Hundreds of spectators gathered on Epsom Downs to mark the 100th anniversary of an inspection by Lord Kitchener of World War One soldiers.

They saw a re-enactment of the day in 1915 when Britain’s war secretary inspected 20,000 troops with his French counterpart Alexandre Millerand. The inspection took place in snow, which fell incessantly for hours and in places reached 12in (30cm) deep.

A group of World War One re-enactors in period kit set off from Bourne Hall, in Ewell, on Saturday to march to Epsom Downs via Epsom Town Hall. They were joined on parade by members of the Army Cadets and soldiers from 135 Geo Sqn RE. A commemoration service followed the inspection before the re-enactors placed a wreath at Epsom cemetery.

In 1915, the volunteer soldiers from the 2nd London Division of Kitchener’s New Army rose at 04:00 GMT on 22 January and marched from all over Surrey without breakfast. Two battalions arrived by train from Maidstone in Kent.

Kitchener arrived at 11:00, by which time some of the soldiers had passed out. One of them, Lt Hamilton, wrote: “Just as Kitchener arrived I fainted, dash nuisance!”. The soldiers who were ill were taken to the wartime hospital set up at the grandstand on the racecourse. One later died.

Mr Brooks said the purpose of the inspection was to impress Millerand but the official party stayed with the troops for only five minutes. The reason given was the snow, but there may have been another motive. 10857192_441876712636519_7658309484767668144_o 10860927_441876585969865_4858477315894672339_o

The 20,000 soldiers on parade only had 100 rifles between them, which were displayed on the front row.

Kitchener knew this and, after walking quickly along the ranks, suggested to his ally that they should call it a day because of the worsening weather.


The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM)

The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) is the originator of the 2 day mountain marathon type event and is for teams of 2, carrying all clothing, equipment, tent, sleeping bag, food for 36 hours, navigating one’s own route and including a remote overnight camp. Teams are totally self-supporting, no GPS or outside support is allowed and teams not arriving at the overnight camp are assumed to have camped safely. Your team partner is your first source of help and assistance. This is the premier UK event to test teamwork, self-reliance, endurance, outdoor and navigational skills. The reputation of the event is worldwide and every year entrants come from over 12 countries.

The ethos of the event is to be totally self-reliant in wild remote areas, carrying all equipment, no outside support and without GPS or mobile phone. Your first source of help is your partner and if you retire you are responsible for getting yourself back to base. Any teams not arriving at the overnight camp are assumed to have camped safely. In these days of 24/7 contact and total support this is an event to test and indeed help develop teamwork and self-reliance. Navigation, fitness, endurance and self-reliance are all skills needed to varying degrees by Army Reservists and that’s why 135 Geo Sqn entered two teams into this years OMM in the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish Borders. If you want to challenge yourself and enhance the military skills you will learn during your training as a Reservist there are many opportunities to take part in events such as the OMM in the Army Reserve.

Photo shows Cpl Shane Morley and Spr Victoria James who took part in the event for the first time and WO1 Les Hunt and his running partner (and a former SSM of 135 Geo Sqn) ex WO2 John Mursell.

Ex COCKNEY CONVENTUS – 135 Squadron Annual Camp 2014

Little did I think that less than 1 week into married life we would be heading down the M20 to spend 2 weeks on our annual camp at St Martin’s Plain, Folkestone. The alternative “honeymoon” had been meticulously planned and was in the calendar before the wedding date so we had a busy September!
St Martin’s Plain camp is on the outskirts of Folkestone, overlooked by the impressive North Downs ridge and was used as a German prisoner of war camp in World War 2. The squadron arrived on mass, with a long convoy of green fleet consisting of new MAN 6T and 15Tonners, new TMDP vehicles , JCB’s and Hyster forklifts. This camp had numerous courses running simultaneously and within the first week we had 2 new Cat C drivers (HGV’s), 6 off road JCB plant drivers, 3 Hyster forklift licenses and some hardened Geo Techs, having spent the week with the Regiment on Exercise simulating a Battle Group’s Geo Cell in Somalia.

