REME Keeping the British Army on the road during the Cold War (309)

Cold War Conversations

Aged 16 Chris joined the British Army apprentice school in Arborfield, at Princess Marina College. He was trained as a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers otherwise known as REME.

We talk about life expectancy in war scenarios, experiences with crash-out exercises, and life as a British soldier in West Germany

Chris also served Post-Wall Berlin with the Military Police and describes an interesting “secret” job he was involved in.

The episode was recorded at one of the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker Living History Weekends where Chris is one of the re-enactors. His advice has proved valuable to the other re-enactors as he is someone who was there… 

It’s a great down-to-earth account of a sometimes forgotten part of the British Army, without whose support they wouldn’t have been able to operate. 

0:00 Introduction and Chris’s early life and decision to join the British army

3:05 Life expectancy in war scenarios and crash out exercises

4:40 Casualties on exercises and in training

9:25 Encounters with Soviet military liaison units and inspections by the Warsaw Pact

13:59 Living with the constant threat of conflict and its mental toll

15:53 De-escalation of tensions and the opening of the Berlin Wall

19:45 Life in Berlin post-Wall

20:31 Best aspects of serving in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR)

23:57 Differences between the RAF and the Army

26:03 Closing remarks

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