Wednesday, January 7, 2009

7th January - 30th March 1973

Exercise Clockwork South

7th - 9th January
Preparing to move to Norway, packing personal kit, plus Troop Equipment, into our vehicles.

10th January
Flown out to RFA Sir Tristram, plus part of the Marines joined us.
Remainder of the Marine Group on RFA Sir Gallahad.
RFA Sir Geraint and Albion un-able to attend, due to damage.
Each RFA ship can hold 500 men in 5 Cabins, all our vehicles and stores can be accommodated in the hold or on deck.
Other than being cramped in the sleeping quarters, the ship was very comfortable and produced good meals.

12th January
Docked at Strohor, just North of Oslo, some Marines departed.

13th January
Docked at Morzoe - rest of Marines left.

14th January
Docked at Moirana - we were helicoptered off, to a temporary Norwegian Camp.
Sleeping in wooden cabins.

25th January
Troop moved by road, 100 miles further North, only 35 miles North as the Crow flys, to Bjerka.
Troop trialing out new designs of Explosives, using recorders to configure the blast.

30th January - 7th March
Troop Fitter and Dave Green moved to Drevja, to help set-up and maintain the Day & Night Skiing course.
The lights kept fusing, Dave came up with the idea to use Condoms, over the electrical joints, It worked well!
Clean and grease the cable joints, insert into the Protective, then tape up.
Our troop knew which ones Dave had fitted - he blew them up like a balloon.

2nd February
Troop Fitter called to Marine workshops, informed that the parts requested, had been sent to Arbroath. Half the Marine transport was off the road, Troop Fitter to to get as many Landrovers and 3 tonners going, even by canabilising other vehicles.
Troop building a Bailey Bridge, leading to the Arctic Pass.

14th February
Troop Day Off - Shopping in Mosjoen.

15th February
Troop went swimming in Gramoen Skole (Grammer School) in Mosjoen.

28th February
Troop Fitter stripping down the Ski Course.
Staff Pickles and 5 lads came through to collect the Generator and cables.
Staff passed on compliments from Lt. Blaaber - Norwegian Skiing Course Officer, to the Troop Fitter, for a job well done.
Moved back to Drevja.
Back to chaos, tempers are flaring, married men being kept seperate from Single men.
Even the Marines had in-fighting.
The whole Exercise had gone disastrously wrong, causing organisation changes every day, as each disaster was assessed.

1st - 5th March
Troop Fitter and 2 Marine Fitters, working until they fall asleep, trying to salvage as many vehicles as possible.
Those not working are made ready to be towed to the Docks, by the Norwegian Army.
Only three Landrovers were salvaged for our Troop.

6th March
Troop moved to Alvergarsten - 140 miles North of Bjerka, close to the Russian Border.

7th - 11th March
The dreaded 50 mile yomp got underway, climbing up into the Mountain, close to the Border.
Part of the Exercise, is to attack a Norwegian Army "Enemy" Camp at night.....Poor Soles, we skied in full darkness, stopping on a slight slope above the camp. At the signal, we skied down fast, attacking with full aggression (built up by the disasters), lads skied through the Norwegian tents, tents were set on fire, many Norwegians required hospital treatment.
Killer Commando's!!

13th April
Troop flying home without any vehicles.
Before the Hercules could take off, the Runway needed clearing, but as fast as the snow ploughs operated, the snow re-settled quickly. In desperation, the snow ploughs lined up across the Runway and raced forwards, followed by our Hercules. The Pilot judged it perfectly, barely scrapping over the Snow Ploughs.
Flew into RAF Lucas, then boarded Coaches to Arbroath.
Johhny ...........Tony.....Paddy..George...Chris

Our Vehicles arrived later, this kept the Troop Fitter and drivers busy, all hands to collect them, clean them and then repair them.

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