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  #1  
Old 6th October 2008, 23:34
Energumen Energumen is offline  
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The 1963 Brighton to Ripon Saga

Hi Folks, it has been suggested that I put this little story on here.

It is Autumn 1963, the R E (TA) From Brighton are on their way to Ripon for their Annual Camp. They will be in convoy with about twenty vehicles including: Scammel Constructor with 20 ton Tasker Low Loader, carrying A dozer or the 10 RB digger, brain gone, plus BK Lorry mounted digger on a dennis chasis, Coles Crane, BK Grader, 10 Ton Albion Machinery Truck, 10 Ton Albion LWB Cargo an assortment of 3 tonners 1 Tonners,
Land Rovers and Champs. Not forgetting the Don R's.

Departure from Barracks commences 2359 hrs.
0010 hrs. Clutch gives out on the Scammel, this means it is tea time, we have our first roadside brew up, 10 minutes from the barracks, whilst our own wizard with his battered bucket of tools, cuts up a baked bean tin, the contents already warming someones insides, makes shims for the clutch, which he duly fits and puts the show back on the road in two hours

Not only did the clutch hold out for the trip to North Yorkshire, which as I remember took over two days, including an overnight stop at Bedford AER Camp, but I can never recall it being replaced, though I suppose it must have been.

Our Wizard deserves a mention, he was Pete Newnham whose civvy job was Plant Workshop Foreman for SM Tidy a well known Sussex Haulage and Plant Hire outfit of the Time, Later integrated with Hall and Co. of Worthing and into the RMC Group.

I will not mention the level crossing in Yorkshire that was on an acute bend, and which after an age getting the Scammel Rig around and over it, the Scammel and the rest of us, arrived back at for a second visit, half hour or so later. And that was without Sat. Nav.

If you read this Sir, from your lofty heights of today, I promise I will not reveal the name of the Subaltern responsible.
Oops, sorry it slipped out. Hm no I will not.

Don't miss the next instalment.

Energumen

Last edited by Energumen; 12th October 2008 at 11:02. Reason: Error
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  #2  
Old 7th October 2008, 09:14
Western SMT Western SMT is offline  
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Hi Energumen - great article and thanks for sharing it with us and look forward to the next instalment.
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Old 7th October 2008, 11:31
billyboy billyboy is offline  
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I Agree. a great read!...roll on the next instalment.
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Old 7th October 2008, 16:11
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Ian Ian is offline  
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....ditto

Ian
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  #5  
Old 7th October 2008, 19:54
Energumen Energumen is offline  
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Part Two, The return Journey.

Having enjoyed a very successful and eventful camp, where my co-driver, had taken over from a 'Don R', who had broken his leg whilst on despatch Rider duties.
We commence the return journey, with me having no co-driver and nominated as Tail end Charlie, with the recovery bar and an Austin A30 in the back, which belonged to a Corporal, who had driven it to camp, where it had given up the ghost.

The then Plant Troop Sargeant, whom I think worked in a Brewery, ( really, I don't know why I told you that, it probably had no bearing, or did it?). Anyway, he was a very strident and organised sort of fellow, who believed in giving precise orders, with detailed contingency plans, for the event of an emergency, instructed me thus;
"Right, you are Tail end Charlie and will act as recovery".
"If you see any of our vehicles stopped, stop with them to offer assistance".

"By the way N", says I, "I have no route details or maps, and if I get seperated, I could have a problem", " Always the smart ****", he says, "just do as you are something well told".

In this spirit of harmony, mutual respect and shared wisdom, off we go, making our way to joining the A1.

Well everything was going great, cab happy as hell, no co-driver to take over and share the driving, I was made up and happy as a dog with two 'Richards'.

But this was without my being a Party to Sargeant Strident's fiendish little scheme hatched between him and the driver of the BK Lorry Mounted Digger,
" Right Johno" he had said, "this broody (sic), digger is holding everything up, so I want you to follow me on a shortcut so we can get ahead of the convoy, and meet them nearer the A1".

Still whistling and enjoying the scenery, with regular looks astern in my 2inch diameter mirrors, which were usually just filled with the image of the green canvas canopy, blowing in the wind. I digress, yes still happily trundling on and keeping the vehicle in front at a sensible distance, I round a bend into a small town shopping street, and there it is! It's the broody Bk Digger and Sargeant Strident in his Austin Champ. You know the man, the one who said "You are Tail end etc. etc.".

Being a good soldier, I did with all due care, find a place to stop, to offer my assistance, Do you remember that bit?.

