Elwood 5566

RSM Jennings-Bramley

Posted in 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Munster ?-74, Obituary by 노강호 on April 16, 2012

Occasionally, but especially when an Old Comrade has died, I search the internet for a face. Often, I remember names but might not be quite sure of faces and hence I try to find an image to attach to a memory. Eddy Scott was a recent case in mind and I’m not sure if the face I have in memory is that of Eddy or not. I find it amazing that despite all the available social networks, little or nothing exists of so many regimental members.

I was quite shocked to learn Guy Jennings-Bramley had died. How could anyone who knew ‘JB’ forget him. As is often the case, the relationship you have with individuals back in the time you served differs from the one you end up with. I often thought JB was a ‘tosser’ simply because he was the RSM and like all RSMs, he was an irritation. RSM’s, Drill Sergeants, PTI’s etc, were not supposed to be loved and if they were they probably weren’t doing a good job. But time mellows and years down the line, your memories are quite different. I suppose people have the same view towards old school teachers who harshness mellows as nostalgia and sentiment pervade.

RSM Brittain, Britain’s most famous RSM. Unfortunately, I can’t find a photo of JB.

‘JB’ was an incredibly smart soldier, one of those individuals who wore a uniform well. Along with his good looks and slicked back hair, he always seemed to look more of an officer than a SNCO and cut a quite different figure from the stereotypical, ‘old school’ type of RSM immortalised by the likes of RSM Brittain. However, I affectionately remember what a ‘pain’ he was as an RSM.

I remember JB most around the 1980’s when we were stationed in Imphal Barracks, Osnabruck. In the daytime, whenever you had to walk past RHQ, you took your life in your hands. I frequently remember ‘JB’ bellowing out of his office window at a passing soldier who wasn’t smart enough or was walking in a sloppy manner. Apparently, he gave his own wife a ticket for parking outside RHQ, a rule he strictly policed. Whether this was regimental rumour or fact, is irrelevant because it is totally inline with ‘JB’s’ reign as RSM.

JB, FTW

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Eddie Kettering – Pen Portrait

Service – 1950’s-1973?

Instrument – bass

Final Rank – Sergeant or Staff Sergeant?

Family – Unknown

Current Location – deceased (FTW)

A ‘Pen Portrait’ is hardly the right title. I don’t remember Eddie very well because he left the band shortly after I joined in 1973. At the time we were stationed in York Barracks, Munster. Eddie was a bass player, possibly a sergeant or staff sergeant at the time, and along with various other older members of the band, was one of those individuals whose service stretched into the past and to places that always sounded exotic, Benghazi was one I remember.

John McAvoy, Eddie Ketteringham, Laurie Payne (Bones)

Although I find it difficult to picture him, when I think back to days when I first joined the band, I can almost hear his voice. Eddie must have left the band before we departed for Cyprus in the Autumn of 1973, which means I must only have known him for a month or so. On this point, a number of older band members seem to have left shortly before our posting to Cyprus and UN service.

Eddie, is second from right

Eddie died in 2011 or perhaps 2010. (FTW)

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More Westphalian Winters

Posted in 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Band, BAOR, Osnabruck 76-84? by 노강호 on February 6, 2012

I recently found these photos lurking in the bottom of an old BFPO box. They were taken in Osnabrück, Imphal Barracks, either in 1979, in the winter before Dave Smith and I went to Kneller Hall, or in 1981/82, after we returned. I’m making this guess as Andy Coombes is in a  similar winter photo (Westphalian Winters) and had left the band by the time we returned from KH.

Charlie Harris posing in the snow

Mick Pickering and Phil Watson

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Ken Kane – Pen Portrait

Denis Jones (left) and Ken Kane

Service – 1973-1982???? Went to KH around 1979 or possibly 1980. Became Bandmaster of 17/21st Lancers around 1982.

Instrument – trumpet, trombone, bass guitar

Final Rank – Warrant Officer First Class.

Family – Unknown

Current Location – apparently, Ken was a music teacher for 20 years at the Royal Military School in Dover. He retired in 2009.

As a naive 17 year old, I quite feared Ken Kane. Up until moving to Catterick in the 1970’s, I had little to do with him but in Cambrai Barracks he was a ‘living-in’ NCO and responsible for the singlies accommodation and his rule was firm. I suppose Ken, who was around ten years my senior, was a little old school and he didn’t suffer fools lightly. He was the type to look under your bed or run his finger over a ledge you hadn’t considered cleaning and his reproach quite stung.

Brian Blake, Ken Kane, Paul Kinley, George Thompson (L-R)

As strict as he was I had immense respect for him which lasted throughout my service. He was an brilliant sportsmen talented at numerous games and a BFT never phased him. Musically, he was very gifted, playing the trumpet, trombone, bass guitar and I have a suspicion he played more.

He became Trumpet Major at some stage, and was certainly so in the early days of Osnabrück when all bandsmen were required to blow that ghastly instrument. Even as a trumpet player, at which I was crap, any skill or potential ability on the cavalry trumpet eluded me. Ken was equally as strict as a TM and I can remember he would run us through a series of exercises and then listen to our calls, individually. In the four years I was required to practice the cavalry trumpet, I was only ever a supernumerary.

