Airborne Engineers Association

Gordon "Jock" Small

 

 

Gordon "Jock" Small

Gordon

Jock was a Squadron man, through and through. I had several conversations with Jock before he died. He told me about our time together, when I was his Troop Commander in Support Troop of 9th Independent Parachute Squadron RE during the 1960s.

I was very privileged to be asked to command this troop because not only were they essential to support this fine unit but they were fiercely loyal to "The Squadron" as every one called it. There was only one Squadron and that was 9!

This troop had four sections.

  • The Transport; or "MT" as it was always called in the Army. That section was led by the legendary Sergeant Jim Middlemass. LCpI Jock Gray, who ran the scheduling and accounts, ably supported Jim. Jock Small was a stalwart driver who always seemed to be in the middle of any action, which was taking place.
  • The Plant. Under Staff Sergeant Rick Mogg; another legend (sadly he died shortly after Jock Small). This was a vital part of the Squadron because there were dozers, graders and other plant, which could be air-dropped. The whole troop was involved in preparing and recovering the plant on many major exercises.
  • A REME workshop to support the plant and vehicles.
  • A Workshop with carpenters and painters, who always seemed to be busy, whether in the Garrison or on overseas exercises.

During my time as Troop Commander, We were deployed to Scotland, Salisbury Plain (both more than once), Kenya for four months and Libya for three months. Jock went on all these assignments and always did well.
Jock told about his time working as a driver for Major General John Cowtan, when he was Commandant at Royal Military College of Science Shrivenham. General Cowtan wanted a red-bereted RE driver as he had commanded 9 Squadron in Palestine. Gen Cowtan had a crusty exterior but I know that Jock would not have been fazed by anything. He became more than a driver; he was an essential right hand man for the General.
He shall be missed.

Lt Col HGR (Gerry) Taggart RE (Retired) VR - OC 9th Independent Parachute Squadron RE 1975-78

 

 

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