breathing were so much easier.   Four days later we found ourselves back at Lukla airstrip, although this time we were allowed to pop into the Irish bar to see what the breweries of Kathmandu had to offer.  As we flew back into the city and said goodbye to the mountains, the rose tinted glasses were already coming over.  With the odd comment of “well, it wasn’t that hard really”, and “Cho La Pass wasn’t that cold”, and with the prospect of a hot shower, a bed with a duvet, and more than Dal Bhat to choose on the menu, that contented feeling was starting to come over all of us.  All round a fantastic trip, and very much the challenge of a lifetime.

If you are interested in joining the REME please visit http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/ta/rhq103bnreme.aspx

 

 

 

103 Battalion REME, the Army’s equivalent to the AA


Ex Southern Bluebell

It’s not every day that you get the chance to get up close and personal with a Coyote!  But that’s what I was doing yesterday.

It was with a mixture of excitement and nervous anticipation that I pulled up outside the Army barracks at Tidworth on Salisbury Plain for a day with the 103 Battalion REME, the Army’s equivalent to the AA.  Not one to know an axle from a drive shaft, I was thrust briefly into the world of petrol heads and greasy mechanics and it was important they thought I knew what they were talking about!!

The Army reservists from the Battalion which has units in Crawley, Hilsea, Ashford and Redhill, were all taking part in Exercise Southern Bluebell, an integrated training weekend designed specifically for REME Army Reservists to undertake training to improve their currency and competency trade skills so they are able to support the Regulars in terms of being fit to mobilise.  With a variety of different trades being showcased, from armourers, to vehicle mechanics and recovery specialists, and with Regulars and Reserves sharing their wealth of experience I knew I was in for an interesting day.

Sorting the problem !!

Sorting the problem !!

From what I could see when I entered the hangar, it was every car mechanics dream!  When and where else would you get the chance to remove and replace a drive shaft from a Coyote, change a bulb on a Mastiff or repair a power steering fluid reservoir on a Jackal?  From my inexperienced eye, I could see that I was standing amongst several millions of pounds worth of heavy duty and specialised military equipment in the hangars – all with bonnets up and innards exposed!

WOII Adie Leah, 37, part of 5 Battalion REME in Sheffield is a Regular Permanent Staff Instructor responsible for training the Army Reserves.  Having served for 19 years, his experience of carrying out battled damage repairs is second to none.  “Having the skills to get a vehicle back on the road quickly is the priority, and the Vehicle Mechanics (VMs) need to think creatively, using whatever they have available.  It could be a coke can or a bandage – you’d be surprised at how ingenious our VMs can be to get the vehicle and the crew out of a situation and back to safety.”

British Army's answer to the AA

British Army’s answer to the AA

It struck me very quickly that these members of the Territorial Army, which is soon to become the Army Reserve, have vocational skills training that takes years to accumulate.   I was in the presence of soldiers, regular and reserve, who have actually saved lives – not by administering first aid, but by having the confidence and skills to think “outside of the box”, repairing vehicles on the side of the road, under extreme pressure and often under fire and using anything at their disposal.  Corporal Reece Hancock, 44, serves with 128 Field Company in Hilsea, Portsmouth.  A DT school teacher on civvy street, he swapped the classroom for six months in Afghanistan supporting the Regular Army’s 6 Battalion Close Support.   Clearly extremely passionate about his role in the Army Reserve, his enthusiasm was hard to contain when telling me about the time he carried out an improvised repair to the fuel pipe on a Husky.  “This training exercise is really important.  The more knowledge you have about different vehicles, the better you become at cross-servicing and that in itself gives you confidence to make good repairs under extreme pressure.”

Sergeant Catherine Moat, 44, works for the Border Force and serves with 133 Field Company in Ashford.  With more than 20 years’ service under her belt, she confessed to the Army Reserves having changed her life.  “It’s tested my mettle that’s for sure.  But I’ve travelled the world and gained skills that will mean that I’ll never be out of a job as getting all my driving qualifications means that I can drive a bus, a coach or an HGV.  Better still, I can service my own vehicle and no garage will manage to hoodwink me as I know what they’re talking about!  You get out of the Army Reserves what you put in and I have made great friends who I know will support me through thick and thin!”

The exercise wasn’t all dirty and hands-on.  Corporal Sian Davies, 34, a Solicitor from 128 Field Company in Hilsea, was on hand specifically to give an honest and objective view from her most recent tour to Afghanistan with the Light Aid Detachment.  “Giving the guys the benefit of our very recent experience from theatre is all part of the training process.  By giving them a short presentation with photos, we can talk knowledgably about what it’s really like out there – anything from the accommodation and food to the handing over processes and how we integrated into the Regular units.  For instance on my tour, it was several months before they actually realised I was a Reservist.”

For the afternoon session we left the vehicle mechanics and their spanners to it and made our way to a training area on Salisbury Plain that looked like a scene from one of the Mad Max movies.  In plain view was a petroleum truck – on its side – and not looking in very good shape.  The task set was to right the 30 tonne vehicle back on its four wheels without damage to either the vehicle or the personnel involved.  Well this team of recovery mechanics or “rechy mechs” as they’re affectionately known, made it look easy!  However it was far from that and the skills required by the experienced Crew Commander were plain to see.  Demonstrating calmness and confidence, he got the team to assess the situation, put their plan together, attach winch lines, strops and then with incredible authority, and because he knew exactly what he was doing and his team had complete faith in his experience, the truck was expertly tipped upright and back on its wheels, almost kissing the ground beneath it.  No thuds, no shouting, just pure skill, precision and experience at work!  Lance Corporal Ian Bewers, 44, from Benfleet, serves with 150 Recovery Company in Reigate and is a very experienced Recovery Mechanic.  On civvy street he trains drivers of petroleum vehicles.  It’s a demanding job in itself, which he combines with a busy family, but he clearly loves his part-time role in the Army Reserves too, up to his arms in mud and grease and lugging bits of heavy metal around.  “I get so focused on the skills I need for my civvy job, so coming on this training weekend has been great for getting me thinking about other strategies and refreshing and using different skills.  I’m hoping to do my Class 1 Course in March, which will enable me to become a Crew Commander, and instruct the other soldiers and supervise these type of tasks.  It’s a tough course and I’ll be able to draw from the experiences of this weekend.”

And so, after a really great day and with my introduction to 103 Battalion REME complete, I am off to my car – I’m out of window washer fluid, does anyone know how I open the bonnet .….?

If you are interested in joining the REME check out http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/ta/rhq103bnreme.aspx