British Legion

(Registered No. 219279 under the Charities Act 1960)



Garats HaY Branch

(BR 3502)

Branch Patron: Gen Sir Sam Cowan KCB CBE



Newsletter Number 16

April 2004






President:                 Colonel MK Hill

Chairman:                 Mr JA Clark          

Vice Chairperson:   Mrs JM Farrell

Secretary:                 Mr RJ White

Treasurer:                Mr JR Farrell



Web site:






It has been some time since I was able to join members of the Branch at a meeting in the UK.  I hope that you can understand some of the pressures that are affecting defence representatives abroad – and particularly here in the United States. 


In so many ways, the World is a smaller place today.  Information travels vast distances in hardly any time at all.  And many people seem to do so too.  This makes it all the more frustrating to be aware of the Branches many good works and gatherings and to be unable to join you for them.


There are very few weeks that go by though, when I do not think of the Branch, of Garats Hay and all my friends and colleagues amongst our membership.  When the chance arises to do something positive to advance the Branches interests, it gives me tremendous pleasure to seize it.


No time is more important in our annual calendar though than the season of Remembrance in November.  You might be interested to know how I have come to spend it in each of the last three years.  In the British tradition, I attend a typical service of remembrance, with many Embassy colleagues, in St David’s Episcopal Church here in Washington.  The church has a small and welcoming congregation and its members are particularly proud of their association with the British military and the Embassy more broadly.  Some of the American parishioners are veterans – but I have yet to meet one who can show affiliation with the Y Services – or their American equivalent.  You can be sure that I always ask.




St David’s has many of the attributes that have made so many of us who belong to our Branch fond of St Mary in the Elms.


On the 11th itself, which rarely falls on the Sunday, the Canadian Embassy commemorates Remembrance – it is a Canadian Public Holiday.  A service is held outdoors on a splendid porticoed area beyond which a wonderful view of Washington’s Capitol Building is quite splendid.  The Embassy sits, you see, on Pennsylvania Avenue – you may have heard about another well-known building on this broad thoroughfare. 


It is especially pleasing to share remembrance with Commonwealth colleagues.  Both the Canadians and the Australians wear a poppy, similar to ours, but of slightly different construction.  They share of course, as well, the tremendous sacrifices of the wartime generations. 


Arriving at and returning home from the Canadian service, I drive along some of Washington’s sweeping avenues, beside the National Mall (which links the most famous monuments and holds a place in American hearts a little like our favourite London parks).  Americans celebrate the 11th as Memorial Day and it is traditionally now a day on which Vietnam veterans meet to visit their memorial and to reminisce. 


Of course, none of this is the same as sharing in our own special commemoration, something which I look forward to doing again in due course.


In the meantime, I enjoy hearing all the Branch news – and wonder at the constant energy and dedication of our Committee.  If I can leave you all with one thought it would be this.  Please take the time to make your appreciation of our Committee members and the work they do plain to them at some stage.  They receive no benefit from their service to our essential, common cause than the satisfaction of knowing that their work is important and vital to the continuation of our Branch – and broader Legion aims.  To have your appreciation of their service formally expressed is very encouraging for them – and the very least that they deserve. 


Michael Hill









Welcome to the Spring Edition of the Newsletter.  It seems to go from strength to strength, but it is only as successful as you make it.  Please continue to send in your articles to our editor, Skip.


Spring is surely on its way.  I say this although I can see the snow on the mountains across the Moray Firth.  At the end of May on the Bank Holiday weekend, Cathie and I, as your appointed delegates, are off to Scarborough to attend the Annual Legion Conference.  This will be the last one presided over by the National Chairman, Ian Cannell.  At the end of the Monday’s proceedings he will hand over to the new National Chairman, who is one of our Branch members – John Hawthornthwaite.  Our congratulations go out to him.  A report of the Conference proceedings will be in the next copy of the Newsletter, and also on the website.


At the AGM in last November we gained a couple of committee members.  I would just like to remind you all that posts as officers and committee members are open to all members of the Branch.  The work is not onerous and can result in a great deal of satisfaction.  If you would like to volunteer, please send your name to the Secretary in time for the AGM in November.


Have a pleasant Spring and an enjoyable summer.  Hope to see you at one of our meetings.


John Clark







 This will be the first year that the Branch will not be meeting during the summer, but as numbers dwindled it proved not to be a worthwhile venture. I am ever hopeful that the attendance at our AGM during Remembrance Weekend in November will therefore be greater! 

Whilst perusing old minutes (a little sad I know!!) I came across our formation Branch meeting on 13th January 1996. May I suggest that it might be a good idea that in 2006 (our 10th anniversary) we get together for a Branch Social gathering. Your thoughts regarding this would be appreciated, either by letter or email ( My suggestion would be a summer BBQ, perhaps at Chicksands. 

Plans are in hand for this year’s Remembrance Weekend, 13/14th November 2004. Saturday will be at the Loughborough Ramada Jarvis for the AGM and dinner. Sunday will see fill the church at Woodhouse again, followed by Sunday lunch at the Quality Hotel (unless there are other suggestions?) Firm details and a return proforma will appear in the September newsletter.

 On behalf of the Branch I warmly welcome the following new members:-

 Edwin Carruthers    Portrush                Caroline & David Lessels        Leeds

Michael Coleman     Leicester                 Ken Kenway                           Beckenham

Ron Edwards          Pinner                      Peter Keen                              Peterborough

Simon Willson          Tewkesbury            Steve Jacklin                           Exmouth

Steve Vaughan       Billinghay                 Tony Heightman                      Colchester

Phil Rowley             Tewkesbury             Ian Usher                                 Stourport

Helen Neal               Ashington                 Bob Smithers                           Salisbury


Bob White





Due to their very high cost, it has been decided not to order further supplies. Instead, the idea has been put forward that we produce a distinctive tiepin to wear with the standard RBL tie. (This could also be worn as a lapel badge, or as a brooch by the ladies). If you have any suggestions for a design please let us have them as soon as possible.






Following a committee meeting during the morning of Saturday,8 November,  the Annual General Meeting of the Branch was held. 26 members were present. 

Chairman John Clark highlighted our excellent membership statistics, and thanked everyone for their support during the year. 

Secretary Bob White made his annual appeal for volunteers for Committee Posts, and for additional photos and memorabilia for the Branch album (now into its 4th volume!) 

