As rioters and terrorists come up with new weapons, soldiers and civilians in "Britain's fastest industry" retaliate with lightning counter-measures.


At Donnington, Colonel Reg Tibbie, six feet four inches and some 16 stones of dynamism, believes in strict deadlines and simple solutions. And he puts paperwork very much in perspective. "The soldiers in Ulster are doing a bloody good job and anything to make it easieróthat's what we're here for. And one can respond very rapidly, which is what industry can't always do," he says.
Along with the ingenuity of the ideas this quicksilver response is one of the most remarkable things about REME's effort.
A lot of our ideas are based on ancient concepts. The Romans knew what they were doing."óMajor Reg Pearce, REME Northern Ireland. Grappling hooks, catapults for CS smokeóboth have been used. And soldiers skeltering under packed shields are reminiscent of early times.

One Friday morning Donnington was approached with an idea for a smoke discharger for armoured vehicles. At lunchtime the experts conferred around an armoured "pig." By 2am a decision was reached. Craftsmen worked through the weekend and the first ten arrived in Northern Ireland on the Monday.
When Northern Ireland appealed for protection for staff cars, Colonel Tibbie "pinched" his GOC's vehicle to experiment with. "He gave it just like that." and quality testing is all part of the work.
When the first plastic shield was made, Captain Harry Bray became, perhaps, the only officer to throw a brick at his colonel and get away with it. Behind the shield: Colonel Tibbie.
And in Northern Ireland Major Reg Pearce had a bruised stomach for several weeks after testing the strength of a new water cannon.
On the shop floor the soldier in Ulster gets nothing but sympathy and whole-hearted support. At Donnington 59-year-old Mr Stanley Woolley discovered that public transport could not get him to the Sunday shift on time. So he walks six miles from his home in Wellington. "It's a job well worth walking for," he says.
Another man hired a taxi out of his own pocket to arrive on time. When Colonel Tibbie heard about this he arranged Army transport.
"The whole idea is to help the lads in Northern Ireland. We'd do anything for them and we like to think we are doing our little bit to stop the trouble." óMr George Jervis, carpenter at 34 Central Workshop, Donnington.






Chips with everything! A REME-made mobile fish shop is armoured to take "tenpenny worth" of fried cheer to soldiers in Belfast's hot-spots.






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