By Dennis Bradley

By kind permission of the Director Royal Logistic Corps, Brigadier R Rook, OBE, ADC former Conductors of the RAOC were invited to the RLC 2003 Conductors Day Celebrations.

This event is usually held during the month of June but as the Corps was celebrating its 10th Anniversary on the 8th May the presentation ceremony was brought forward to coincide with the visit of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Colonel-in Chief of the RLC, who was visiting her Corps on that date.

The Parchment Ceremony was held in the Sgts Mess and 5 new RLC Conductors received their scrolls from The Princess Royal who also presented a Royal Warrant and awards to other members of the RLC and afterwards spoke, informally, to all those present (as this was the Conductors celebration the opportunity was taken to appraise HRH of the day her mother, HM The Queen, named the 'CONDUCTOR' railway engine at Bicester in 1978).

After the Mess function there was an opportunity to visit 25 Training Regiment and view the displays of all the trades available to the RLC and talk to some of the soldiers on each course.

After a quick tea the party was coached to Wellington Bks, London, for dinner in the Sgts Mess courtesy of the Scots Guards Then on to the Tower of London for a semi-private tour and a visit to the Warders Club followed by The Ceremony of the Keys. Back to the Warders Club for more refreshment and buffet before returning to Blackdown.

Of significant interest to ex RAOC personnel was an informal cocktail party the previous evening when 11 former RAOC Conductors were presented with a Parchment by the Director. The named parchments, signed by the Director, were beautifully mounted and framed and enhanced to include the RAOC badge alongside that of the RLC and to show the recipient as being a former RAOC Conductor.

This presentation came about after a number of ex RAOC Conductors attending the 2002 Conductors Day celebrations as guests asked if parchments could be made available to those who had left the Corps prior to 1988. Consequently, DRLC agreed this and Cdr Dave Patterson of HQ DRLC, set about this task. The result was the 2003 informal ceremony mentioned above. Cdr Patterson was also on hand to see his labours come to fruition.

A truly memorable two days and sincerely thanks are due to Cdr Dave Patterson, Corps Sgt Major Kenny Crawford and 25 Regt RSM Matt East for arranging such a wonderful programme and for ensuring that all went smoothly throughout.

Parchment History

1987 was the year that Conductor Mike Hobbins, MBE, received his appointment whilst serving at HQ DGOS, Ord 1, and it was he who questioned why something more special was not made of this most prestigious date in a soldiers' career. At his, and an equally enthusiastic SO2 Manning's instigation a parchment was designed, approved and taken into use in 1988. Between 1988 and 2000 Conductors parchments were sent to the recipient's highest ranking officer for presentation in whichever way they thought fit. Apparently some were lavish occasions whilst others were merely handed over in their envelopes!

Discovering these iniquities prompted Cdr Hobbins and the then RLC Sgt Major Steve Yafai into introducing the formal group presentation which was first held as the Conductors Day and Parchment Ceremony in 2001. This coincided with the introduction of the new Millennium Parchment improving on the original RAOC then amended RLC document. Cdr Hobbins was the first recipient of the new parchment and, incidentally, the last serving RAOC appointed Conductor to leave the RLC.

Former Conductors receiving a parchment were, in order of appointment:-

John Gray (1941)
Steve Roach (1963)
Bernard Smith (1963)
Harold Washington (1963)
Dennis Bradley (1968)
Terry Fitzgerald (1970)
Roy Munce (1974)
Neil Palling (1974)
Geoffrey Barrow (1976)
Michael Barwell (1976)
Bob White (1976)
Geoffrey Barnes (1968) (at a later presentation)

Philip Skawski (1993)

(More information and photographs can be viewed on the CONDUCTORS WEB PAGE at which also includes interesting articles and essays) Click Here

DB Sept 03

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