Membership Sec John Neal was congratulated by the meeting for his recent promotion within the Legion. His new position will mean him looking in detail at membership issues. Our branch continues to grow – currently 412. 96% of you now pay by direct debit, and 68% have signed gift aid forms. 

Treasurer John Farrell reported a healthy net asset of £3157, even after our £1000 donation to the Poppy Appeal. We intend making similar donations every other year.   


Terry Whittles relinquished his position as Vice-President, but was elected as a committee member. Cath Clark, Ted Roberts and Dave Street were also elected to the Committee.

Jackie Farrell resigned as Chair of the Services Committee and was  replaced by Pete Derrick. Apart from the above, Committee posts remained unchanged. 

Due to work commitments our Branch Standard Bearer Graeme Campbell has had to resign. A new volunteer has come forward, and D J (Dave) Foley was duly elected. 

Mike Frankish, one of our RAF Digby members, completed the Pedal To Paris and raised over £700 for the Poppy Appeal. The meeting raised further contributions, and recorded a vote of thanks to Mike. Well done!


In future there will be only one formal Branch meeting per year (Remembrance weekend/AGM), but trips will be arranged when possible. Members can also, of course, attend Committee meetings if they wish. 

During the evening of 8 November a dinner was held in the Ramada Jarvis  Hotel in Loughborough when 36 members sat down to an excellent meal.   

Coincidentally, this day was the birthday of Joy, the long-suffering wife of our Secretary. 



The morning of Sunday, 9 November saw the church service at St Mary-in-the-Elms, Woodhouse, conducted by our own Chaplain, Canon Derek  Buxton. Our standard, carried by the new Branch Standard Bearer, Dave Foley, was on parade.    

Following the service a wreath was laid by our Chairman, John Clark, on behalf of the Branch. He was accompanied by Lady Martin, who laid a wreath on behalf of the Parish Council.  A Tri-Service Escort to the Parade was provided by personnel from DSSS, Chicksands, and the Parade was well supported by other members of the Y Services, present and past. The weekend's activities ended with a lunch at The Quality Hotel, Loughborough.           








R E Evans

Any former colleague

Served in 3 Wireless Squadron at Graz from 1945 to 1948  Son-in-law David Hargreaves. He can be contacted at 12 Malvern Gardens, Roker, Sunderland SR6 9LB

Mike Thomson


Mike is looking for any details on the use of this site as part of the hf Y Services pre-war

Ken Kenway

Len James

After training at Garats Hay, Ken was posted to D Troop, 2 Wireless Regiment in August 1954 for three years.  Len joined the civvie ops at Beaumanor

Ken had a phone call from John Webber to say that Len was in Somerset and gave a phone number.  Contact was made and many happy memories were exchanged.  Hopefully the start of a renewed friendship.

Ron Edwards

Any old comrade

Ron was a LCpl Instrument Mechanic in the Royal Signals and joined B India Special Wireless Group at Abbotobad in July 1942.  He stayed with them until the unit moved south to Jalahali, outside of Bangalore, in Spring 1943.  He was one of the advance party and was joined by an RAF Grouping and became part of the Western Wireless Sub Centre.  He was posted back to England via Deolali in July/August 1945.  He lost contact with fellow members with the exception of William H Buckle who died in 1970.

Claire O’Donnell

Is seeking any colleague of her mother, Betty Leslie (nee Bryan)

Betty was RAF Y Services at Bletchley and Chicksands in 1943 and then in Sylt and Germany in late 40s/early 50s. She is 76 years young.


David Fowler

Seeks any war-time colleagues of his father, Jack Fowler

Jack was a Flight Sergeant at Chicksands at the end of the war.  Also his good friend Freddie Mills






Don’t forget to visit to register (free) and see if you can find your old pals. This organisation supports the Legion, and provides a very good service.


We have put Geof Jones in touch with the 367 SU Association. They have more than 200 members, and have their own web site at

SQUAD 56 (see Newsletter 15)

Information has been received from Chris Voisey that his father, Barrie, is 3rd from the left on the back row in last issue’s photograph of squad 56, even though he thought it was Squad 49.  His history is as follows:  Number 41181864.  Basic training at Catterick in December 1947 before transferring to garat's Hay in March 1948.  Due to accommodation problems he spent the first few weeks at the Royal Pioneer camp at Quorn.  Left Garats Hay in September 1948 for Cyprus via transit camp outside Ripon and Liverpool, and sailing on the Empire Halliday.  After spending 3 weeks in a transit camp in Port Said, arrived in Famagusta where he served with 2 Wireless Regiment until 1952.  He then returned to Garats Hay before spending 6 months at Tellerhof, Graz in Austria.  Barrie was demobbed in 1954 and, after further training at Bletchley, returned to Beaumanor as a Wireless Operator.  During this time he married one of the NAAFI girls.  He served two further tours in Cyprus 1961-64 and 1968 to 71.  During his last tour there, Beaumanor closed down so he was posted to Cheadle.  Barrie left the service in 1976.  One of the other names that comes to his mind is John Cassels  If anyone would like to contact him, let the editor know.



A new campaign medal for service in the Suez Canal Zone during the period 1951 to 1954 has been instituted. The following categories of personnel will be eligible for the award of the appropriate GSM with clasp:

a.    Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army or Royal Air Force personnel and equivalent Reserve Forces based in the Suez Canal Zone.

b.    Civilians who served full time with the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force during the qualifying period provided that they wore the approved uniform of their organisation.                                                                                                                                                                                      

c.    Military personnel of Commonwealth or Colonial forces, subject to the approval of their respective governments

d.    Persons of foreign nationality properly enlisted or enrolled in any of the qualifying categories described above.




Qualifying service will be 30 days or more continuous service between 16 October 1951 and 19 October 1954.  Service at sea does not count; nor will time spent in the Canal Zone on official visits.

The addresses of the medal offices are as follow:

Royal Naval Medal Office, Room 1068, Centurion Building, Grange Road, Gosport, Hants PO13 9XA

Royal Marines Medal Office, Room 038, address as above.

