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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

 

EXERCISE BEECHNUT - LA COURTINE, FRANCE
Between the 23rd July and the 6th August 1972 the 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment were selected to train in the French Army Training Area of La Courtine in France. The area in situated about half way between Bordeaux and Lyon on the northern edge of Massif Centrale. The training area was at a height of 2,400 feet.

Postcard from 1972 Puy de Dome

Puy de Dome, Clermont Ferrand

The last time a British Battalion trained on this area was in 1949. The Battalion training was split into three phrases, FIELD FIRING, DRY TRAINING and ADVENTURE TRAINING. The field firing areas were sufficient to allow the rifle companies to work up from section firing to the full scale company attacks using support weapons. For Adventure training the companies were flown by helicopter to the local beauty spot Mont Dore.

The following photographs, many unidentified are placed here in conjunction with the Regiment Museum at Salisbury. These are just a few of many photographs discovered at the museum which are now being processed through the system. The remainder of the photographs will in the passage of time appear on the Regimental Museum Website. If any soldier who served at the time can identify any of the unidentified photographs below, please let us know and we will pass it on to the museum.

 

 

Memories of La Courtine

Sgt VENUS 1 DERR

Pte Lenny Grainger live firing Ex

Sgt John VENUS, 1 DERR laying down on the job. He later became the Regimental Sgt Major of the 1st Bn DERR Pte Lenny GRAINGER, 1 DERR taking an early bath during a live firing exercise.

Unidentified 1 DERR GPMG Gunner

1 DERR GPMG Gunner advances

An Unidentified 1 DERR General Purpose Machine gunner pauses during the advance. Who is he ? An unidentified 1 DERR General Purpose Machine gunner advances at the double during a live firing exercise. He appears to have adopted the French style with his beret. Who is he ??

Cpl Peter GREEN 1 DERR

Pte Brian McIntyre 1 DERR

Cpl Peter GREEN 1 DERR Checks his equipment prior to a live firing exercise Pte Brian McIntyre 1 DERR advances at the double during a live firing exercise.

Section Commanders prepare to move out

Section Commanders of a platoon believed in 'B' Coy 1 DERR prepare to move out on a live firing exercise.

Unidentified DERR Rifleman

Unidentified DERR Rifleman takes cover

An unidentified 1 DERR Rifleman during an exercise An Unidentified 1 DERR Rifleman takes cover during a live firing exercise

Believed Pte THOMAS 1 DERR

Cpl Ginger COLEMAN 1 DERR

Believed to be Pte THOMAS of B Coy 1 DERR after a live firing exercise Cpl 'Ginge' COLEMAN advances at 'The Ready' trying desperately to look 'Well Ard' for the camera

Cpl Steve WINDSOR

Unidentifed Ammo Storeman 1 DERR

Cpl Steve WINDSOR of the 1 DERR Mortar Platoon makes a presentation to his opposite number in the French Army. Steve was later killed in an I.R.A. ambush in Crossmaglen with Brian ALLEN on the 6th November 1974 A Unidentified 1 DERR Ammunition storeman

 

The Mortar & Anti Tank Platoons

Sgt Maj WRIGHT 1 DERR

Cpl ILES 1 DERR Mortar Plt

Sgt Maj WRIGHT adjusts the 81 mm Mortar sight (For the Camera) Cpl ILES 1 DERR Mortar Platoon doing the 'Strong silent type'

Pte GILL 1 DERR

Cpl NAVARO 1 DERR

Pte GILL 1 DERR Mortar Platoon 'Looking at the Mortar' Um. Gilly later retired as a Sgt Major Cpl 'Spanish' NAVARO of the 1 DERR Mortar Platoon

1 DERR Anti Tank Platoon

1 DERR Anti Tank Platoon manhandle a 120 mm Wombat Anti Tank Gun into a firing position during a live firing exercise. Pte GRIFFIN on the right.

Cpl PRIOR 1 DERR

Cpl 'Candle' PRIOR 1 DERR Anti Tank Platoon supervises the Platoon Sgt in getting the gun 'Sighted'

 

General Views

Mac and Dave Truffet

Cpls 'Mac' McIntyre and Dave Truffet at La Courtine railway station 'To prove we were there'

Signaler Dickie DYER on Mont Dore

Signaler 'Simon 'Dickie' Dyer man packing an A41 Radio for the unidentified officer who appears to be carrying nothing on Mont Dore

4 DERR Soldiers relax

From (left to right). Pte Dave NICHOLLS, Cpl 'Mac' McINTYRE, Unidentified, and L/Cpl 'Paddy' O' REILLY relax in a break in the training.

Lt BRIARD 1 DERR

Lt BRIARD 1 DERR, trying to look cool and casual

Maj VERNON POWELL

Major VERNON POWELL C Company 1 DERR (Check out the bins) together with one very happy unidentified Signaler

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The Web team would like to thank Lt Col (Rtd) David CHILTON , the Curator of the Regimental Museum at Salisbury for his assistance with this page. As stated above these are only a few of many photographs taken at that time. The remainder are at the museum waiting to be identified. If anybody out there has any photographs taken at the time we will include them if suitable.
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 23 May 2003.