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.