Army Medal Office, Government Buildings, Worcester Road, Droitwich Spa, Worcs WR9 8AU

Royal Air Force Medal Office, Room 6, Building 248A, RAF PMA, RAF Innsworth, Glos GL3 1EZ




POSTAGE STAMPS Donations of used stamps are welcome, and can be sent to

                                  The Poppy Appeal. PO Box 6198 Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9XT






SPEC OP Reunion 8th May, Riverside PH, Barrow on Soar. Contact Ron Clay




D-DAY Anniversary Commemoration Blackpool, 5/6th June.

                                                                Details from John Hardiman 01257 793600



RBL GOLF DAY  Melton Mowbray 18th June. Contact Chris Carr 0116 2374944



Legion Race Days – KemptonPark 14th July, Doncaster 31st July Contact Teresa        

                                                                                           Greener 020 7973 7276



Langeleben Reunion Branch RSA will take place 28/29th May at Burleigh Court,                                 

                                                       Loughborough. Contact Ernie Callaghan on 020 8300 7577



Pedal to Paris 2-6th September 2004. Call Matt Taylor 020 7973 7350



Other bike rides:-     Normandy 14-18th July Contact Matt Taylor as above.    

                                   Lausanne  12-21st May Call Rebecca Pride on 020 7973 7255

                                   Ardennes   9-14th June Call Nick Hanmer 020 7973 7285



Birgelen Veterans Reunion & AGM, Trecarne Hotel, Babbacombe, 1st-3rd October

                                                     Fred Searle on




"Beverley Boy" Reminisces  

  Capt. (Rtd) B J Podmore. R. Sigs.


This is the story about Regimental Boy soldiers of the Royal Corps of Signals who served in the British Army. This particular Boy soldier became a Regimental Boy in the Corps and my Unit was, No.6  (Boys) Training Regiment, Normandy Camp, Beverley, East Yorkshire. It covers just over two years service being the average service of a Boy soldier. The previous unit title of the Regiment was No, 1 Independent Selection Squadron, who were at Gallowgate Camp, Richmond, North Yorkshire, until 1950. History also depicts the existence, prior to No.1 Independent Selection, of F (Boys) Company at Catterick. For a short while the Regiment was housed in Victoria Barracks (adjacent to Normandy Camp) the Depot of the East Yorkshire Regiment. That Regiment at the time was serving in Malaya.

 From that I formed the Beverley Boys Archive in March 1994. With the advent of the Internet I was then able, in 1998, to place on the Web our very own very successful Web Site. The number of enquiries that I have had both from former Beverley Boys and other sources, including The Denbury Boys Association, has been really phenomenal. In fact so good is the rapport with the Denbury Boys we both now have set up Links to each other on our web sites.


So here is my story: -

 The year was 1955 and the month was July.  No.6 (Boys) Training Regiment had just vacated Normandy Camp for the pastures of Denbury Barracks, Newton Abbott, Devon. The whole unit had dispersed on "end of Summer Term" leave and would then be reporting back to their new home. I as part of "man-service" entry 255 had been left behind for final documentation, before embarking on our Trade Training courses at the Signals Training Centre Catterick (Drivers, DR's to Ripon)

 I can still recall on that day, sitting and waiting in the billiard room, next to the NAAFI, for the Bedford (TCV) QL to convey us to the railway station at Beverley and then on to Catterick via York and Richmond railway stations. Wondering what lay ahead for me as a future Telegraph Mechanic (X trade) in The Royal Corps of Signals. 

There was one consolation I suppose. I had, by virtue of attaining the rank of Boy Regimental Sergeant Major, been appointed to the rank of Local Lance Corporal. A policy I am given to understand still exists today for Junior Soldiers of senior rank. (Can I hear mutterings of never held the rank of "Sigmn.")? My Trade Training course was too be at 3 Sqn., 1 Training Regiment, Kemmel Lines. But that is another story. I was to return back to 3 Sqn. (then designated 8 Signal Regiment) later in my service and from where I was "demobbed.

 I had joined "The Regiment" on the 5th.May 1953 at the sprightly age of 15 years and 3 months having left school that April.  Pay was 2/6d a day, a total of 17/6d per week of which 7/6d was taken back for "credits" and if not used up on kit deficiencies, barrack damages etc, all was given back to you at end of term.

The 4th of May had been my enlistment day in which I had made the last of several visits, with my Father, (ex 2nd.Batt.Grenadier Guards) to the recruiting office at Bethesda Schools, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.  A C/Sgt of the South Staffordshire Regiment was too overseer my "signing on" for six years with the colours and three years on the reserve" (six & three) and of taking the Oath of Allegiance. Then on the 5th May I made my way to Beverley by courtesy of British Rail. We were all met at Beverley railway station by a Cadre Senior NCO who turned out to be the (R) Recruit Troop Sgt. (S/Sgt Oakley) Some recruits were already on the 3 tonner having travelled via York, I having arrived via Hull. We spent 6 weeks in "R" Troop on basic training (the last intake to do that at Beverley) R Troop moved to Selby as a separate unit at the beginning of Autumn Term 1953. You were not allotted your Regtl.No. until completion of your Basic Training and therefore I was referred to by rank as “NYA (not yet allotted) Podmore”. My Regtl.No. was to be 22776277.

 The Regiment had 3 squadrons. HQ’s Sqn, comprising permanent staff (Cadre), then the Boy Squadrons of “A” Sqn. (Arras lines) with A & B Troops (later changed to A, B, D & E Troops.)… “B” Sqn. (Aisne Lines)   with D & E Troops (later changed to J, K L & M Troops.)

 All barrack lines at Beverley and Catterick were named after infamous battles of World War I.

 I was posted to “B” Sqn, D Troop, (later to become J Troop), later on we had epaulette flashes issued.  I remember that J Tp.was dark blue and M Tp.was orange. In the latter part of my time spent there I remember my Troop Commander was a National Serviceman, 2/Lt. Maudsley. The Tp. Sgt. was Sgt. (Freddie) Freeman and the Tp.Cpl. was a chap called Whittingham, a re-enlistment into the Corps, who after demob from the Corps at the end of WWII, had become a London Transport bus driver.  K Troop commander, also a National Serviceman, was a 2/Lt. Dixon.  Both these Officers left the Regiment on demob at about the same as I did. Officer I/c M Troop was Lt.FC Lockwood who I believe went on to serve and retire in the rank of Lt.Col.  His Troop Sgt was a Sgt. Pickles.

