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Sandbag Reminiscences of Fred Mantey Sandbag
Flash Bang Aaaaargh...
It must have been on the Morfa ranges. We were carrying 303's. Nothing in them but an empty 5 round magazine. I was carrying three 2 inch mortar rounds in my big pack because I'd been last off the 3 tonner. We were doing infantry training despite the fact that I'd already been selected to go to 8 Signal Regiment to train as a radio tech. The explanation was of course "You're a soldier first and a Signaller second." We were doing what I later learned is called a Tactical Advance to Battle. Something I never, ever, ever did again.
We fired some mortar rounds then carried on to assault the butts I think. Suddenly a PMS started lobbing thunder flashes about and yelling "Take cover!" He was pointing to some drains or ditches that were navel deep in cold water. There's a lot to be said for our training because we jumped straight in and pointed our rifles at the butts or thereabouts.
He dropped a thunder flash into the water about 2 yards away. My legs and all my lower internal organs took a hit that I can only imagine was similar to be being smacked by a Sumo wrestler (I've never met one though.) I went down like the proverbial sack of manure. I was about to drown when the PMS dragged me out of the water, hefted me over his shoulder into a rough fireman's carry and bounced me up and down to get the water out. I vomited down his back in gratitude. I think that he was the Ypres troop corporal. He was the only member of staff who I remember ever apologising. I was black and blue from my nipples down to my toes for weeks. 3 of us were hit but I can't remember any of us being excused duty or anything. I guess the powers that be thought that as it happened on a Friday morning we'd be alright on the Monday. Of course all our webbing had to be immaculate on that Monday despite it all having been submerged in mud and crap.
I did archery as a hobby. I remember making a set of arrows but |I must have moved on to 8 Sigs by the time the club started making bows.
I notice that Lawson Kent and Bob Potts were in the 11th Hussars so they were probably at Munster sometime in the middle sixties when I was there in the Signals attached to either the Devon & Dorsets or the Hampshires.
The name of the island for the summer camp in the Menai Straits was Ynys Gaint (Gaint rhymes with pint) it was owned by Basil de Ferranti who I worked for some years later. He didn't remember me!
I remember the assault boats on the Dovey. We would take two of the boats and link them together stern to stern. We would then put both crews in the rear boat and paddle Zambezi style at a great rate of knots around the Dovey estuary trying to go fast enough to skid over the odd sandbank.
All of the sports etc. must have done me a bit of good. After leaving AAJLR I ran 400 metres, 800 metres, threw javelin and played hockey and rugby for various units I was in or attached to. I canoed on the Mohne See, (they've mended the dam) and I climbed in the Teutoberger Wald with a local German club. Mind, none of these things were at any serious level.
Certainly the Outward Bound training worked for me. After climbing in the Teuoberger Wald I continued to climb until about 2 or 3 years ago when arthritic hands and knees forced me to stop. I still enjoy hill-walking in the Yorkshire Dales. I walked Hadrian's wall for my 60th birthday (not 82 miles in one day of course. There's a great company that finds you accomodation in pubs overnight and transports your heavy swag to the next stopping place each day.) For my 65th birthday I did the Coast to Coast walk from St. Bee's in Cumberland to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire, I think it's about 170 miles but in about 2 weeks it's a nice little bimble. I did it in reverse though because starting at Robin Hood's Bay the route's not too lumpy at first, then when you get go the big bits in the Lake District you've walked your legs in.
Did anyone else "win" the shell in R Company?

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