On 25 August a small group of Liverymen joined the company of our affiliated RN ship HMS Echo for the final leg of her current tour of duty. Our party comprised the Master Elect Tony Joyce, Past Masters Laurence Johnstone and Mickola Wilson plus Liverymen Max Crofts and George Scott (regrettably the Master was unable to join the group on this occasion).
An offshore passage from Devonport (Plymouth) to Falmouth ensured that our group gained at first hand an appreciation of nautical skills as well as an insight into some of the important but challenging work which Echo has recently undertaken in the Mediterranean.
An early high point of the day was our group being invited on to the ship’s bridge to witness the skills involved in leaving the dockside mooring, especially as Echo had been tied up alongside a nuclear submarine! Other treats included firefighting and weaponry demonstrations, two dolphin-school sightings and also our own team being invited to present awards to three members of the ship’s company. We were made very welcome by the Echo team and had a superb passage to Falmouth in fine weather and on calm seas. The day had many special aspects not least of which was the feeling of fellowship with our affiliated ship’s company as well as amongst the Liverymen present. Just before entering Falmouth harbour and with Commanding Officer Andrew Norgate’s encouragement, Past Master Johnstone delivered a short speech to the entire ship’s company and other guests on the foredeck sincerely thanking our hosts for their hospitality and saying how proud the Livery Company is to be associated with the ship.
It is very clear our support to Echo is hugely valued by the Ship’s company and that our bonds are very much alive and thriving.
135 Geographical Squadron Royal Engineers
Mobilisation and operational output
135 Sqn have a number of roles:
• Geospatial Information Dissemination (GID), survey, geospatial analysis and in the future bulk reproduction of mapping
• The Sqn continues to provide geo support to the Army, Defence and wider Government
The Sqn has a constant remit to provide geo support when required to the following customers:
• Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), in support of NATO, ARRC is the force that provides the NATO Reaction Force at high readiness for NATO in 2017, and at a lower readiness for 2018.
• VANGUARD – support to a UK Divisional deployment
• Wider Defence
The main focus of Sqn activity for this year has been training, preparation and finally capability testing in the form of ARRCADE GLOBE. ARRCADE GLOBE was a multinational confirmatory Geospatial exercise to prove that NRF 17 was ready for potential deployment.
135 Sqn hold the niche capability of GID within the British Army and to a great extent across NATO. A NATO partner visited the Sqn to benefit from our GID experience, to inform their potential development of a GID capability.
Training year 17/18 was designated NRF17 response year, and so the majority of the training was designed to support that aim. Additional non NRF17 training involved personnel concentrating on attending technical, command and leadership courses as required for career development and promotion.
In addition to the above courses we have delivered an Advanced Geo trade course, a Battlefield Study to Passchendaele, a driver training concentration consisting of vehicle license acquisition, vehicle familiarisation and cross country driving to ensure that personnel are able to deploy in the GID role driving large MAN SV trucks.
The 4 Day Battlefield Study included the study of terrain and its military implications, tactics of the day, and remembrance at cemeteries. The Royal Engineers were heavily involved both in tunnelling and cratering as well as mapping. The study culminated in the presentation of a wreath as part of the nightly Menin Gate ceremony.
The look forward encompasses a live task in Cyprus, further surveying and GID technical training, preparation and attendance of ARRC exercises and upon arrival of the new Bulk reproduction capability, training in this new role. We also look forward to newly refurbished Troop lines at Reading in 2019.
The Sqn appreciates the close bond between the WCCS and the Sqn, and was delighted to host the WCCS Master and Military Representative at our Endeavour Award Dinner, where we dined out key Sqn members, but most importantly honoured the achievement of Cpl Hewlett, the current award holder.
We are always looking for pre-trained geospatial professionals and surveyors, and have options for you to join as Geo Vocational Specialists which requires less of your time, but still enables you to be involved in support to Defence and wider partners. So if you are interested please let us know.
Maj N Archer | OC 135 Sqn, 42 Regt
7010 Sqn Activities, Autumn 2017
Current Establishment: 94. Strength: 70. Fully Trained Strength: 54
Five members of the Sqn are currently mobilised for full-time service with the RAF in support of Op SHADER either in the UK or overseas. The majority will serve a 6-month period before returning to civilian careers. Two Sqn members have already identified their availability for mobilisation in 2018.
The Sqn’s primary focus is to provide real support to Operations by augmenting Regular RAF teams at RAF Wyton. Our long standing role at RAF Marham is now diminishing as the RAF prepares for the retirement of the TORNADO aircraft and RAF Marham is re-organised in readiness for the new F-35 LIGHTENING II.
7010 Sqn is now an element of the Intelligence Reserve Wing (Int Res Wg) which stood up at RAF Waddington under the command of Wg Cdr Mark Bailey – a Regular RAF Officer. Int Res Wg brings together 7010, 7006 and 7630 Sqns, plus our administrative function (formerly HQIR) into one unified structure. This in turn will provide greater efficiencies in how we manage ourselves, deliver our training and support and create more career development opportunities for all Reserves as we encourage them to work more flexibly across all three Sqns within the Wg.
Both 7010 and 7006 Sqns have begun attending the same working weekend with effect from Sept 17 in order to bring about the benefits of joint and cross-discipline working. In addition, the Sqn has been re-titled to 7010 Intelligence Squadron which better reflects the broader scope of work it will become involved with in the future.
New 7010 Sqn members are now required to complete the Operational Air Intelligence Course (Reserves) (OPAIC (R)) before progressing on to complete Imagery training. This approach aligns the Sqn with their Regular counterparts training model and gives our Analysts a broader skillset, which increases their potential overall utility. It also provides them with a deeper understanding of their part-time profession. Ten current members of the Sqn have already volunteered to return to training in order to gain the OPAIC (R) qualification during the course of 2017-18.
The RAF Reserves Inspectorate is actively engaged in identifying a suitable replacement for our current Honorary Air Commodore, Delva Patman, when her long association with the Sqn comes to an end later this month.
Events & Highlights
The Sqn hosted a US Air National Guard NCO from Hawaii for a two week period in Aug 17. Sgt Pope enjoyed the reciprocal visit during Sept as a participant in the long running UK/US Reservist Exchange programme, aimed at building relationships and sharing good practice between units.
FS Wright organised the annual sailing weekend from Portsmouth in Jul 17.
Most significantly, SAC Robinson and Cpl Wakeling volunteered to work additional weekends in Sep at short notice to support Op RUMAN, the UK’s response to Hurricane IRMA. The analytical work completed helped UK Forces prioritise where aid and disaster relief effort was needed most. Cpl Wakeling worked two additional weekends last month, in addition to the scheduled Sqn working weekend – a highly commendable performance and an excellent example of the commitment Sqn members have to the Service.