After being promoted to Boy Warrant Officer (B/WO) rank you seized to belong to a Troop. There were only ever two Boy WO's at one time so therefore whoever was B/RSM it would mean that there would not be a B/SSM in the same Sqn. The OC 2 Sqn was a Major Williams. The SSM was a man called "Pop" Rider. He was a big chap but "Pop" by name and nature. He, like a number of other married Cadre Staff lived in the "hutted" married quarters that were situated to the left of the camp entrance (opposite the Guard Room.) The quarters followed a contour of a semi-circle leading on to a group of brick buildings (there were not to many of them on the camp) that formed the classrooms. The Admin Officer if my memory serves me right was Captain Fyffe and he was also in charge of the Band/Corps of Drums. A Capt. Waterworth was also on the Cadre. The camp had two gymnasiums and they were quite large. There was a WO1 PTI (WOI QMSI Jameison) of the Army Physical Training Corps in charge with Regtl. PTI`s. as assistants. I do recall that the SSM of "A" Squadron was Tim Holt, a man I was to meet up with again in 1957 when he came as RSM to 3 GHQ Signal Regt. at Episkopi (Cyprus) this Regt. later re-designated 15 Signal Regt.  I was to remain in “B” Sqn. for the duration of my Boys Service. I remember the new regimental numbers of the Regular and National Servicemen (the 230`s) being published on Part I Orders and that caused some excitement at the time. We were all either 22537`s 22569 or 22776`s.  All Boy soldiers were of course subject to Military Law and Queens Regulations (QRs.) The punishments were the same as for a "Man Soldier" i.e., Detention, CB (jankers/defaulters) with one additional type of punishment too which was administered only to Boy Soldiers. This was the dreaded "strokes." - a bamboo cane used to strike you across the buttocks.  You always paraded for OC's Orders in Denims. If strokes were to be administered it was the duty of the SSM to carry out the punishment in front of the OC. You were bent over a table/chair, fully dressed. It was always the common practice on those occasions to wear underneath your dress the issued u/s BD`s (un-serviceable Battle Dress) just in case you got the strokes (extra padding) They were the garments that were 1157 issue and had to be worn underneath our Denims to assist in keeping us warm in winter. If the strokes were to be given on CO`s Orders then they were carried out by the RSM but you wore PT Kit. You were marched out after the CO had stated your punishment, wearing Best SD, straight into the RSM's office. If strokes were to be administered you changed into PT kit, Best Boots and grey socks (turned over at the top of the boot) and then marched back in again for the punishment. (some sore places for a while)

 Training was split into two categories, Education and Military. The training day was also split to account for both. The RAEC (Royal Army Education Corps) were responsible for the former and at that time the establishment was one Officer and a number of Sgt's (long before it became an all "commissioned" Corps.) Most of the Senior NCO's were teachers completing their National Service. The Officer I recall was a Captain Edwards. He had risen to fame as an international rugby player and played full back at that time for Wales. I was later to meet up with him again in Birmingham in 1976. At that time I was still a serving soldier (WOI) in the Territorial Army. He was by then a retired Colonel and was the organiser of a seminar by UK Land Forces in support of the Reserve Forces.

 There was no trade training as such. The only thing I can recall in connection with communications was the Amateur Radio station in our lines. I never saw it in use but it was housed in one of the "Spiders" in "B" Sqn.Lines. I have tried over the years to establish its identity. (I am a licensed Radio Amateur, call sign G3INQ).

 Our uniform consisted of two issues of SD (Service Dress, pre-WWII old style button up collar) one Best, one 2nd.Best, and SD cap (khaki) The cap badge was the 2nd.pattern issue (1947-1953) with Kings Crown. We wore Collar Dogs and initially were issued with the 1st.pattern type (1920-1947) I make these references to "patterns" for over the last 45 years I have collected and catalogued an extensive collection of Corps memorabilia by way of cap badges, collar dogs and Div. Signs etc. photographs, books, scrap-books and so there are numerous differences in design etc. That collection in its entirety has now been donated to the Corps Museum at Blandford, Dorset and will be placed on display and known as the “Podmore Collection” (Ed. Sept 2000 and featured in The Wire the following year) I had enlisted after the death of King George VI but before the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  The Collar Dogs were later changed to the 2nd.pattern. I do have a photograph of myself in uniform wearing that mixed insignia. The Boy WO's/NCO's all wore miniature rank insignia. The small "Tapes" (which later were adopted on the new issue No.2 Dress) were worn by ranks below B/WO.  B/SSM's wore the "S/Sgt's" crown. The B/RSM (Tara) had for his  "Tate & Lyles" the Collar Dogs of the General Service Corps. I retained mine and they have the "Kings Crown” and they form part of the collection donated to the Corps Museum together with my original issue Cap Badge (highly “buffed”) Shoulder Titles (brass) and the Signals Training Centre (STC) Divisional Sign a Tudor Rose (commonly known as the “Catterick Rose”) Those items are now on permanent display at our Corps museum.

 One particular part of our dress that I particularly remember was the way the "Chinstrap" was positioned on the SD cap. It was brown, had two brass buckles and one "stud." This was a brass rivet. It had to be positioned so that, as one looked at it from the front,  "Jimmy" had to be "Kicking the ball" (on a 252 if it was not). The "Catterick Rose" was worn on each sleeve of the SD. There were no Training Regiment colour "flashes" worn on the sleeve as similar to those that were worn by the remaining six Training Regiments, Triangle cloth for Cadre and Rectangle cloth for trainees (except 7TR whose trainees did not wear a rectangle) 

 Our shoulder titles, R.SIGNALS, were of brass and worn on each epaulette. The standard issue web belt was worn with SD. Boys below the rank of B/Sgt were allowed to wear the good conduct stripe. (Only the one stripe) The “pecking” order for those were 2 years one stripe and then 5 years service two stripes) They were commonly known as the "dodgers”

