This Volunteer Regiment provides the British Army with a reserve capability in the form of Port, Maritime and Railway expertise, which is available for deployment worldwide on expeditionary operations. It is part of the Royal Logistic Corps (Territorial Army). The 265 strong Regiment can deploy individuals, sub-units or a Regimental sized group depending on the scale of the operation, to support or supplement the Regular Army in any environment. It is capable of establishing a Sea Point of Disembarkation (SPOD) for a force insertion through ports or across beaches and would operate specialist equipment and vessels to achieve this. Railways can be operated and maintained in support of land or port operations. The Regiment's soldiers are a skilled group of specialists trained in the operation of many and varied items of sophisticated equipment including cranes, cargo handling vehicles, Fork Lifts, rafts, landing craft and railway locomotives. Their main trade categorisations are Port Operator, Seaman/Navigator, Marine Engineer and Railwayman. Providing vital support are Cooks, Clerks and other trades. Each soldier is trained in the many skills common to all British soldiers such as weapon handling, first aid, communications etc. The Regiment recruits nationwide and from all walks of life but especially from the civilian professions most closely related to its trades. A soldier can expect to commit himself to a total of 22 days training each year at Marchwood Military Port near Southampton and at other locations in the UK. In the past year training has taken place in Wales, Cornwall, Liverpool and Kent. The Regiment's most recent achievement was it's crucial involvement in the UK's largest TA exercise for many years called Exercise Strong Virginian in which it practiced it's many roles in a deployed environment.
UK Armed Forces Veterans Lapel Badge
The badge is an enamelled, engraved, and pinned, lapel badge featuring the words “HM Armed Forces – Veteran”, which encompass the Tri-Service, Anchor, Crossed Swords and Eagle motif. Its symbolism is intended to unite all veterans in recognising the commonality of their service, to encourage a sense of unity and community between surviving veterans and to ignite public recognition of current veterans and their continuing contribution to society.See http://www.veterans-uk.info/vets_badge/vets_badge.htm
South Atlantic Medal
Marchwood: An unknown hero
In 1943 the little-known port of Marchwood was born on the far side of Southampton Water in Hampshire. At the time, every little creek and inlet was being used to gather equipment and men, ready for loading onto the landing craft that would ferry them across the English Channel to the Normandy beaches the following year. With the coming of peace in 1945, Britain still had an army of occupation to support, and the need for a continuing military presence at Marchwood was assured. The port came into its own once more in 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. While the world watched as soldiers and marines boarded the QE2 and Canberra in Southampton, and pictures of the Task Force sailing from Portsmouth were flashed around the globe, the job of loading all the equipment the troops would need for the fight ahead was taking place largely unnoticed at Marchwood. It was so important to the war in the South Atlantic the government invested tens of millions of pounds upgrading the base after the conflict. Up to 100,000 tonnes of cargo passed through in a typical year: supplies bound for Germany; tanks being shipped to Canada for British Army training; heavy equipment arriving home during the pull-out from Hong Kong; other loads bound for the last remaining overseas bases in Cyprus or the Falklands. While armoured cars and tanks have arrived by road, special trains roll into the base laden with ammunition. Once inside, the job of handling what is in effect a huge ferry port and railyard, falls to the 600 soldiers of the Royal Logistic Corps based here and the 150 civilians who support them. Shrinking fleet Marchwood is home to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's five landing ships, perhaps most famously the Sir Tristram - nearly sunk by Argentine bombs in the Falklands - and the Sir Galahad. Each is a military version of the roll-on, roll-off ferry you might catch on your holidays.
RFA Sir Tristram (L3505)
RFA Sir Tristram (L3505) is a Landing Ship Logistics of the Round Table class. It was launched in 1966, and accepted into British Army service in 1967. As with others of its class, it was taken over by the Royal Navy in 1970. The ship saw service in the Falklands War, and was badly damaged at Fitzroy on June 8, alongside the RFA Sir Galahad, when the decks were strafed and two crew were killed. A large bomb also smashed through the deck, but luckily failed to explode immediately, allowing the surviving crew to be evacuated. Following the explosion, Sir Tristram was abandoned. After the war the hulk was refloated and towed to Stanley, where it was used as an accommodation ship until 1984. Sir Tristram was then returned to the United Kingdom on a heavy lift ship and extensively rebuilt. Following the rebuild, Tristram reentered active service in 1985, and saw service in the Gulf War, and the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. The ship supported relief operations for Hurricane Mitch off Central America. In 2000 the ship deployed to Sierra Leone in support of British operations there, followed by a cruise to the Baltic Sea in support of MCMVs. Early 2001 saw Sir Tristram return to Sierra Leone to take over from Sir Percivale as the ship supporting British forces ashore there. In 2003 the ship deployed as part of the largest British fleet for 20 years in support of the invasion of Iraq. The ship was decommissioned on 17 December 2005 but will continue to be used for training purposes.
RFA Sir Galahad L3005, 8th June
Sir Galahad (L3005) was the name of an LSL (landing ship logistic) belonging to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, part of the British fleet. She was a 3,270 ton LSL built by Stephens and launched in 1966. She could carry 340 troops comfortably or 534 in austere conditions. Beaching cargo capacity was 340 tons, and could include 16 tanks, 34 mixed vehicles, 120 tons of petroleum produce and 30 tons of ammunition. Landing craft could be carried in place of lifeboats, but unloading was mainly handled by three cranes. Galahad was active during the Falklands War. On May 24, 1982 in San Carlos Water she was attacked by A-4Bs of the Argentine Air Force (FAA) and was hit by one 1000 pound bomb (which did not detonate) and strafed in a following wave of attack aircraft. On June 8 in Bluff Cove, together with Sir Tristram, she was hit again by two or three bombs and was very badly damaged while unloading soldiers from the 1st Welsh Guards. 48 were killed in the explosions and subsequent fire. Later the hulk was towed out to sea and sunk by HMS Onyx (S21); it is now an official war grave, designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act. A significant proportion of the fatalities (32 out of the 48 dead) were from the Welsh Guards. 1982