Category Archives: Army Days

My Service Life in the REME and Intelligence Corps from 1960 – 1984

REME Junior Leaders Reunion 2014

 REME Junior Leaders Reunion  

31st October & 1st November 2014

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Programme of the Event

  • The reunion venue The Westminster Hotel (Best Western) Chester. The booking reference detail = Best Western Hotel Chester. Booking reference LEW31104 Contact is Edel Heaney. Tel 01244 317341 Quote the reference for the very special rooms and dinner rates. More info contact Barry Johnson on 07739905261

Dinner Reception 6.30 to 7.30pm.

Formal Dinner in the Private Dining Room 7.30

After Dinner Speech’s by three attendee’s on the subject “Why I was drawn in to be a Soldier of the Sixties and my most amusing military experience”

  • Saturday morning event “The Attractions of the City of Chester” and Pub Lunch to be arranged for those staying over.

Return to Hotel in the Evening for those who wish to stay over again just as before. An informal Party Dinner with headaches to follow!.

Depart Sunday morning

Obviously some will only wish to take part in part of the Friday night dinner re-union which we all understand. But as the last time’s Saturday evening was laced with some  very funny stories, it promoted the idea of selecting volunteers for the after dinner speech sector on Friday at our next one.

Please let me have your feedback on the programme and if you would like toi take a Speech Spot after Dinner?

REME JLU Reunion, Birmingham, 2013


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REME J L U Reunion

20th September 2013

Birmingham Radisson Hotel

Programme of Events

Arrive pm 20th September 2013-06-26

Dinner Reception 1900 hrs Banquet Hall Reception

1945 hrs – Dinner

Menu :See Appendix “A”

2130 After Dinner Presentation and Speakers Corner.

“The most embarrassing moment in life”

3 Guest Speakers

Retire to the Bar.

Saturday 21st,


10.30 A trip to the Military Arboretum Stafford.

1300 Pub Lunch

Afternoon free tour around Birmingham Canal Wharf Area

Very worthwhile and interesting event.

1900 Dinner Canal Bistro Restaurant for those who stay over.

Information about the Hotel,  Area and BOOKING INFORMATION:

12 Holloway Circus Queensway –  B1 1BT –  Birmingham 


Rebecca SmithMeetings and Events SupervisorT: +44 (0) 121 654 6000,D: +44 (0) 121 654 6000F: +44 (0) 121 654 6004

Radisson Blu HotelBirmingham


Accommodation rates:

Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £112 BB

Friday night accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £121 BB


Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for sole occupancy at £102 BB per room per night

Friday & Saturday accommodation in a standard double room for double occupancy at £111 BB per room per night


Birmingham Canals

Birmingham Canals provide a great place for holidaymakers to explore the city in an unorthodox way. While in the past they have been primarily used for industry, the canals now welcome visitors with guided tours and boat hire.

To explore the city centre of Birmingham, visitors to the city will need a quality hotel in Birmingham city centre. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham offers guests their choice of 211 comfortable hotel rooms and suites, each decorated in one of the hotel’s three themes.

Reserve a modern hotel to visit Birmingham’s Canals.

History of Birmingham’s canals
The navigable portions of the Birmingham Canals stretch over 100 miles throughout the city and the Black Country. Originally built in the 18th century, these canals formed an essential conduit for raw materials to reach the industrial stronghold of Birmingham. In its heyday, the Birmingham canal network contained 160 miles of usable waterways.

These days, the city has transformed what once was almost exclusively for the use of industry into a viable tourist attraction. The network’s hub has traditionally been near Gas Street Basin and guests can still visit the area for boating tours or just to see the immaculately restored examples of craft that used to be common on the canals.

Travel the Birmingham Canals from a city-centre hotel
Located just minutes away fromGasStreetBasin, the main junction of theBirminghamCanals, the Radisson Blu Hotel,Birmingham will be perfect for excursions to the waterways. This hotel inBirmingham connects visitors to all great local attractions and events venues, including the nearby Make Reservation




Some Wizards

Once upon a time near a small dorf in Germany and almost surrounded by the dark and mysterious Guhor Woods was a secret place called Mercury Kaserne.

The Guhor Woods


It was so secret that not even the people who lived there knew what went on behind the wire fence beyond The Boiler House and LAD;  including most of those who inhabited it.

That was excepting for a small band of exceptional Wizards named Discs who, using the amazing powers of the E Book and the B Stick of Knowledge, worked their magic over the inhabitants of the realms of  Setroom and Pit.

These Wizards were sorely put upon by The Powers That Were who considered them to be A Blot on an otherwise Pristine Landscape. The evil forces of Geoff the Fletch,  Black Mac and their Mercurial Allies swore that these wizards would not prevail.  but, under the leadership of the Arch Wizard MacKinnon, and aided by the Gnomes of M, whose nimble fingers translated the results of the Wizards spells into the reams of paper tape required to disseminate them to the Gods of Cheltenham, they ensured that The Alternative Existence flourished in this dark land.