 In 1954 our then Colonel-in-Chief, HRH The Princess Mary, Princess Royal visited the Regiment. One part of the schedule was to "Review" her Boys (that was how she referred to us) this was done by first "Trooping the Colour." A drill manoeuvre, which we were quite familiar with, forming part of our general training and carried out for ceremonial purposes throughout Northern Command. It was done in precisely the same way as the Queens Guards do it. The parade consisted of Two Guards, one from each Squadron, (No's 1 & 2 Guards) each Squadron, on a rota basis, took its turn to be "Escort to the Colour” All Boy WO's/SNCO's held "Officer" ranks. The B/RSM was the Lt.Col. and Parade Commander. His everyday dress included the Sam Browne (no pace-stick, just standard walking cane) and on formal parades he carried the regulation Officers sword. The Officers insignia was superimposed on white material and worn on the epaulettes. The Boy rank remaining in situ. All other "Officers" carried as their "swords “the 18 bayonet” and did the appropriate sword drill with them. I have a Unit Christmas card of 1954, which carries a picture of HRH carrying out that inspection with "A" Sqn., (in the picture Mick Hall B/RSM) and it shows the ranks and "Swords" quite clearly. We Trooped the Colour and competed between each Sqn., on an annual basis for the "Hedon Sword" This sword had been presented to the Regiment by the nearby village of Hedon. I wonder where that is now?

 All our kit was of standard issue and on the same scale of issue as man service. Although we were not issued with BD`s or berets. We did have issued u/s BDs (as previously mentioned) FSMO (Full Service Marching Order) was laid out on top of lockers all squared off with plywood or very stiff cardboard. We had to scrub the wood on our issue boot brushes. The clothes brush was exempt for it had on it a red varnish finish. Our "KIWI" polish tin lid had to be polished and void of any paint. Socks woollen (grey), shirts KF (khaki flannel) Vests white PT (not the red one) etc were also "squared off" The white holdall for holding washing gear etc was scrubbed "lily" white. The Ammo boots had 13 studs on the sole, highly "spit and polished" all over. Your Best pair of boots had their studs burnished smooth for "bed & room inspections".

 Cardboard and "boners" plus brasso or Duraglit and Kiwi polish were the tools of our trade. The electric irons worked overtime. We were not allowed, "box pleats" on our SD but our overcoats were "pleated square" at the pockets and also at the rear (Guards fashion) Mess tins received the same treatment as the kiwi polish tin.  The "Fire Points" in the billets were scraped with razor blades or sharp knives to get them to a true wood colour. In the Billets the stirrup pumps were “black-leaded” (so were the two cast iron coal stoves) the two red fire buckets had to have their water free of dust. Blotting paper was used to get the water clear. Obviously with the strict regimentation that was part of our life, some decided that enough was enough and took all kinds of steps "to work their ticket” One favourite trick was to start "bed wetting"   It got so bad at one stage, with the odour etc, that they were all put in a separate billet. You can imagine how that appeared to us if we had to venture near to them. The odour even dis-coloured the green blancoed webbing. In fact the webbing looked as if it had been blancoed with the "buff 63" blanco and not the standard green that was issued. Food was still on ration. The margarine was cut into"1" squares and floated in water to stop it melting. We only had “evaporated” milk at meal times and this was watered down. As Boy Soldiers we were entitled to an issue of food at the morning (NAAFI) tea break. This always consisted of those hard white milky type biscuits (two) with one mug of fresh milk. The mugs were the standard issue white one-pint pots. We referred to it as the free “NAAFI break” The GD (General Duties) Cadre staff were the overseers and I do recall a Cpl. Gill was the GD Corporal in charge of the Dining Room.

 Annual camp took place each training year. Rotated on a Squadron basis two weeks at a time and following on. The two years that I took part, 1953 and 1954 (there was not a Camp in 1955 due to the move) it was held at Zetland Camp, Marske-by-the-Sea, North Riding of Yorks. I do not know about the history of that camp but I do know it contained a Mortuary and that it had been converted for use as the guardroom (the "slab" was still there). I still have good memories of evening passes to Redcar and Skelton. It was an all canvas camp in respect of the Boy Soldiers living accommodation. The first job on arrival was to fill the paliases with straw.

 There are some "personalities" I can recall which cannot go amiss. The CO was Lt.Col. RA Connor (sadly I believe he passed away in 1994) The Adjutant was a Capt.Galbraith (big moustache) and I think he had a brother also serving in the Corps. The RSM, whose name was Thompson, was a small stocky chap with a very well waxed moustache. (Ed. I have since made contact with him in May 2000 aged 86 years and living in Newton Abbott) He was one of two Cadre members of staff who always wore the old style OR's SD as Working Dress (the same as issued to Boy Soldiers.) The other person was S/Sgt. Jenkins the disciplinarian of the Regt. He was the Drill Sgt. and any Boy Soldier earmarked for promotion would certainly attend one of his D/D (Drill & Duties) courses, which was of four weeks duration. The QM was a Maj. Brandon, (ex F Company)  The Provost Sgt. Was a S/Sgt. "Slip" Maloney BEM. I last saw him in 1956 whilst I was passing through the Depot Regt. at Saighton Camp, Chester; I was en-route for the Middle East. I can recall RQMS Ewer. I was to meet him later in my service. In 1959 I was posted from 15 Signal Regt. at Episcopi to 8 Signal Regt. (Cadre). I was entitled to married quarters and he was to overseer that for me. He having retired from the Corps and was a Civilian on the married "pads" staff at Catterick. His "striker" at Beverley was SQMS Redmond ex F Company).. One of the Troop Sgt`s in "A" Sqn. was S/Sgt George. I was later to meet up again with him in 8 Signal Regt.; at Catterick (1961) where he was SSM of 1 Sqn. (trade upgrading) He was one of three persons to give me a character reference for the Police Service.  One of the other referees was a Cyril Northgate, a Civilian Instructor at 3 Sqn., Kemmel Lines. An Ex Beverley Boy, (22776…) Cyril had not long completed his 6 years in the Colours and had joined the civilian training staff.

 The Regt. had a good Corps of Drums under the control of Capt. Fyffe. In 1954 with other Boy Units of Northern Command the Regiment formed a PT display team to take part in that years Command Tattoo. It was held in Roundhay Park, Leeds. The uniform for the Tattoo was, red PT vest, white shorts, pumps and socks. I can remember that we doubled into the arena each time to the tune of the "Swedish Rhapsody." We appeared on TV and I remember Princess Margaret taking "The Salute" at one of the evenings performances. The PT Display Team were all moved to The Army Apprentice School, Harrogate where we were accommodated and administered for the duration. I cannot remember whether it was Hildebrand or Uniacke Barracks where we were billeted. I know that it was the barracks that were sited opposite the Apprentice School (not College) main entrance. The Infantry Boys Battalion was resident in the same barracks at that time. They formed the other part of the Display team, as were the Army Apprentices. The Infantry Boys Battalion  had recently moved from Tuxford. The School RSM, WO1 Longsborough, Coldstream Guards, gave us instruction on the drill and display formation sequences. I have reason to believe that he was the father of the British Olympic swimming champion, Anita Longsborough.