Sometime after our arrival in Osnabrück (c 1977), Mick Henderson released woodwind players from trumpeting but by then he had negotiated a restriction in duties and the only calls regularly made were Guard Mount, Last Post and the occasional calls required by RHQ. At Kneller Hall, I remember trumpet calls dominated everything from Last-Post to ‘smoke break.’

John McAvoy, ‘Bones,’ AJ Scott, Dave Seeley, Ken Kane (L-R) Cyprus c 1974

In 1979, Ken, Dave Smith and I were at KH, Ken as a Student Bandmaster and Dave and I as pupils. I can’t remember too much about him as he was sectioned with another company and after my leaving KH. in January 1981, only saw him on a few occasions. Every now and then I’ll do a Google search but like AJ, he seems to have disappeared and I’ve not spoken to anyone who has heard from him. Perhaps Bones has some knowledge as their wives were close friends.

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Further references:

Trombonist Peter Kane…

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Alan J. Scott (Pen Portrait)

Posted in 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Band, Cyprus UN 73-74, Pen Portraits by 노강호 on May 17, 2011

‘AJ’ Scott probably deserves a punch on the nose but I have fond memories of him. He was the mastermind of numerous pranks played on younger, and more gullible band members and I was particularly susceptible. Even though his humour was quite cruel, I idolized him.

‘AJ’ Scott when he wasn’t terrorizing anyone (1974 Cyprus)

He was close friends with Dave Seeley, Bones, Ken Kane and Steve Eccles all of whom were probably around 8-10 years my senior and either lance corporals or corporals. I remember being invited to AJ’s house in Munster, accompanied by his ‘gang’ where they plied me me with alcohol and then told me some German women were shortly about to visit and that they didn’t like men in Y-fronts. They suggested I go into the bathroom and put them on back to front. Naturally, I did as they suggested. Later, they played some marching music and had me practice around the living room. I believe Taff Shipp may have been with us, he joined the band on the same day I did, 17th of September 1973, I believe, but after a couple of years at Junior Leaders, all gullibility had been removed.

They were up to something (Steve Eccles, AJ Scott and John Macavoy. Cyprus 1874)

I can’t even remember when ‘AJ’ left the band but I certainly missed him. I think I inherited some of his sense of humour. He was one of those ex-comrades who simply seemed to vanish off the face of the Earth. There were rumours he moved to the USA and I vaguely recall it may have been Seattle as I seemed to remember trawling phone directories for his name when I once visited there.

if only they’d known…

During Christmas 1974/75, Alan MacDonald, Robert Fox and Paul Kinley arrived in Cyprus and I was told ‘AJ’ had them ‘sign’ for cracks in the floor, creaking doors, and any cracks or chinks in windows.

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The Ice Cream Store – Calgary

Posted in 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Band, Canada, Uncategorized by 노강호 on December 9, 2010

Sometime in the mid 1980’s we went to Calgary and stayed at a barracks in Calgary itself, as opposed Medicine Hat. We may have stayed in both locations, I’m not sure but we certainly stayed in a large barracks from which it was easy to get to town. A 15 minute or so walk from the barracks and there was an ice cream shop which sold the most amazing homemade ice-cream.

Calagary (198?) Eddy, Chris Wilkie, Lofty Elwood, Pete Middleton, Taff Coleman

This photo was passed to Facebook via ‘Smithy’ though I’m not sure if he took it. Those shorts certainly look severe and in the photo, far left, is Eddy. I’m sure Eddy wouldn’t mind me saying, but he was a man of contrasts; not the best looking of guys, in my  opinion but seemingly gifted with a golden tongue that could enamor him to the most beautiful of women – often in droves. And could he waffle!!!

Eddy could never control his spending and had blown all his money within a few days of arriving in Canada. Mick gave me a loan on his behalf and I had to accompany him to meals and pay from his ‘allowance’ and each day I had to give him pocket money. This forced Eddy into the role of a sort of prostitute and for the duration of the tour he would clean your boots, iron your tights and do almost any other job  to earn your loose change. Poor Eddy! We quite took advantage of his poverty and I can vaguely recall we made him do some shit jobs, not out of necessity but for entertainment. I can’t exactly recall , but I have a feeling Phil Watson was behind one or two. I remember Eddy would go to the PX, which was probably a 20 minute excursion in the heat of a prairie summer, to buy us coke or snacks and we would let him keep the change . So, one of our nasty entertainments was to compile a shopping list which left the most meager amount of change, and I mean like 10 cents, and see if he would go and get it – and poor Eddy would. And if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I remember Phil making him clean his boots as he lay on the bed wearing them.

This then reminds me of the night club I went into, when he was broke, and where he had meet a woman and temporarily moved in with her. She was an older woman and completely in love with ugly, no money Eddy. I recall we went back to her apartment where Eddy had made friends with her rather nasty cat – but that’s another story.

Can you add any more information or clarify anything which I can assimilate?

What was Eddy’s name?

Any details on him?

Lofty

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