A bit of interesting information
I recently learned the history behind the placing of our right hand over our hearts at funerals and remembrance services and such like and was surprised to learn that we are actually placing our hand over our medals and not our hearts.
Some of you may already be aware of the following, nevertheless I thought I would send it round on general distribution.
The Salute by Veterans at the Cenotaph or Wreath Laying Ceremony (Remembrance Service)
It will be noticed at any Remembrance Service or when passing a Cenotaph Veterans will place their Right Hand over their “Left Side” many believing that they are placing their ‘Hand over their Heart” in Respect or Remembrance of their Fallen Comrades”;- this is not so.
The Veterans Salute to their “Fallen Comrades” originated in London on Armistice Day in 1920, during the ceremony to unveil and dedicate the Cenotaph in Whitehall at the same time a funeral procession accompanying the remains of the “Unknown Soldier” halted at the Cenotaph during the ceremony before proceeding to Westminster Abbey for internment. Those present included the senior Soldier, sailor and many Victoria Cross winners. The ceremony concluded with a march past. The Regimental Sergeant Major of the Guard Regiment conducting the ceremony, faced with a gathering of highly decorated and high ranking military men (including many Victoria Cross winners), all wearing rows of medals, decreed that all would salute the Cenotaph as they marched past by placing their hand over their medals, signifying that “No matter what honours we may have been awarded they are nothing compared with the honour due to those who paid the supreme sacrifice”.
**PINGAT JASA MEDAL:
**At long last the British Government has agreed to allow the issue of the ‘Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal’ to British Forces. HM The Queen has given permission that this medal my be worn in public from Remembrance Day 2011.
**As you no doubt know (The Australian Forces have, and CAN, wear it !) this medal is issued on behalf of the Malaysian Government for service in Malaya and Singapore during the Emergency (1957-1966).
British Government response to petition for wearing of Pinjat Jasa Malaysia Medal 08.04.2008-Click Here
**As of April 2010 the British Army employs 113,970 regular soldiers (which includes 3,840 Gurkhas)and 33,130 Territorials. In addition there are 134,190 Regular Reserves of the British Army. The British Army is the second largest army in the European Union and the fourth largest in NATO .
Barrie Woodward has mentioned a book entitled "Last Round" by Mark Nicol which is an account of this incident.
**ALAN STEPHENSON has a large number of Corps Journals from the 1950's & 1960's for sale or would be prepared to exchange for old military photos/photo albums:- Contact Alan at:email@example.com
**For ex service personnel that fall on hard times there is help available by contacting SSAFA Forces at(UK) 0845 1300975, or contact ex RMP e-mail:Jls3445@aol.com
**There is a petition that you can sign requesting that MOD & all Chief Constables in UK be asked to supply a military escort for the bodies of service personnel killed on duty overseas and who are returned to the UK as heroes? Signatories must be British citizens or ex-pats living outside of the UK. Log on to:http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/escortforheroes/
**For those ex RMP who served with 5 Sect/2 Div.& 87 Sect.SIB and later with 7 Sect.5 Bgde/4 Div.in the large house at the edge of Aldershot Barracks, Iserlohn. It's now a sheltered home for battered wives!!!(Info from Alan Rooke).
**Besides 246 Pro.Coy at Helmstedt, BAOR (later absorbed by 2 Regt.247 RMP in Berlin), there was a 248 Pro.Coy. made up of German nationals attached to 247 as a German Security Unit (GSU). It was set up in 1949 at the start of the Cold War, to assist RMP at border check-points and border patrols. The GSU was commanded by a German Major and had a British WO1 from an Infrantry Regt as a liasion NCO. The GSU was equiped with British RMP vehicles and was armed. It's armoury was located at the Sports Stadium opposite the British War Cemetery off Heerstraße. The Unit was disbanded in 1994.