 Our training year was split into three Terms, Winter, Summer and Autumn. The leave quota usually worked out at about 3 to 4 weeks at the end of each term. You entered "Man Service" as near to seventeen and a half years of age as possible. Each Boy on joining the Unit was allocated a "Man Service Entry " course Number, i.e.: - in my case 255. I was of that age group for the summer term of 1955 (birthday was January.) For example, Winter of 1955 was 155 and Autumn was 355. You remained and trained together in that group for the duration of your Boys` Service.  

 I have made two nostalgic return visits to Beverley, one in the summer of 1989 and the second took place in 1997. The Normandy Camp had been demolished and replaced by a large housing estate. The only remains of any identity of that Camp’s existence was that the leader road, onto the estate, was named Normandy Avenue,it more or less follows the identical contours of the main road that went through it. The quarry was still in place and the Mental Hospital could still be seen at the point of what had been the rear of the camp, adjacent to the Drill Square. On the first (1989) visit the only remains of the adjacent Victoria Barracks of The Depot, East York's Regiment were the partly demolished Victorian Married Quarters. They had been situated next to the main entrance to the Depot and formed part of the wall, which engulfed the Barracks. A very impressive set of buildings. Very similar in design to the barracks at Normanton Derby, the Depot of the Notts. & Derby Regt. (Sherwood Foresters) also now demolished.

 On the 1997 visit I spoke to a lady who was manning the Service Station at the site near to both Barracks. Her family had been the owners for many years, still in its original location and very near to the entrance that was to Normandy Camp. She recalls the "Boys" and particularly mentioned a name or two. One thing that she also mentioned was that the old Victorian entrance to the Depot East Yorks.Regt. had been earmarked and approved for preservation. Apparently one night the structure was demolished without authority. Although the law took its course it did not bring back what would have been a reminder of the military history of Beverley. So hence as already mentioned there is no trace of either Barracks or Camp. All that does remain is the very old brick wall that served as the "dividing line" between barracks and camp. This wall started in front of the Regimental Barbers Shop & the RP’s (Regimental Police) accommodation in Normandy Camp. Along side of it were the 30-yard range rifle range (on the E.York's side) and the MRS (Medical reception Station) There is now a large Morrison’s super-store built on the site of the Depot. At the entrance they have on display, in two glass cabinets, various dress, regalia and badges of the East Yorkshire Regiment and its successors (Regular and TA)

 I went on to serve in the Corps until the end of my regular engagement in January 1965 (including Reserve service) finding myself in the preceding years on The "Quicksilver" Tour of 1956, Suez campaign (Operation Musketeer).  That was the time when we had to change the speed of the creed 7B teleprinters from 50 Bawds to 45 bawds so as to work back to back with the Royal Navy teleprinters (moving type-heads) that were on the Submarine Depot Ship, HMS Tyne. This ship had been converted to a communications complex. At that time attached with us on the ship were the French Navy Signals. After that came a tour with 3 GHQ Sig. Regt. later redesignated as 15 Sig. Regt.

 I was fortunate enough to maintain my continuous service in our Corps by joining the Territorial Army immediately I left the Regular Army in December 1961. I had by that time reached the rank of Sgt. This was all made possible by the authority of the Chief Constable of Staffordshire County Police. For in the December of 1961 I joined that Constabulary (still on demob leave). I should really have joined the Royal Military Police in accordance with Queens Regulations (QR's.) A long story but I managed to remain in the Corps. My trade had a lot to do with it just as it had been with my secondment to the Royal Australians Corps Signals. 

 My last T/A Unit was 30 Engineer Brigade & Signal Troop (V) (1967-1984) a Territorial Army unit based in my hometown of Stafford but now sadly disbanded under the Options for Change. I obtained my Queens Commission from the rank of WOI and went on to complete 31 years continuous service in the Corps. At the time of my retirement from the army I held the rank of Acting Major. I am a life member of Royal Signals Association, (past Secretary of the Shropshire Branch) a Life Member of the Royal Australian Signals Association (Victorian Branch) and member of the Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society (3252). A Royal British Legion member and now a very proud member of the Garats HaY Branch



(Brian retired from the Police in 1988 due to a spinal injury which occurred whilst on duty. He and his wife, Chris, live in Leek, Staffs. He has created a Web Site and has donated his considerable collection of Corps memorabilia, including a 00 gauge Patriot Class steam locomotive “Royal Signals” to the Corps museum at Blandford. – Ed)




BOOK REVIEW (kindly submitted by Mike Hill)


The crisis was real. Great Britain faced one of the more powerful military forces ever arrayed on the European continent, one that had laid waste to and occupied lesser powers, and even deigned to invade Russia. Political leaders in London were so distressed over the costs, in blood and money, of continued fighting that there was talk of "peace at any price" to stave off the collapse of the entire British Empire.


Then, salvation. Through tedious trial and error, an obscure staff officer succeeded in breaking codes used by the enemy in battlefield communications. In short order, the enemies' armies were put to rout, and Britain prevailed. Yet for years the role of code-breakers in the victory remained a closely guarded secret.


Do Enigma, Bletchley Park, and the breaking of German codes in World War II immediately come to mind? Think again. The references are to the Peninsular Wars in the early 1800s, and the Duke of Wellington's clash with the invading armies of Napoleon!


Only now, almost two centuries later, is the story of how Wellington defeated the French revealed, in an astounding work of historical research, Mark Urban's The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes (Harper Collins, $25.95, 348 pages, illus.). Surprisingly, the evidence used by Mr. Urban, a former military officer and now a military correspondent for the BBC, reposed for scores of years in the British Public Records Office, in Kew Gardens, just outside of London. It was contained in notebooks of the code-breaker George Scovell, a Wellington staff officer of modest means and background.


