Inaugural Meeting of the Conductors Association
Conductors Go To Kineton
On Saturday 24th September 2005, a unique band of brothers and one sister joined forces and met up at Defence Munitions Kineton for a day to remember. So who then were these people? Well, they were all serving or retired Conductors. At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking music and munitions surely they do not go together and you would be right. The Conductors referred to here are holders of a very prestigious appointment, the appointment of Conductor. Conductors have a very long and proud heritage which and can be traced back to 1327, when Edward III enacted that the wages of Conductors (Conveyors) would no longer be born by the Shire, but by the state.
So what then did Conductors do that was so important? Initially they were employed as civilian contractors, responsible for amassing all that would be required to fight and win a battle. In the early years, this would have been mostly horses, weapons and wagons, bulging with the tools of war. Having assembled the necessary equipment and stores their next task was to make sure everything arrived safely at the right place and at the right time, not too dissimilar from today’s logisticians serving in the Royal Logistic Corps. The role of Conductors developed into an important element of the army, so to did their status. Conductors wore an Officers style uniform but with no badge of ranks and came to fill the gap between the British Officer and the Colour Sergeant, the highest rank available to soldiers at the time. The importance of the role played by Conductors over the years was recognised, by Royal Warrant of 11 January 1879 when a class of Warrant Officer namely Conductor and Sub Conductor was to be constituted for the first time. Their position then, as is today, shall be inferior to that of all commissioned Officers but superior to that of all non-commissioned Officers.
So why go to Kineton? Apart from the obvious link to ammunition, Kineton is almost in the centre of the country making it easier for people to attend the Inaugural Conductors Association meeting and a chance to catch up with old comrades once again. Once again, Conductors found them selves at the right place, at the right time, but this time no horses, no carts or anything else, just smiles all round.
Ammunition Technician (AT) Conductor Mark Slusarenko, currently serving at Kineton kindly hosted the day and organised a variety of events prior to the meeting. It all started with a trip down memory lane on board one of the depots trains. This was to be a short train ride around the ammunition depot with Conductor Bob Graham providing the running commentary.
the way is Mrs Stephanie Patterson and Dad Oz, followed by
retired Conductors Dennis Bradley and Mike Coyle.
The next stop was a real once in a lifetime opportunity to see just how today’s ATs tackle the terrorist bomb. For some like retired Conductors Jim Searle, Geoffrey Barrow, Mike Barwell and David Greenaway this was a real treat, for they to were Ammunition Technicians, who in their time also dealt with terrorist bombs. The oldest person to join in the fun was 85 years young, retired Sub Conductor Gladys Isaac. When asked to have a go at operating the army’s infamous bomb blaster, communally known as the ‘Wheelbarrow’, Gladys did not shy away, but quickly took to the controls and she was off.
The picture shows Gladys under the watchful eye of Senior Conductor Dave Patterson.
Safely back at the Sergeants Mess, it was time for the Inaugural Conductors Association meeting. First item on the agenda was to elect key personalities, here are the results, Chairman, senior Conductor Dave Patterson, Secretary Conductor Bob Graham, and three committee members retired Conductors Charlie Jones and Jim Searle and serving Conductor Mark Slusarenko. After a very successful meeting with much debate and decisions made it was off to the bar for some refreshment. The next meeting will be held at Deepcut, home of logistics, in the summer of 2006.
If you were a Conductor or Sub Conductor in the Royal Army Service Corps, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps or the Royal Logistic Corps and would like to know more about what is going in the Conductor fraternity, then visit www.rlc-conductor.info or write to:
Conductor Dave Patterson,
Headquarters, Directorate Royal Logistic Corps,
The Prince Royal Barracks,
Surrey GU16 6RW.