St Martin’s Plain

I was on the 5 day JCB 240-50 training. This was a very practical course; we were straight behind the wheel after donning the safety gear and being briefed on the basic controls. We spent the days combining some theoretical lessons, understanding basic mechanics of overloading the forks and the limitations of the Load Moment Indicator (LMI) and time on the plant. Stacking metal pallets of “simulation” mapping, we quickly learned how to delicately place a 1Tonne pallet up to 4 high, on rough terrain. If you thought that stacking was simple, then try doing it in a rutted field, on an incline, whilst manoeuvring between tyres. There were some great concentration faces being made!

Hyster counter balance forklift truckHyster counter balance forklift truck

The second week of camp included some specialised training for the surveyors on our new survey kit from a Leica engineer. It was great to get our hands on the GPS and TPS kit which we found was more intuitive and user friendly than the previous version of Leica kit. We all benefitted from having the Leica engineer on hand to answer our questions. We completed our training with a tasking to survey the camp using a combination of static GPS capturing, RTK and picking up detail using the remotely operated TPS feature. This training will help facilitate the next survey task which 135 undertake, whether it be another Op NIGHTINGALE or airfield survey in the future.
Whilst some of 135 Sqn were surveying, others were getting familiarised on the MAN trucks, this involved understanding the basic mechanics of the vehicles, how to change a wheel, document filling and off road driving etc. With no new scratches and only a couple of missing zip ties, a fresh contingent of 6T and 15T drivers were added to the Squadron’s driver’s list.

JCB All Terrian Forklift Truck

Throughout the camp, we enjoyed a variety of entertainment and adventurous training including climbing, trekking and mountain biking. The mountain biking in Bedgebury Forest was a favourite. As we gained confidence throughout the day thanks to instruction by the OC and WO1 Ray Peace, we conquered “Dad’s Army” trail and the more exhilarating “Deliverance” with some instant face painting thanks to the muddy puddles we dropped into! Each evening the Sergeant Major created the SMP film club showing a variety of films including the popular Zulu (for a bit of Corps history)!
The final day was spent at RSME, Chatham where we were taken out in the Engineer’s rigid raider RIB’s. Despite the millpond that was the Thames Estuary, the pilots still managed to get three lifejackets to self-inflate. We had fun performing high speed cross decking – which was more akin to scrambling across from one RIB to another and piling up in a tangled mess of arms and legs before getting completely drenched by the support boat’s stern wave! Despite the perception of not being skilled at this manoeuvre, no one fell out and we all made it back to the jetty before heading off for a quick visit to the RE museum.

Assualt Craft

All in all, Cpl Terry A and LCPl Terry K had the best unofficial honeymoon we could have asked for; we had good food, great training and even better adventurous training with our friends and have lasting memories. We will never forget this annual camp and may even go back in 25 years’ time to celebrate our wedding anniversary….!

Army Reserve Combat Pistol Championships 2014 30th – 31st Aug 14

Our shooting team recently competed in the Army Reserve Combat Pistols Championships.
The team came 9th out of 24 Army Reservist teams, and overall 11th (Reserve and Regular Forces). We were the top RE Unit or Sub Unit.SSgt Gomez came 11th out of 127 Reserve and Regular contestants, and he came second in Match 52 Stage 1. LCpl Cordory was the best female shot (222).

The following overall positions were obtained (Reserve and Regular):

SSgt Gomez 11 (therefore within top 30)
Sgt Windebank 51
LCpl Cordory 75
Sgt Wallis 81
Capt Julian 89

This is a good result for our first dedicated pistol competition entry, and no doubt can be improved on next year.10532616_369490293208495_1956585696140257322_o 10582771_369490686541789_6915116046919657256_o

Epsom & Ewell Parade 31 May 2014

135 Geo Sqn RE will be parading through Epsom & Ewell on Saturday 31st May to commemorate soldiers leaving for World War One (WWI)

WWI Soldiers marching through Epsom

Please see the event Poster for more information including activities.

Epsom’s military history will be brought to life this month with a symbolic re-enactment of soldiers leaving for the trenches in World War I and Roman legionnaires arriving.

On Saturday, May 31, there will be military parades down high streets in Epsom and Ewell.

A military band and 135 Geographic Squadron Royal Engineers Army reserves, will march through Epsom in the morning and Ewell in the afternoon.

The morning will culminate in symbolic re-enactment of the WWI troops marching from the clock tower to Epsom station on their way to fight in the trenches.

Your Local Guardian

Please see the event Poster for more information including activities.