**The 'all-WRAC' squads started in Roussillon in late 1965. A downstairs 'Wing' was isolated with warning notices instructing the men to "KEEP OUT". The first morning after the women had moved in, a pair of WRAC issue knickers was seen flying from the main barracks flagpole where the Corps flag should have been. The then Commandant was not impressed! Despite the camp being full of police personnel, both trained and in training, the culprit was never apprehended.
**After WW2 ended in 1945, 21st Army Group became BAOR 1 Corps (BR) changed from a combat role to an administrative one. This lasted just two years and was dibanded. Because of the 'Cold war' in Europe it was decided to reactivate it in 1951. It became the principal combat force of BAOR headquartered in Bielefeld. 1 Corps (BR) was formed up of three armoured Divs. (6th;7th & 11th) and one infantry Div.(2nd). A re-org. in 1958 saw 1 Corps change to three mixed Arm/Inf.Divs. including five Brigade Groups. In 1965, these were brought into centralised divisions because of the phasing out of NS and the resulting reduction in manpower. 1 Corps was yet again reorganised in the late 1970's into four small battlegroup armoured divisions plus a brigade sized infantry 'field force'.
**In March 1938, approval was given for the formation of a supplementary reserve for the CMP. It was to consist of 500 men taken from the Automobile Association's 'Road Scouts' and 'other selected civilians'. Training began a month later at the then CMP Depot-Mychett Huts Camp at Ash Vale, (taken over by CMP in 1920), between Frimley and Farnborough.
**Also at Mychett the same year, the Field Security Police (Green Caps) Unit was set up. With WW2 looming, this unit was later absorbed into the Intelligence Corps.
The poor facilities at Mychett, the huts of which were relics of WW1, could not accommodate the increasing intakes and this led to the then commandant pleading with the War Office to decrease the intakes. He was not successful! The War Office would not budge until 'The Daily Sketch' devoted a whole page to what it described as "Mychett-the Camp of Forgotten Men-with dampness, frozen rain pouring down through leaking roofs on luckless NCO's huddled around stoves in an effort to keep dry"! Fearing a drop-off of volunteers, the War Office rapidly adjusted the intakes to the available accommodation. Mychet's days were numbered and in March 1947 slightly dryer accomodation was found for them at Inkerman!!
**Until 1954, The Berlin Garrison in the British Zone, officially known as "British Troops-Berlin"(later "Berlin Infantry Brigade"), and under the command of HQ BAOR in Bunde (before transferring to Rheindahlen in October that year), and 1 Corps HQ in Bielefeld, were completely surrounded by Russian forces. They had just one armoured squadron (from 7th AD) and three infantry batallions stationed in Berlin to protect it. These units formed a brigade which was known as the "Berlin Infantry Brigade". Ready to come to their aid at the East German border near Helmstedt were 1 Corps' three Armoured Divisions (6th, 7th and 11th) and 2nd Infantry Division; 2 TAC RAF at Oldenburg, plus BAOR reserves, and of course the US forces stationed to the south of Nordheim Nord in the Harz region!
**There are many excellent photos taken at the "Farewell to Chichester" parade in September 2005. They can be viewed on both the "RMP Chat" site and the "Watchdog Still Defender of the Realm" site. You'll need to join these clubs to view them though!
** The Corps motto 'Exemplo Ducemus' was created in 1958 by Maj. R. Payne RMP then DAPM (London Dist).
**RMP Structure changes after 1947:
From 1947 until the end of National Service, the RMP structure changed very little.
The Depot & Training Establishment (D & TE) as it was then known, had as its Commandant a Lt.Col. He was responsible for the efficient and effective day to day running of the Depot (Inkerman Barracks-Woking-Surrey).
The Commandant delegated his authority through a number of channels as follows:
Administration:2 i/c (Major); Adjutant (Capt) and the Depot RSM.
Quartermaster: QM-Capt/Lt. (1 of only two in RMP) who in turn was responsible for stores and ancilliary staff.
