217 (London) Field Squadron, R.E. (V)

Parkhurst Road, Holloway, 1969 - 1984


About this site, ex-members and contributors

This website would not have been possible without the time and assistance of the ex-members of 217 shown below who have generously provided their time, memories, photos and general information about the squadron.

In mid-2012, when this site was conceived, a search of the web found nothing about 217 before its conversion to an EOD role except some references to Friends Reunited pages. Access to those pages requires registration and logging in, something I know is disliked by many even when free.

So a fairly blank webpage was posted based on sites created for two other London TA sapper units (222 Fd Sqn and 873 Mvt Light Sqn) with a plea for anyone with information about 217 or its ex-members to make contact. The first contact was sadly news of the death of an ex-member, the next from an ex-member living in South Africa who had just come across an old camp photograph, and the third more sad news about an ex-members illness. Seemingly unrelated, these three items together were the catalyst that got things going and the site is beginning to take form. But it is still very much work-in-progress.

One of the main problems with any site like this is the events were a long time ago and sometimes its difficult to remember details. So if you do recall something, however small, or can add to or correct any information, or have any photos to share, please do contact me, Peter Cox (webmaster) and help make this a place all ex-217 sappers (pre EOD) can enjoy dipping into without the rigmarole of logging in.
No pop-ups, no adverts.
No registration, no log-in.
No personal details taken.

Some ex members of 217 who joined pre change of role to EOD

surname first name en-

notes, position,
other units, where now
Allen, ER Ted 1960s 1969   S/Sgt? Plant Troop 2
Attle Alfie 1960 1969 1984   died, cancer Mar 20145 1
Bailey Lindsey   1978 1981     1
Betts, RD Dennis 1952 1969 1976 S/sgt? Harlow 1
Boxell, AL Tony         died of cancer, 2013  
Brunsden Derek   1979 1981     1
Bustin John   1980 1989 Cpl   2
Butterworth John   1976 1978   Northants 1
Byrne Mick 1960s       Plant Troop 2
Cargill Martin 1969 1969       2
Chytry Vic   1983 1994 Cpl 1 Trp, 2Trp & Trg Wing 3
Clarke Nobby   1969        
Couval Richie            
Cox, C Charlie            
Cox, PE Peter 1960 1969 1983 Cpl Fld Trp then Plant Trp
Cambridge '73
Norfolk '90
Dickens Keith 1980 1993   A/Ssgt see home page/news  
Dinsdale James       Spr   4
Fennessey Jim   1969   Cpl?    
Flint Stephen   1977 1981     1
Garnish Charlie            
Gaze Dave       WO1 (RQMS in 1991)  
Ghosh Dave   1979 1990     1
Hall, CJ Chris   1969   Maj Maj 1977  
Hayman Peter   1970 1992   Clacton  
Henderson Ron 1956 1969 1974 S/Sgt Died 2012 2
Hinton Chris   1977 1999     1
Holden Dave   1969   Spr Fld Trp then Plant Trp
Died 1980-ish
Holland, JP John (Dutchy)   1969 1993 WO2 SSM
Now lives in Norfolk.
Holloway, PRB Peter   1979 1992 Cpl   4
Holt John   1969?   S/Sgt? became C/Clerk  
Hope, HCG Godfrey   1969   Maj Became OC (75?)  
Horgan, JD John         SHQ Pay clerk 2
Hough, D David   1969   Capt?    
Jackson, R Bob         Fld Trp, then Plant Trp 2
John John       Spr SHQ then Plant Trp 2
Kane Michael   1969 1986 WO2?   1
Kaye Gabby   1969   Spr Plant Troop
Died c2011
Keane John   1978 1998 S/sgt 1 Trp & Trg Wing 3
Keeble Geoff            
Lockett Tony            
Marrable (?) Les   1969   Sgt? previously at Heston  
Martin Peter 1960 1969   Spr Plant Troop 2
McCaw Alister 1975  RNZE 1978 1980   Posted to 217 from RNZE. Back home became Col in NZDF 3
McSorley John   1983 1985 L/Cpl Yeomanry before 217 4
Moss Jason           2
Nabb Alan   1976 1979   Totton, Hants 1
Naim Michael
  1978 1997 S/Sgt   3
O'Loughlin John       Spr Plant Troop
O'Neill John           3
Orford, FG George 1949 1969   WO2 became SSM
awarded MBE.
Died May 2013
Orford Bill 1960? 1969   Cpl Plant Troop 2
Ostrowski Antoni 1984 1984 1988     3
Pavey Derek       Sgt REME  
Pickering Simon   1980 1988     1
Revell, VD     1969   Maj 217's first OC, 1969  
Robinson Bill 1964 1969? 1971     1
Selby-Boothroyd, RG Richard   1969   Capt Ordained as priest in CofE c2009  
Scott Derek 1958 1969 1994 Thorpe Bay 1
Shaw Bob   1969   S/Sgt previously at 220 Fld Sqn, Heston  
Skeggs Martin   1973 1981 Cpl Jo'burg since 88 3
Stoker Bill 1953 1969 1974     1
Tagg Jimmy            
Taylor Douglas   1979 1986? Cpl Milton Keynes 1
Thorpe Ken 1950 1969 1980 S/Sgt   3
Turner Charlie   1969   Cpl?    
Venka P   1969   2/Lt    
Wainwright Roy   1975 1980     1
Whillock John   1978 1984     1
Wilkinson Peter   1973 1978   Milton Keynes 1
Williams Ken       Spr Plant Troop 2
Williams, PE Peter late 50s 1969   Col became Col of 73 Regt  
Wilton, CC Chris 1969 1969 1999 Sgt Suffolk 3
Young David   1975 2001     1
"Plant Troop" was also known as Fld Support Trp and Plant Section of SHQ
note source
1 Friends Reunited (Requires registration & lots of cookies downloaded)
2 Peter Cox (Webmaster)
3 Self (can be contacted through webmaster)
4 Vic Chytry
5 John Holland
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service card cover
Cover of Funeral Service card

