In this edition of Ranger…
…we include articles to mark two significant events; the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands – Operation Corporate - and, more parochially, the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Sound Ranging Association, the forebear of the Defence Surveyors’ Association.
Both, in different ways, involved quite stunning triumphs against considerable odds. Operation Corporate was a momentous challenge and a signal success, from the hurried raising and despatch of the Task Force to the other side of the World, the amphibious landing, air/sea battles in the style of the Second World War and the incredible fighting ‘yomp’ across the island to overwhelming victory.
The other anniversary is based on the development and very successful deployment of, what for the time, was the very much cutting edge of technology – sound ranging. What marks this out as so exceptional is that the entire development, manufacture, testing and implementation was carried out in the front line on the Western Front by the users themselves and despite a distinct lack of support from the Royal Artillery senior staff. It is worthy of note that when the system was subsequently commercially produced, it had been ‘improved’ by those back in England and then failed to work properly until modified by the users in the trenches!
Whilst details of Operation Corporate will be familiar to most readers, and indeed the anniversary has been the subject of considerable media cover, the story of the development of sound ranging will not be as well known. It is such an outstanding success story, and has such significance to our Association, that the Editor makes no excuse for a degree of repetition in the articles on the subject in this issue. Included in this issue are pieces telling the story of sound ranging in the Great War, another detailing Sir Lawrence Bragg’s pivotal role in the project and also a first rate personal account by a Flash Spotter – the closely allied method of detecting enemy batteries – of his time at the Front. In the winter issue we will continue the story of sound ranging up to its use on operations today.
The issue, as ever, also includes a variety of articles looking at defence geospatial matters of today ranging from 14 Squadron’s deployment to Afghanistan in the footsteps of Captain Pemberton Leach VC RE to the story of the commissioning of HMS Enterprise. So yet again our usual eclectic mix of articles with something hopefully to suit everyone. Finally, my thanks to Mike Nolan for all his assistance with the sound ranging material.