Well Sargeant Strident seems to have forgotten our earlier little chat and came barreling up the road, breathing fire from his nostrils and probably his annal orifice as well, then throwing his beret on the road, in a most undignified and unbecoming manner, as he undermined my Parents Prerogative, by re-naming me, in a most disrespectful, voluble but beautifully obscene way.

No point in repeating my response, but it was suitably appropriate and interspersed with my most graphically demonstrated expletives as I followed the next order. "You better put you broody foot down now, and catch up with the rest of the covoy", so that is it. But remember, no route card or map and he did not tell me that the rest of them had taken a left turn, half a mile further on. So I am now barreling along at an enthralling 45mph, for the first time that day, you know, straight on like.

To be Continued, The Don R experience, not to mention the London Circular and PC 49.

Energumen

Last edited by Energumen; 21st December 2009 at 23:26.
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Old 7th October 2008, 20:19
Western SMT Western SMT is offline  
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Great story Energumen and look forward to the next one.
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Old 7th October 2008, 23:54
billyboy billyboy is offline  
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Great story... Keep it comming.
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  #8  
Old 9th October 2008, 14:47
Energumen Energumen is offline  
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Part three; The Don R's

Now, still smarting from the public dressing down for doing as instructed, but nonetheless happy to be free of the impedence of slower trucks for a while, I wend my way homeward again, the whistle and clatter of the V8 petrol and vibration from the all terrain tyres, interrupted frequently with the sharp crack of the canvas tilt as sail like, it fought with the wind, these had become a sort of calming overture to my ears.

Then it happened, as if from nowhere first one, then a second Don R appeared alongside my cab door, the riders appearance resembling some gruesome and macabre ghouls from a nightmare. Goggles, crash helmets, great coats flared out like the wings of Concorde, leather thigh boots and gauntlets, complete with scarves that trailed like ships pennants in a storm.

Here we go, "Wwwuuuwww wwwwwover" shout the ghouls in unison, as they wooble, along, bodies akimbo and left arms flailing the air, "Wwwuuuwww wwwwover yapwat". It was quite clear to me as an astute observer of body language and military speak, that these individuals wished me to stop and exchange dialogue with them, and I did so.

Now something must be left to the readers imagination, so you must insert your own sentences, phrases, grunts, gesticulations and obscenities into the tale at this point.

Suffice to say, it resulted in my doing a five point about turn on this rural road, scarcely wide enough for a vehicle in each direction, now you would think I had been punished enough, wouldn't you? yes?. Not Broody likely, just as I complete the manouvre, up comes a knight in , no not shining armour, a broody Austin Champ, who could this be wondered I, as it approached, then an arm bedecked with three of the most prominent chevrons known to man, appeared from the drivers side, apparently offering to give me some physical ecstasy and relief, now I knew who this was, before the voice became audible, sorry, no prizes.

Sargeant Strident, having sent the Don R's to turn me round, had been advised that if I had carried straight on it was a more direct route to the A1 anyway. He now directed another five point about turn and in his own inimmitable way, sent me to join the A1 South and catch up with the convoy.

On arriving at the A1 with the two Don R's in attendance and Strident having gone goodness knows where, I was instructed to wait in a lay by for the rest of the convoy and rejoin at the rear.
This instruction was valid for about fifteen minutes, whilst the two Don R's Went Northward, after which time they reappeared, telling me to get my boot down as the convoy had already passed.

Now it is fair to point out at this time, that the only means of radio communication between any convoy members was a pair of No.19 radio sets, which were 'netted in' at the start of our outward journey and never spoke to each other again until we got home.

However, delightful, I am coaxing about 51 mph out of this old Canadian Thames, the various noises like sections of an orchestra, each making their own unique contribution to this 1812 overture, with the curtains providing the explosions. Even more delightful, the only vehicles passing me are the 'Tartan Arrows', who remembers them?.

Then in my 2inch mirrors, first offside, then nearside, I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be an Austin Champ.

To be continued.

Energumen
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Old 9th October 2008, 19:42
Western SMT Western SMT is offline  
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Appreciate the great stories, must take ages to write them and look forward to the next one. Tartan Arrows are a mystery to me as I was kept in dark places called workshops for too long. Managed to escape the workshops and ended up in engine rooms at sea.
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  #10  
Old 9th October 2008, 20:14
Energumen Energumen is offline  
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Hello and thanks for the nice comments, I am just trying to recreate a bit of a true but amusing anecdote about a driver/squaddie experience, 40 odd years ago, to encourage more people to join and relate their far more interesting stuff.

New thread started on the bus forum

Regards
Energumen
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