In Memoriam

WO2 George Orford, MBE

George in 1969George died at home in May 2013 aged 83. He had been suffering from cancer for time.

He joined 217 on its formation in 1969 (see photo left) and was SSM for several years, a post he held previously at 222 Field Sqn RE at Chelsea in the early/mid 60s. I believe he was conscripted into National Service in 1949, and afterwards posted as a reservist, later becoming a TA soldier, at 221 Fld Sqn RE at Peckham.

George was a prominent member of the Peckham Branch of the REA and was Branch Secretary for many years until 2011.

Funeral Details:
• Date : Monday 3rd June
• Leaving from home - Flat 1, 52 Barkworth Road, London SE16 3BZ
• 2.30pm at Honor Oak Crematorium, Brockley Gardens, London SE23 3RD
• afterwards at Norfolk House Club, 188 Queens Road, London SE15 2HP

Well over 100 mourners attended the Funeral, including at least 16 ex-members of 217 recognised by the webmaster.

I hope to publish a short obituary during later.

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service card cover
above, the service card
below, the Crematorium and some of the mourners after ther service
service card cover

For high resolution copies of service card or photo please contact webmaster.
More photos are available

In Memoriam

Cpl Tony Boxell

Details and Short obituary to follow

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Cpl Henderson with cup
Ron as a Cpl, with a cup
wearing Battledress which was phased out in late 1960s (pre 217 days.)

In Memoriam

S/Sgt Ronald George Henderson

Ron died on Monday 19th November 2012 after a long illness. Ron did National service in the RAF, and later joined the TA in about 1956 serving until 1974, being a Staff Sergeant with 217 Field Squadron at Holloway between 1969 and 1974.

He was cremated in full dress uniform on 3rd December 2012 at Rotherham Crematorium.

Ron's wife Betty can be contacted by phone on 01909 567797, or you can pass messages to her by e-mail via Ron's son Malcolm Henderson to whom I am grateful for contacting me with this sad news.

(Later note: Malcolm Henderson has kindly sent a number of Ron's many photos of 217 and earlier and these will be added to the site during Summer 2013)

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S/Sgt Henderson on a pontoon bridge exercise
Ron as a S/Sgt during a LAFB (pontoon bridge) exercise. The denim uniform was replaced during the mid-late 1960s suggesting pre-217 days.


Initial thanks to Malcolm Henderson, for news of his father, S/Sgt Ron Henderson, who died in November 2012; to Martin Skeggs for his camp photo and other bits; and Martin Cargill for lots of photos.

Others since have assisted and this section will be updated with credits later on.

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My contact details are at bottom right.
Design & layout: Peter Cox.
Photo & information sources as noted.
Copyright remains with the original source.
back to top of page page created Dec 2012 last edited/amended 30 June 2017 please e-mail me