Sunday, January 4, 2009

7th January - 9th March 1974
Exercise Clockwork South
7th - 9th January
Packing personal kit and troop equipment.

9th January
09.15hrs - Troop leave Condor Base, for Rosyth Docks.
11.00hrs - Board RFA Sir Geraint.
Drivers find a bed and stow personal gear, then report to the hold, to chain down the vehicles.

10th January
13.00hrs - Sir Geraint sailed into stormy seas, 20 foot waves lashed the ship.
The ship cork-screwed, pitched heavily up and down, rolled from side to side and "dropped" suddenly into the wave troughs, coming to a sudden halt, as though hitting a concrete wall, before climbing back up.
Men and personal equipment was being thrown around, it was difficult to stand, yet alone walk.
The troop and the Marines were becoming Sea-sick, wondering how long this was going to last.
Within 30 minutes of sailing, the Captain came on the Tannoy, warning everyone to hold tight to something, he was turning the ship around. Turning the ship broadside onto the waves, threw the ship almost fully onto its Port side, making the beds become the floor, then the ship righted itself. Returning to dock was a lot smoother, but still the cork-screwing effect was felt.
15.00hrs, the ship docked at Rosyth.
The bow door had become buckled and the hold was flooding, hence the drastic turn around.

11th January
Troop boarded Coaches, back to Arbroath.

13th January
Return to Rosyth, help un-load our vehicles from Sir Geraint and load them onto Sir Percival.

14th January
06.30hrs, Sir Percival set sail, into a calmer sea.

16th January
Sailing along the Norwegian Coast, splendid views.

17th January
11.00hrs - Docked at Narvik - half of the Marines went ashore.

18th January
10.00hrs - Docked at Mosjoen, amidst severe Snow Blizzard, visibility down to 3 feet.
Troop drove to Drevja, arriving at 15.00hrs.

Troop Fitter drove Troop Officer to Bjerka, to view the Ski Course, stopping overnight at a Norwegian Camp.
Returned to Drevja next morning.

20th January
Troop Fitter, Sgt Gray, Paddy Bingham and Hamish, moved to Bjerka, with 3 tonner full of Diesel Gerry cans and Bottles of Battery fluid, plus a motorised Ski sledge.
Siteing the Generator and laying out the Ski Course cables.

21st January
Connecting all Ski Course Lighting cables and hanging in the trees and bushes.
Run Generator for 5 hours, to top up the new batteries.

22nd January
Erecting Poles in the open ground areas, to support the Lighting cables.
Connect Lighting Cables to the Switchboard, to test lighting.
When satisfied, clean connections, grease and wrap in Protectives.
Repair Paddy Binghams Motor Ski - used to flatten the ski course, borrowed Paddy's ski's, spent afternoon skiing round the course.
28th January
08.00hrs - All of us left Bjerka, driving 300 miles to Alvergardsmoen, to join the troop.
A half hour stop at Drevja for fuel, then continue via the dreaded Arctic Pass to catch a Ferry.
The Arctic Pass is 15 miles long, open to the elements, with a few tunnels to "hide" in.
The packed snow and ice, form a 4 inch deep wheel rut, running close to the mountain range on one side and inches from a 1000 feet drop on the other side, in some places, the drop is as much as 3000 feet.
We were slowed down by fresh snow falling, making a skid very real, thankfully the Wind/Snow deflectors on the side of the road do work, or we could have become stuck in one of the tunnels, through the Cliff overhang.
Pushing as hard as possible, we just made the Ferry, then race for the next Ferry, but just missed it,bed down for a few hours, before next Ferry arrives.

29th January
07.30hrs - caught Ferry and continued for Alvergardsmoen, ran out of Petrol, just 2 miles from the Base. Sgt Gray walked into the base and fuel sent out.

Exercise Clockwork North
31st January
Troop moved to Skjol, 100 miles North, where we erected out 10 man Tent Camp.

1st February
Troop Fitter and 4 lads set up the generator, to supply lighting for the tents and power for the troop tools.
Troop Officer looking at our Construction Site, whilst lads are clearing working areas, out of the snow, which is over 10 feet deep.
Troop task is to build a Wooden Bridge across a small river, as part of the National Skiing Course.
4th - 17th February

Utilising the surrounding Forest, cut down trees and build a bridge, using ropes to bind the bridge sections. Only the handrails will be nailed together, for safety when crossing.
The troop only has a limited period to complete this bridge, as the National Langluff Race is starting.
The bridge was finished just in time, no sooner was snow put on the bridge, than the first skiers passed over it.

19th February
Troop move back to Alvergardsmoen.

4th March
Board Sir Lancelot and chain down the vehicles.

5th March
17.00hrs, ship sailed for Rosyth.

7th March
Ship hove-to from 23.00hrs to 09.30hrs - trapped by a Force 14 Storm, very un-comfortable.

9th March
Docked at Rosyth.
Arrive Condor Base at 14.00hrs.

Original Troop Left - from the 38 who started:
Jack Audsley....Geoff Belsey....Paddy Bingham....Peter Davey....Ray Elliott....Blue Fenwick....Jock Gray....Harry Green....Ron Gould....Hamish Hamilton....Piggy Moore....Joe Noble....George Stainton.

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