A veritable library of books has been written about Wellington, one of Britain's greater military heroes. Yet not a single historian or biographer has addressed the significance of Scovell's exploits. Indeed, Lady Longford, in her magisterial two-volume biography of the Iron Duke, devotes a scant two paragraphs to code-breaking, chiefly to report that French communications remained secret.


Well, she was wrong, and Wellington, of course, was quite content to keep the code-breaking secret. As Mr. Urban notes, "The legend of his great generalship might have been undermined, however subtly, by revelations that he had been reading his enemy's most sensitive mail. Matters of espionage were regarded as somewhat underhanded." Besides, Scovell was of relatively low social station, a handicap in the caste-conscious British military of the era. (He did eventually retire as a general, but no thanks to the ungrateful Wellington.)


It is not an understatement to suggest that Scovell saved the Iron Duke's military neck. The British and French armies, each with European adherents of varying military quality, had been locked in indecisive combat in Portugal and Spain seemingly interminably. The French commanders kept in touch, with one another and with superiors in Paris, via letters carried by horse-riding couriers.


Wellington's staff recruited local brigands to intercept the couriers. "They are complete banditti, two-thirds clad in things taken from the enemy," a British officer wrote. "The only pay they receive is from plunder." Scovell paid the irregulars handsomely for intercepted messages, and he struggled for months to make sense of the booty. The French helped by writing parts of messages in clear text.


Just how Scovell broke the code is too complex for summarization. Suffice to say that he enabled Wellington to know the strength and intended disposition of French forces. For instance, one intercept noted that major French units "had almost run out of ammunition, most units had lost all their transport wagons, there was widespread guerrilla activity, and the army's pay was months in arrears." The initiative "therefore rested in the hands of Wellington," and he took full advantage of it. His victory at Vittoria resulted in the utter rout of Napoleon's army - one of France's worst-ever defeats - and its withdrawal from Spain. Waterloo soon followed, and Napoleon was history.

Histories written immediately after the war referred to the breaking of simple Army of Portugal codes, but naught was said of Scovell's far more important work. A paragraph or two appeared in later works, but no attempt was made to evaluate the value of Scovell's work.


Mr. Urban finally gives a remarkable code-breaker his due, almost two centuries after the fact. "The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes" is a good read, even for those of us who are happily ignorant of the mechanics of code-breaking.




Keep those articles and suggestions rolling in please.


The Newsletter is now available on the web site, or could be emailed to anyone who would prefer to receive it in this way (and save us postage costs). Let me or the Secretary know your requirements.

 John “Skip” Skipper, Jubilee Cottage 14, Norwich Rd, Honingham, Norfolk NR9 5BS email


Birgelen Veterans Association

Fred Searle informs us that the Association has decided to sponsor 8-year-old Raphael Geiser, who lives in the Wassenberg area. Raphael suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and needs 24 hour care. The sponsorship is intended to provide any emergency assistance, and to help his family with birthdays, holidays, Christmas etc. 

Donations are welcome, and if you would like to help in any way contact their

Secretary, Cyril Harding, at 14 Park Close,  Abergavenny, Mons,  NP7 5SU.

Field Post Number 00313

(The Listening Post)

The German Fixed Intercept Station

in Lauf a. d. Pegnitz 1939-1945


By Werner Sunkel


The Lauf Fixed Intercept Station [Feste Nachrichten-Aufkarungsstelle] was one of the oldest and most secret installations in the Wehrmacht. This is why, during the war years, their work and purpose was never talked about The following article shall attempt to clear up part of the puzzle pertaining to the renamed (since 1942) Fixed Intercept Station in Laufer Haberloh.

It is planned that the original documents and photos of the Lauf Intercept Station, as well as the original radio sets, will be displayed for the first time this September [1995] in the municipal savings bank [Laufer Stadtsparkasse]. Additionally, more information, eye-witnesses and documents are still being looked for.

Through many recent investigations and reports, what happened in World War II depended not only on the intuitive fate and fortune of a few determined Generals but, not the least, also on their knowledge of the opponent. We now know that, also in Germany, many military organizations were busy with the production of intelligence, but the interception of enemy radio traffic played a very special role as a leading intelligence tool.


From the low level coded or clear-text traffic of front line troops, the Army Intercept Companies [Horchkompanien des Heeres] were able to determine the intentions of the opponents and, at a lower operational level, make decisions.


Since the First World War, the General Staff of the German Army had already built over 20 fixed radio intercept stations, mostly along the boarders of the former German Reich.


In 1937, it was directed that another radio intercept station should be constructed in Lauf. It was assumed that from here the military radio traffic of Czechoslovakia would be monitored. However, the planning and construction work dragged on for a long time, because of Change Orders, so much so that after the German invasion of Prague, on 15 March 1939, a new "target" had to be found.


So it came about that the Lauf Intercept Station took over part of the mission being handled by the Treuenbrietzen (Southwest of Berlin) Intercept Station of which nothing has been previously written about. With the help of the former Director of Analysis for the Lauf site, and a few of the remaining radio operators and female analysts [Nachrichtenhelferinnen], we have managed to gather information about their work. With their assistance, one of the last secrets of Word War II may be solved, over which only a few vague references may be found in existing archives.


Listening to Diplomatic Traffic

The intercept sites at Lauf and Treuenbrietzen, with out-posts in Madrid and even at the Canary Islands, were subordinate directly to the Cryptographic Bureau of the Armed Forces Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command [Amtsgruppe Chiffrierwesen im Wehrmachts Fuhrungsstab Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht] with the function to intercept, and pass on to Berlin for decoding, short wave diplomatic radio traffic.


The intercept site at Lauf only became operational around Christmas of 1939 so the first interceptions were performed at a radio station located in the Tennelohe military intelligence training area. After the move to Lauf the radio operators and support personnel occupied a four unit city owned apartment, which still exists, living quarters on the Haberloh and the former Customs School on the Hermannstrasse, below the Kunigundenbergs, which were both torn down in 1983. During the war they built a Direction Finding site 200 meters [from the Haberloh] towards the city and, in one of the barracks, added more intercept positions so that 20 positions worked around the clock, in six hour shifts. In the Spring of 1943 some drafted female typists were added. In March and again in October of 1944, females replaced numerous radio operators and DF operators that had been transferred to the front lines.


