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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment
Exercise 'OLIVE GROVE' Sardinia

 

'Charlie Company' to Sardinia

On the 14th January 1965 C Company 1st Bn DERR set sail from Grand Harbour, Malta in three Royal Navy Minesweepers bound for Sardinia to join Battalion H.Q., HQ Company, together with B Company 1st Bn ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT for two weeks training. The reason for this deployment was the limited facilities available in Malta and North Africa.. For the Sea journey the Company were divided on board HMS WALKERTON, HMS STUBBINGTON and HMS SHAVINGTON .

The navy delivered the Company to San Antioco, an hours drive from the Battalions base camp at Cape Teulada.

All aspects of training live firing and otherwise were practice including an Inter platoon field firing competition where C Company swept the board by capturing the first three places. 2/Lt DALY and his 10 platoon were first, 9plt second, and 11 plt third. As they were competing against the Royal Sussex it was agreed to be a satisfying achievement for the company. The Battalion trained hard in Sardinia enduring dreadful weather conditions.

They returned to Malta on L.S.T. Charles Macleod and L.S.T. Empire Gull.

On their return to Malta they began preparations for the move to Minden, West Germany and the new challenge of Mechanized Infantry Warfare (No Walking !!!)

The following images should bring back a few memories, comfortable and otherwise for those who went to Sardinia for the 'Holiday'

 

MEMORIES OF 'OLIVE GROVE'

Wagstaff and Withers

'Farmersboys' talking to 'Farmersboys'

Cpl W WAGSTAFF, of Swindon and Pte P WITHERS of Wootton Bassett have a chat to some Sardinian Shepherds, who in their down time particularly at night 'Re-role' as bandits 

Ptes WEBB and CUMMINGS

Pte W CUMMINGS , and Pte D WEBB both from Swindon find out the taste of Sardinian artichokes. The two local farmers were preparing them for market near Giba, in the south of the Island.

Hill and Pinnell

120mm MOBAT anti tank gun crewed by Cpl HILL from Swindon and Pte T (The Beast) PINNELL from Stratton St Margaret, live firing on the Teulada Range, Sardinia. Evidence that the 'Beast' had soldiered once.

C Coy advance

The Company advance

CHAMBERS and SMITH

L/Cpl K CHAMBERS (Left) and Pte B SMITH both from Swindon emerge from the smoke of a Phosphorus grenade, during a platoon attack.

The Mortar Section in Action

The Mortar section in action live firing on the ranges in Sardinia. Their first steps in going deaf. They all now attend reunions with hands cupped to their ears saying 'Speak up I can't hear you'

C Coy 1 DERR Patrol Sardinia

Members of 'C' Company 1st Bn DERR pose before going on patrol. Can anybody name these wilting flowers

Cpl MILLARD

Drummer Dave REASON from Bishopstone and Cpl Eric MILLARD having a quick brew during section training in Sardinia .

Cpl MILLARD (Talking from the corner of his mouth) " Look well Ard laddie, I could get R.S.M. after this exposure"

Cpl PRICE

Drummer Baker

Cpl PRICE Drummer BAKER

10 Plt C Coy 1 DERR return to Malta

Winners of the Inter Platoon Field Firing Competition in Sardinia, 10 Platoon with 2/Lt T.M. A DALY, Sgt THORNTON, and O.C. 'C' Company (On board LST 'Empire Gull' returning to Malta)

 

COMMANDING OFFICERS DE-BRIEF

Lt Col BOSHELL DSO

Lt Col F.H.B. BOSHELL, commanding officer of the 1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment, described by the soldiers as a 'Good bloke' and others as 'Colonel Frankie' said of the Sardinian venture.......

"In Malta, because its so small and built up, there are very few training areas where you can deploy more than one Company, so training has to be stereotyped. The desert where most battalion training is done, is also much of a muchness, so we are delighted to be able to come to Sardinia.

I wouldn't say the weather has mucked things up, but up till Wednesday conditions were pretty unpleasant. Except for that, its been jolly good. We can't fire heavy weapons in Malta, and if the soldiers go out on an exercise they like to pop off at something and they can do that here"

Of the Battalion he says "The supreme advantage of the Regular Army is that you can build up a much more cohesive force. In Cyprus, pretty well ideal training under active conditions proved that the Battalion are in a really good state, and all sorts of people were impressed with the results.

Morale generally is jolly high. Quite honestly I would not expect to have a better Battalion than I have at the moment."

 

Acknowledgments
The Web team would like to thank Ron SIMPSON for his assistance in putting this page together. Further information about this time in the Battalions history are covered in the Regimental history 'Cold War Warriors' on sale at the Regimental Museum.
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 16 August 2002.