Clansman was the British Army radio system in use from 1976 until 2010. The system had a huge array of parts, accessories and add ons and collecting all the features would surely be a challenge for any collector. As a system that was used extensively and has only recently been disposed of, some elements are readily available at ridiculously cheap prices. Recently I picked up a Clansman ancillaries bag at a show for £1, one of many dozens in a box:
The bag is made of butyl nylon and was used for carrying spare batteries, headsets, handsets etc. This diagram from the Clansman user manual illustrates some typical contents:
The bag has a pair of weather flaps under the main top flap to help protect its contents:
And a complicated set of friction buckles and straps to secure the lid of the bag:
A pair of plastic D rings are fitted to each side of the bag to allow a shoulder strap to be attached if required:
The rear of the bag has the NSN number for this component clearly stamped:
Some of the last users of the Clansman radios were the Cadet forces, and this account of them training on it comes from 2010:
On Saturday 22nd May, Cdt Borhara and Sgt Cotton (ATC) from 487 Sqn attended the Khaki Badger Clansman Radio conversion course at 1289 (Stratford) Sqn, for a lesson in how to use the VHF Provisional and Full skills in a practical setting, using Clansman 350, 351 and 352 radios.
The day started off with an introduction to the course by Sgt Caine, with a brief for what was going to happen on the day. With the sun blazing and the mood high, we got to work with the radios.
First lesson was a hands on introduction to the 350 Clansman radio, learning about its component parts and how to set up the radio to function correctly in the field. This day was a large learning curve for some of the staff in attendance, so the introduction was eye opening to say the least. Once familiar with the set-up of a 350 Clansman we moved onto the 351 parts and functionality, including the contents of an ancillary bag, how to use each part and how they were connected to the main radio.
Once familiar with the first two radios, we quickly learnt that a 351 and 352 radio are very similar, so looked at how to set up the radio for each configuration. After a brief lunch, we headed out into the scorching sunshine to carry out some practical exercises with the radios in our groups. Each group headed out to their own spot (in the shade!) and proceeded to set up the radios in the assigned configuration, erect a GSA antenna and carry out a radio check between all call signs. After some hands on experience with trouble shooting on the radio, we carried out some communication exercises using the VHF Provisional skills the cadets already had.
The day wrapped up with a demonstration of how to erect an elevated GSA antenna which was 25ft tall and took 6 cadets to put up.
Cdt Borhara enjoyed the day and found it interesting to see the difference between achieving his full VHF license and putting it into practice with real radios out in the field. Sgt Cotton, having never seen a Clansman radio before, learnt valuable radio skills which she is sure will be put to good use on the next Khaki Badger exercise later on in the year.
Thanks go to the Khaki Badger staff team for making the day both interesting and enjoyable.