20 Intercept Positions Around The Clock

The radio intercept workstations in the Operations Building and the barracks next to the DF site were usually equipped with three radios and two Morse tape strip recorders for recording of the encoded traffic. The Morse tape strips were transferred by Technicians into number and letter groups and passed on by teletype, or courier, to Berlin.

In the previously mentioned Cryptographic Bureau the coded intercepts could be partially deciphered and then were distributed in the form of so-called "reliable messages" ["Verkálicher Nachrichten"] to the highest levels of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff. Monthly, some thousand decoded messages were distributed and mostly ignored as were the other interceptions of the Navy and Luftwaffe. The information contained in them was minimal and usually had no direct influence on the German war effort. However, there was one exception: the Lauf Intercept Station (originally known as H-Site and beginning in 1942 as Fixed Intercept Station) copied the messages of the American Military Attache in Cairo, Colonel Bonner Feller, which revealed the intentions of the British 8th Army. Until July of 1942, when the American codes were changed, these messages were passed on to Berlin, decoded there and transmitted to Rommel, who then received valuable information about the intentions of his English opponent, Field Marshal Montgomery.


At first, there was hardly any contact with the civilian population. This was remedied by public lecture meetings, the distribution of Christmas gifts to the soldier's children and musical gatherings. According to an original poster of "Soldiers and the KdF County Sport Group" [Soldaten und der KdF-Kreissportgruppe] on June 24, 1944, an entertainment evening was organized in the White Horse ["Weiáen Roá"] Gasthaus, with the motto "With music everything goes better", during which the Mayor was presented a model of the city built by the soldiers of the "Listening Post" [Horchstelle]. Today the model is located in the entry hall of the City Hall.


The end of the Lauf Intercept Station came on 8 April 1945 when the Americans were already in Bad Mergentheim, Crailsheim and near Schweinfurt. At noon, an American bomber destroyed the barracks beside the DF Site and killed the Analyst Ursula Polzin (she is buried with honor in the Lauf Cemetery). On the same day most members of the intercept site were transported in railroad freight cars to Schliersee, by way of Amberg and Passau, where they arrived ten days later. Other soldiers transported a large part of the equipment there by truck.


Technical Radio Experimental Station

During the American occupation, up until approximately 1950, there was no activity at the site. Supposedly Polish forced laborers lived in the site for awhile, after 1945. After the American occupation, the buildings were converted to a radio laboratory which was operated, until the late-70's, by a business from Munich-Pullach [*]. Today the former intercept site is used by the Technical Training Factory and Workshop [Technische Hilfswerk Betriebsgebeude und Werkstatt].


Not only during the whole war, but even today, nothing is talked about the work that was done at the intercept site. The Rothenbacher Museum for Historical Military Technology will organize, at the Lauf municipal savings bank, in September of this year [1995], an exhibition about the intercept site, compiled from City archives.


More about this article

The previous article was translated from the original German by Ralph and Eda Thadeus with help from the Military History Research Office of the German Army. Because of compound words and sentences used in the original article, the translations are based more on 'meanings' of the sentences rather than a literal translation.


The father of Werner Sunkel (the author of this article) worked as an "analysts" at the Lauf Intercept Station. Mr Sunkel is a contributing author to several books pertaining to the telecommunications technology used in the Hitler's Wolfsschlucht 2 and Adlerhorst Headquarters. He also maintains the Museum for Historical Military Technology at Rothenback an der Pegnitz which is located directly East of Nurnberg. One building is dedicated to the Lauf Intercept Station and can be previewed at his web site:


In the article mention is made to a location called the "Haberloh". This is part of the City of Lauf and is a small area (clearing) on the edge of the forest that borders the town.

When the Lauf Intercept Station opened in 1939, the Director of Analysis [Auswertungsleiter Regierungsrat] was Wilhelm F. Flicke. Mr. Flicke was in the "business" for thirty some years both before and after the war.


In a monogram written by Erich Schmidt-Eenboom and published on the web site of the German peace group 'Research Institute for Peace Politics', more information about the Lauf site is published: In 1946 the American CIC 'invited" experts of the Wehrmacht's Intercept Service to Bad Vilbel. The invitation's aim was to persuade them to create and operate intercept sites. [*] Starting in 1952 the CIC operated the updated Lauf site with former veterans of the German Intercept Service. According to Schmidt-Eenboom the Lauf site dedicated 14 positions to the coverage of the Czechoslovakian border guards and state security radio transmissions. Two other positions covered the Polish Army and Internal Security while another two positions covered Hungarian military traffic.


Many thanks to Clive Sanders for sending me this fascinating item, which gives an insight into German WW2 Sigint - Ed





The Royal British Legion and the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) have announced the appointment of Mr Adrian Friggens to the position of General Manager at the NMA, effective 1 March 2004.

Prior to his appointment Mr Friggens was Executive Director of the Farmer’s World network, a UK membership charity that examines the effect of new technologies and world agricultural and trade policies on vulnerable rural communities.  Before this he spent nearly ten years in a variety of field agricultural positions in Western and Central Africa for Action Aid and Plan International.


“I am delighted to join the team at the NMA at such an exciting time. The NMA will play host to several high profile events this year, including a large ceremony to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day landings for all of those who are unable to travel overseas,” Mr Friggens said.


“I’m struck by the potential of the NMA as a major focus for education, reflection and remembrance.  The management team and our friends in the local community have done a wonderful job at the NMA, and I look forward to contributing enthusiasm and charity management experience to build on these successes,” he said.


Situated in Staffordshire, the NMA occupies more than 150 picturesque acres alongside the River Tame near Alrewas, and serves as an unique tribute to all who have been affected by warfare.  Some 40,000 trees, planted in 60 plots also serve as a living reminder of the ongoing commitment of individuals in HM Armed Forces. Entry is free and the NMA is the only place in the UK where the Two Minutes’ Silence is observed every day and the last post and Reveille are played.















We are sad to record the passing, on 4th January, of Hugh Skillen. He was 88. As members will know, Hugh was formerly of the Intelligence Corps, and was the author of many books on Signals Intelligence and Enigma.


Condolences have been sent to Jean and the family on behalf of the Branch.


The collection at Hugh’s memorial service raised £530. This amazing sum, which proves how well thought of he was,

has been donated to the Poppy Appeal in his memory.



May he rest in peace