Rayner Trophy 1984 Report

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Robben Island

The 1984 Rayner Trophy, based on the theme of the Falkland Island conflict between Britain and Argentina was held on Robben Island over the week-end of 25/26 February.

Venue speculation always runs high at the meeting point of every Rayner but this certainly increased when drivers were instructed to take their teams to East Pier in the docks.

Uniform and kit inspection was carried out on the quay prior to embarkation after which Patrol Leaders' Instructions and Field Kits were handed out. The Field Kits contained various items of equipment which would be needed for tests and was used as a means of further disguising what activities the teams were going to encounter.

Once aboard and underway, teams had to plot the ship's course and speed as well as calculating the speed of incoming Exocet missiles. Twenty minutes after rounding the breakwater the ship's siren blasted twice. This was the signal to open a set of sealed instructions which required teams to prepare for the seaborne invasion. Kits had to be lashed together onto a lilo and on a command they had to jump from the ship's side and head for the landing area pulling their kit with them through the water.

Ashore they soon encountered a pill-box with smoke billowing out of its gun ports from which they had to drag an unconscious victim of a shell burst. The actual battle for Goose Green produced many casualties as did the Rayner. With artificial blood oozing from artificial wounds, stretcher bearers carried their wounded team mate to the airstrip where they set up ground-to-air signals and wind-sock in anticipation of a casualty evacuation.

Using eight figure grid references to guide them to the various night bases scattered around the island, teams were required to manufacture compasses as well as track down four hidden enemy transmitters and record the morse signal being pulsed out. With toggle ropes made earlier, patrols had to scale telegraph poles, tap the wires and report on the Argentina communications heard. Raids were also mounted on one of the Island's huge 9.2"-gun batteries as commandos stealthily slipped past patrolling sentries on the turret roof to plant their charges in the gun's elevating gear.

On Sunday morning, at two sets of circular routed bases which included an observation tower, blockhouses and gun-sites, tests on estimation, the weather, snake and footprint identification, sketching and Kim's game were held.

A climb to the top of the lighthouse, en route to other bases, to view the optical system proved a rare experience for both teams and judges alike.

After hiking back to the harbour area life line throwing and a drowning rescue was carried out in the surf.

Descending via steel-runged ladders into an underground operations room patients had to be carried back to the surface by Fireman's Lift which from all accounts proved quite hair raising from the patients' point of view.

For me, one of the most realistic stunts was the sight of "Pilot Officer" Errol Kotze, in full flying kit, lying prostrate across the branch of a tree with a full parachute billowing around him awaiting rescue.

Purlernoen, caught that morning by the Island's school headmaster, provided a new experience for most boys when they were told to clean, prepare and cook this seafood delicacy.

The trip back to the mainland was a fitting end to the competition with plenty of time being available to reflect on what I hope was a memorable week-end for all those that participated.

Chief Judge: John Mütti