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The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry
6 October 1959 - 10 July 1968

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1959-1968

somerset and cornwall light infantry SCLI scli

SCLI in Gravesend

The UK and Norway Defence Relationship

Canada

Contributors

  • Duncan Drake
  • Fred Weston
  • Alan Wheeler
  • Dave Smith11
  • Nicholas Richardson
  • Ernie Lethbridge
  • Hugh Fox
  • Andrew Marshall
  • Andrew Kidner
  • General Sir Jack Deverell KCB OBE
  • Bill Carter
  • Mike Clark
  • Les Summers
  • Hugh Fox
  • Ernie Lethbridge

Were you in the SCLI ? Please send in your Stories and Pictures.

SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66:

Gravesend Index Page

This is now the index page for Gravesend. The galleries now have their own pages, however there is still interesting material here before you go to the galleries.

SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66: Nato Strategic Reserve

Gravesend

Milton Barracks - Gravesend
From The History of Milton Barracks & its occupants 1860 -1970 by John Milbank Jones


On the 14th October 1908, the 1st Bn. D.C.L.I. consisting of 767 Officers and men, were posted to Milton Barracks from Woolwich and marched from Gravesend station to their new quarters headed by a band of 65 musicians and a twenty strong Silver bugle section, much appreciated by hundreds of local people who lined the roads to see and cheer them. The Regiment band had been trained for six years by Bandmaster H. Morton Reilly, who had also trained and introduced a string orchestra of 45 men. Weather permitting, the D.C.L.I. band gave a public concert on the Parade ground every Wednesday afternoon up until they left the barracks in 1911.

After nearly three years at the barracks, the 1st Bn. D.C.L.I., at the time considered by local people to have been the most popular Regiment ever stationed in Gravesend, were transferred to Tidworth on the 4th September 1911. The D.C.L.I. were replaced on the 27th September 1911 by 841 Officers and men of the 2nd Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers.


After 54 years absence from Milton Barracks the 1st Bn. Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry arrived on 22nd November 1965 consisting 746 Officers and men and left on 17th July 1968.

At Gravesend the battalion was part of the ' ready ' brigade force and on permanent standby to be flown anywhere the goverment wanted within 72 hours. For that reason there were plenty of of overseas exercises and schemes with NATO partners, there were regular annual exercises in Canada and Norway (north and South).

While in Berlin many men volunteered to go to South Norway on a 3 month winter warfare training exercise as a platoon of SCLI who joined a wide assortment of British troops, this put them up to company strength along with Yanks, Italians and others from Nato. Winter clothing and weapons were all tried, all on trial to find suitable equipment for the British Army, so this played an important roll in finding the winter kit for the troops, which went into use in the 1960's.

The main threat to the West at that period was felt to be coming from the Soviets across the Barents Sea, hence the artic training especially for units of the Strategic Reserve.

The signals platoon had a lot of travel around the UK and Ulster (before the troubles) doing signal exercises and generally taking them away from barracks for extended periods. Lieut. Roger Wigram was the RSO (Signals Officer).

The Barracks at Gravesend were old and not very popular among the men, it was described as a real dosshouse and had been unused for months prior to the SCLI moving in. They were old-fashioned wooden huts as used during the War, cold damp and miserable with coke fires which were considered dangerous.

The first exercise undertaken was in Southern Norway - Voss and one in Northern Norway - Bardufoss, these were during Jan/Feb/Mar of 1966, one company at a time with a small base party staying here all the time. The battalion went to Aden in May 1966 and returned to Gravesend in November 1966, then a very welcome block leave until the beginning of Jan 1967. More training was undertaken that winter in Norway, again a company during Jan/Feb/Mar, at the same period some men went in company strength to Canada. One exercise was undertaken in battalion strength in June 1967 at Norway - Bardufoss. This was something new for most as it was light 24 hours a day!

Handover to new command, Lt.Col. I.G. Mathews hands over to Lt.Col. C. D.C. Frith (LI Som Office)
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Cpl. Nick .Richardson at Gravesend (Richardson)
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Farewell Guest night - Gravesend 1968 - L to R: 2Lt's David Ash - Geoffrey Hotblack - John Lewis - Dick Holt - Pat Lewis - John Coates - Alan Lynas-Gray - Michael Dru Drury - Hugh Fox (Pic by Hugh Fox.)
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One size fits all, so the Army says. Pete Farley on his way to the taylor to sort his KD's out prior to going to Aden.(E. Lethbridge)
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Les Summers in Barracks Gravesend, in training for Norway, how to keep warm". The Barracks were so cold it was good training for Norway. (E. Lethbridge)
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SCLI leave the Barracks for parade through the town, a thankyou to the people of Gravesend.(Andrew Marshall)
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SCLI leave the Barracks for parade through the town, a thankyou to the people of Gravesend.(Andrew Marshall)
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SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66: Nato Strategic Reserve

The UK and Norway Defence Relationship

The UK and Norway have a long-standing and successful defence relationship. The close ties established in World War II and as founder members of NATO have continued to develop and, recently, British and Norwegian forces have worked closely together in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. These links are based on the regular training conducted by UK forces in Norway each year.

Norway
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Location in Norway
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Working Hard (Fred Weston)
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Snowplough (Fred Weston)
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Fun in Norway(Fred Weston)
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Bardufoss(Alan Wheeler)
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Bardufoss(Alan Wheeler)
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C Company in Norway (Light Bob)
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Pictures by Andrew Kidner

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Pictures by Andrew Kidner

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Pictures by Andrew Kidner

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L to R - Bill Carter & Mike Clark - Norway 1968

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Morning Campers Norway 1967 - myself centre, right is Pte.Chapman, left is my old mate Mick Belsom ....where are you now you old toe-rag! (Ray Grimson)

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Norway 1966

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SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66: Nato Strategic Reserve

Canada Training

The Canada exercise was at a place called Wainwright, Alberta, the area being a huge, very flat winter warfare military training area. Average temperatures were minus 15C and sometimes plummeted to minus 40C. When it got that cold work stopped as the men were under canvas, there was a great difference between the European winter kit issued for Norway and the Canada kit. The Canadians went to great pains to teach the troops the art of survival and were big on teamwork, as none froze to death it was decided by all they had done a good job! Little time was spent on section attacks or military manoeuvres, survival being the top priority.

Side trips were organised to Calgary and Banff National Park and two guys liked the country so much they went AWOL, maybe they are still there

Canada (Pete Dallard)
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Canada
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Cpl Dudart,Aberdeen, leading patrol in Canada(Light Bob)
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The Nodwell Oversnow Vehicle, B Coy in Canada (Light Bob)
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'The Lads' in Canada 1966 .R toL. Pete Cornish, George Walker,Taffy Roberts, ?, ?, Fizz Fazakerly, ? ? ? (Ray Grimson).

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'The Rockies' 1966 - RtoL Pete Cornish, Myself (why on earth did I pose like that!), & George Walker - or 'The Three Musgetbeers' as we used to call ourselves! (Ray Grimson)

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SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66: Nato Strategic Reserve

Canada Training

The SCLI in Wainwright, Canada - Jan 1968 (Ernie Lethbridge)
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L to R - 2/Lt's : Fox - Deverell - DruDrury at Wainwright , Alberta, Canada (Hugh Fox).
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SCLI in Gravesend - 1965 & 66: Nato Strategic Reserve

 

 

 

 



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