Memories of K Troop, 21 Signal Regiment

Peter Davidson

There we were, four Techs in the midst of a troop of "Hairies", now I don't know where it came from, but we Techies were lead to believe that "Hairies" were somewhere very low on the military food chain and well beneath our comprehension; nothing could be further from the truth, they're a great bunch of guys always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done and a pleasure to work closely with.

The troop was lead by our OC "Chas" Hughes (now sadly deceased) whose modus operandi was that everyone in the troop pulled together and if that meant everyone went out shovel in hand to dig a trench, that's what we did. On one such occasion when everyone was up to their hips in an ongoing trench on the airfield, a new arrival (a Telemech) presented himself and was told by Sgt Alan (Sid) Armstrong to pick up a shovel and get digging. His response was that he didn't dig as he was a Telemech, Sid's response (complete with expletives) was to the effect that he (Sid) was the Tech Sgt and if he was digging then so would the newbie, so, shovel in hand the new Telemech's introduction to the troop was digging a trench. We dug quite a few of those in our time in the troop, blistered hands being a new experience for the Techs amongst us. If you've never dug a trench wearing full NBC kit (with respirator), my advice is don't, it's really not good for the soul (and bloody hot work to boot).

Morning runs were of course inspirational, if not marred somewhat by the multitude of technicolour yawns that occurred along the way, well Hairies work hard, but play equally hard. In most cases the play of the previous night was still perambulating it's way through the bodies of those running around the airfield the following morning. The Blue Jobs (RAF personnel) were always bemused by this show of masochism, but we, being K Troop, persevered despite, or possibly because of, their astonished looks (well we were the roughy toughy K Troop after all). We Techies did have the occasional out from these runs though. There were four of us in the troop workshop (Sid, Sgt Tommy Taylor, Cpl Steve Jones and myself) who took it in turns to be duty Tech for a day. Part of these duties was to set up the secure equipment in the Station HQ bunker each morning, strangely enough at the time of the run (not planned, honest).

A typical workshop afternoon.

I must tell you that Tommy was a rugby player, and the secretary of the rugby club, and as such was always on the workshop phone to someone or other arranging teams and matches. On one occasion, Sid was getting quite peeved at this constant flood of calls, so, whilst Tommy was busily talking on the phone, Sid picked up a pair of side cutters and snipping through the phone handset cable, politely told Tommy he'd been cut-off. Tommy, quite naturally wasn't too impressed at this, the remainder of us were of course rolling around the workshop floor trying not to laugh too much (well it did hurt after a while). Oddly enough Tommy left us not long after this event.

Peter Davidson, 10th May 2011