The Gods were exceeding pleased with the Wizards and placed them on a pedestal high above the forces of those who bore the sign of Mercury. These,  though prettily attired and immaculately pressed, had no appreciation of the aesthetic arts and thus were no match for the Wizards and their Acolytes.

Alas, however, as time went on, the Wizards were manipulated by The Powers That Were and were scattered to the four corners of the earth, or at least as far as Aynik or Maresfield. Many of them became Disenchanted and forsook their Wizardly Skills and were subsumed into  Civvystreet.  A few continued to perpetuate the magic and mystery of Discdom and SI and passed their skills down in the hope that sometime in the future the Wizards  would rise up again to become The Masters of the Kazerne.

Discs reunited – Roermond Station

Anyway,  The Cold War came to an end and it was discovered that the Power of the Eastern Block had been a figment of the imagination of the Powers that Were.  It tumbled down and with it the Kaserne on the edge of the Guhor Wood.

The Discs, however, were sure that there was still Magic and Wizardry trapped in the soul of this land.  So, following an edict from the legendary Jonibax, the Wizard of the Wand, the Ross and Jacko sent out missives to the Original Wizards and Gnomes, to bring them back together in the land of Hell, Alt and Jägermeister.

The Enchantress

Sadly the Arch Wizard MacKinnon had been taken to a better place and thus would not be a part of this pilgrimage.

So it was  a group of eight,   Romanis, Gnome of the North, Barnes the Wizard of the Wine, the Chinese Wizard May Ling (aka Bill ), Terry the Birgelen Bard, and the Keeper of the Keys Simpson, who set out on  Long and Difficult Journeys from Ireland and the Shires to meet together in the Metropolis of Roermond where, thanks to The Chud, there would be available a Minibus to whisk them across the Rothenbach and onto Haus Wilms where they were greeted by the Enchantress Birgit .

Thus began the mission to rediscover The Magic.  Of course this necessitated the imbibing  a modicum of the local brews and practising the local patois, which resulted in some interesting meals if not ales!

Normally viewed from this Angle

It had been decided that Roermond would be the first area for investigation and so, after a healthy breakfast, we ventured forth to rediscover the Sankt Pauli, Rooswinkle and other establishments we wot of.  Surprise, surprise, The Sankt Pauli, which should still have been festooned with fishing nets and shells, had become a smart block of apartments.

Lunch in the sun

To recover we traversed the Munsterplein, passed the Munster Cafe, and headed for the market where we discovered that the Rooswinkel had not only been turned into a kebab shop but had also closed down. Jacko discovered he had forgotten to pack keks and foraged in the Market whilst the remainder took over an adjacent cafe to ensure that the standard of Amstel had not deteriorated over the years.

Wizard hat

From there we investigated the river but, due to road works, were forced to abandon a riverside lunch and repair to the Munsterplein where the local band was taking up residence in the Bandstand.  Replete we summoned our loyal minibus and hied it to the Dalheimer Muhle deep in the heart of the Guhor Woods.  Here we were to meet up with Terry and Keith who had no interest in Roermond due to having spent all their youth hunting something intangible in Effeld and the woods; well that’s their story!


Dalheimer Muhle

It says something for the powers of the Wizards that the Muhle was only recently  reopened after falling into decline for many years.  We duly increased their profit margin considerably and Jacko was tempted beyond endurance to sample the Waffle, hot cherry and icecream.  This was just to keep his strength up for the Walk Through The Wood.

The Minibus was again summonsed to return the wanderers to the Wilms whilst three took off into the wood to walk the four klicks home.

Spargel feast

The evening was taken up with Dinner; it being the Spargel season this was much in evidence and is Not To Be Missed in my estimation.  It is a white and very large variety, not the spindly English type. This was also the evening of the Chelsea/Bayern match, which proved to be so boring that even the German guests were yawning.

We moved into the courtyard to engage in some scintillation conversation and drink more beer until we were asked to come inside as the staff wanted to lock up. One who shall be nameless had bought a bottle of Jägermeister and in the company Bill we retired to said persons room and consumed same.  It doesn’t keep well once opened!!


Bill and I were hopeful of a game of golf on Sunday morning at the Rothenbach GC which, although sited on the foundations of Block30, has thrived. Unfortunately it was the one Sunday in the year that they had decided to have a competition so this fell through! Thus we took a taxi to Maters, which despite the new conservatory remains much as it was all those years ago.

Rothenbach GC with the Chud

From here we walked back up to the site of the Kaserne and up to the golf club for lunch where we were met by the Chud who, though an ex member of The Enemy, had been a vital link in the chain bringing this gathering together.

Bills Hiring?

Bills Hiring?

He also acted as chauffeur for the rest of the afternoon taking a group round the old quarters in Wassenberg and Birgelen.  Bill discovered that he didn’t know where he had lived except that it was over 4 garages so we stopped at various locations and took pictures.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with revisiting the site of 13  and trying to work out exactly where everything had been, especially the WRAC Block, of which many stories were told!

We once again repaired to the Wilms where The Ross was waylaid by his ex landlord who spirited him away, probably to extract unpaid rent. The rest of the party decided to eat in the Burgerstube in the village and this turned out to be A Good Thing.  Excellent food and beer and, once again, lively intercourse; though not with the landlady!

