TA Mobilisation Booklet

Todays object is a small booklet issued to members of the Territorial Army and reservists in the late 1980s with instructions on what to do if mobilised. Reservists had been mobilised to take part in the large Exercise lionheart in 1984. This was one of the largest peacetime exercises ever held and over 130,000 men exercised in West Germany, including members of the TA and reservists. In a time when personal computers did not exist, telephones were fixed to the wall and letters through the post were the only way of communicating to large numbers of men, planning for mobilisation of reserves had to be determined in advance so that men only needed to be told they were being mobilised and could then follow pre-arranged instructions. This guidance was included in this small green booklet called ‘Territorial Army (TA) and Reservist Instruction Book’ and this book was issued to a Lance Corporal Craig of Aberdeen who was in the Royal Engineers:

Inside the book the first two pages are devoted to instructions for mobilisation and annual reporting procedures:

A list of required uniform and equipment follows, together with space for information on the soldier’s dependents:

This continues over the page together with some basic information on the soldier himself:

Finally there is space to write down any mobilisation instructions relating to the soldier:

Today the amount of physical paperwork issued to servicemen is far less, with secure portals and websites covering much of the ground that hard copies used to. Text messages and emails also allow a more rapid and tailored system of communication with reservists than was possible forty years ago when books like this were essential.

One comment

  1. For the first ten years after my retirement I was part of the ‘Supplementary Ready Reserve’ and subject to recall in an emergency.
    That ended almost twenty years ago but I still have the papers somewhere in a box or drawer, if I fins them I’ll scan them and send them in for posterity.
    Part of the program was a requirement was to ‘maintain a basic uniform’ although there were no instructions on how to get a new one once you’d reverted to ‘civvy fighting weight’ 😉
    But, since the annual reporting and $300 travel allowance for doing so was cancelled after the first year, it sort of didn’t matter anyway, coveralls are ‘one size fits some’ and it’s doubtful I’d be given the year or so it would take to renew all of my qualifications so I’d end up in an office or on ‘general duties’ to free someone else up for frontline work.
    Pity that time wasn’t pensionable 😦

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