Two Training Companies: Each with a Major;CSM;10 Sgts/Cpl.Squad Instructors(SI's).
Holding Coy: Capt.
Depot Training Wing: Capt.
SIB Wing: Major;RSM/CSM Instructor.
MT Wing: CSM; Available Instructors all ranks-Licenced qualified personnell.
Until 1961 all District HQ's were commanded by a *Major with a Captain as 2 i/c.and a Lt/2Lt as MTO, with a RSM/CSM;a SSgt as CQMS. Each had a number of Sections commanded by a Sgt;2 Cpls;12 L/Cpls. and an ACC Cook. After 1961 Section Cpls. increased from 2 to 12 plus available L/Cpls. *Also acted as the District DAPM (E.g. Major Charlton was DAPM Eastern Command in 1953/4).
With the end of National Service (NS) in 1961 there was a slight restructure which saw more rapid promotion offered from Cpl. to Sgt., and a year later to SSgt.
By 1965 there were too many Sgts. and Sections were changed to Platoons commanded by a SSgt:2 Sgts and available Cpls/L/Cpls.
With the troubles in Northern Ireland calling for more policing, RMP Regiments 1 & 2 were formed. Each Regiment had a Lt.Col. position created as well as three Major and one RSM. The average consist of a Platoon thereafter until recent years was one SSgt;one Sgt;seven Cpl/L/Cpl's plus drivers from another Regiment (RAOC). Now it is common for a Platoon to be commanded by a Lt/2Lt with a SSgt.as 2 i/c.
**The RMP motto 'Exemplo Ducemus' was thought up by Maj. R. Payne, who originally was seconded to from the 15/19 Hussars. He was at the time DAPM London District.
**Questions have been raised that there existed a 'Red Cap Tree' on which the caps of the CMP killed in action during WW2 were hung. I never heard of it until very recently when someone enquired about a picture of which it was supposed to have been seen in Roussillon. Doug Mott has recently informed me that a 'rather amateurish painting' depicting a 'Red Cap Tree' did in fact hang in the Sergeant's Mess at Chi. Darren Harvey-Hill, who is still a serving RMP has recently visited the Corps Museum and managed to secure a copy of the 'Red Cap Tree' painting and scroll. The original now hangs in MOD Southwick Park where Darren is located. In brief, the painting refers to the area occupied by 78 Div.at San Clementi Ford, Bologna, Italy, in the winter of 1944/5. The wording on the scroll can be viewed on the 'Watchdog Defender of the Realm' web-site. Our thanks go to Darren for informing us about this 'myth'. Darren also briefly explains the current RMP training at Southwick Park, and say's the facilities there are great! 04.02.2008:There is a copy of this print in the RMP Trivia 2 album, page 1, if you care to view it!
**The CMP Red Caps during WW2 were , like the RMP which followed them, mainly used for the control of POW's, refugees, deserters, and the direction/control of the civilian police in occupied lands, and included the control of traffic. They also handled matters of a criminal nature. My late brother-in-law served as a 'Blue Cap' in North Africa during WW2, and he told me that HIS duties were purely point to point traffic control in a 'war zone' as well as driving top military commanders in the field. 'Blue Caps' were controlled by the PM as a "Vunerable Points Wing" , guarding Ammunition Supply Depots and other important stores and installations. Its members wore a blue diamond patch on their sleeves with the letters TC in red. Its members were mainly privates, not Lance Corporals!
**ARMY SERVICE RECORDS-Do you need to access your records? For service between 1921 & 1997 write to:Army Personnel Centre, Historical Disclosures, Mailpoint 400, Kentigern House, 65, Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX. For service AFTER 1997, write to:Army Personnel Centre, Disclosures 1, Mailpoint 520, same address above. You can log on to: www.mod.uk/contacts/army_records.htm to view links;Defence Issues;Publications & Reports etc.,
Note:Many records for WW1 to 1921 were destroyed by bombing in May 1940.