And so it all came to an end on Monday morning when our carriage transported us back to Roermond Station and the parting of the ways.

In all a very memorable reunion and my thanks to Eric for all his efforts, to John Chudleigh for organizing the Effeld end and too all who came for making it so enjoyable.

For The Bard of Birgelen’s poetic contribution Click here



Eddie and Helen Grisedale

Just a short note to mark the passing of two old friends. Eddie had passed away a little time ago and I have just been told that Helen has also died.

In 9 Signal Regiment during the later ’70s, among the many station activities, they were involved in the Mercury Theatre Group and The Folk club to name but two.

They lived round the corner from me in Ay Nik and my first Siberian, Sascha, used to baby sit for them.

I lost track of them after I was demobbed and it is only through the good offices of facebook friends that I am able to pay this small tribute.  I’m sure their family and friends will miss them.

Unfortunately I can only find one photo at the moment which was taken at a Sgts Mess function somewhere around ’76 – 78.

Helen Grisedale

REME Junior Leaders Unit Reunion 2011 – Stow-on-the-Wold

I flew in to Birmingham and from thence by train to Kingham, via Oxford. All transport on time and clean and tidy. Well done the two rail operators.

Kingham - The trains do run on time

I was informed by the taxi company recommended by the hotel that there was a race meeting in Cheltenham and there was no way he had any cabs available! I finally took the one suggested by the station master and we wended away along the misty Cotswold country lanes for about 4 miles and I was charged £20 for the privilege of the commentary on the Cotswolds.

Wyck Hill House Hotel...and Spa

The Wyck Hill House appeared out of the mist and proved to be a very fine venue. I have reviewed it here rather than detract from the reunion.

Arriving in the bar I found Geoff Powell and his good lady (I have difficulty enough remembering the lads so excuse me for not naming the ladies) and we chatted over a drink until the arrival of Mike Payne, sporting a neat Oz accent. A couple more drinks passed as more participants, I hesitate to use the word delegates, arrived. Barry had provided name tags this year so it was easier to identify people we should have known.

Shortly after this I retired to bed for a couple of hours in order to be in good form for the evening festivities.

It had been decreed in the ORBAT that we would assemble in the bar at 19,00 for preprandial drinks, but most made it early in order to find a comfortable spot.

I left you in this position

Maurice Quinnell and co

I was pleasantly surprised to meet Maurice Quinnell, whom I managed to half recognise, and we exchanged some old stories. It was a good time for getting to chat to people who I didn’t really remember but whose stories were so similar to our experiences.

And so to dinner and more good conversation.  Our table was occupied by the “bachelor group”, Barry obviously having decided that we would not be safe let loose amongst the ladies until after the formalities.

Following dinner we were entertained by an updated slide show from the 60’s. All human life was there but, unlike the NOTW , all with their clothes on.


Now where was I ?????


Then followed the tales of woe and embarrassment from a number of those present.  Forgive me but I have forgotten the stories and all the names but James Rafferty who “performed” last and won the whisky! I’m sure he deserved it.

And so back to the bar to discuss topics of great worldly import and generally enjoy ourselves.

Those were the days

I maintained my reputation of being the last to leave once again, but only just!

I breakfasted with Roger Smith and his wife, another couple who had flown in from Australia for the gathering, who assured me that it had all been worth it.

After this I made my farewells as I was being collected to join another reunion, this time Intelligence Corps, in Cheltenham.

I will attempt to get the details, and any photos, of the Cotswold bus trip and any further adventures from Barry and add it to this post later.

I’m sure everybody will join me in thanking Barry and Alan for getting this put together again and we look forward to the next gathering in 2012.



We’ll blame it all on Ross!

All I did was to suggest to John B,  Eric and a couple of others that, as I was in Stow-on-the-Wold for a REME bash on the Friday, wouldn’t it be an idea to have a reunion of the “Fathers of Discing” and their acolytes the day after.

Well of course Eric opened up the rolodex and put out a QRV to all and sundry. Most of the sundry turned up, with the notable exceptions of Bill Mayling, who was apparently detained in a dungeon, and Dave Martell who was tied up with preparations for Remembrance Day.

Without Eric’s and Christine’s hospitality; they found beds for JB, Mike Cadwgan and me amongst their nearest and dearest, we would have been pushed to find rooms at any inn.

Sartorial elegance

Saturday began with a trip into Cheltenham to meet up the Romanises for lunch at the Slug and Lettuce, have a couple of beers and then potter about the town whilst Eric went off to collect JB off the train. Afternoon tea was taken in Waterstones and then off to chéz Ross in time to welcome Cadwgan.

The rest is history – a great get together in the Royal Union with Geoff’s brother presiding over the largest chicken supper I have ever come across.

We somehow avoided being asked to leave for any reason! This was probably a first for some of us.

Eric, JB and I plotted future events over some excellent whiskey until the early hours. Hopefully some of them will come to fruition.

On behalf of all who did attend and those who couldn’t but would have liked to I raise a virtual glass to Eric for organizing a memorable event.