to suit the types of clothing worn in the area. The particular problem of the shortage of fresh water on Christmas Island has meant the building, specially for the laundry, of water towers and lead-in systems for fresh and brackish water. In addition, fresh water for rinsing only is re-used by incorporating 800-gallon precipitation tanks and
A SPECIAL ENGINEER REGIMENT WORKSHOP, ROYAL ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL ENGINEERS, was another new unit which formed at Erlestoke early in April, 1956. Fifty-nine personnel of all ranks were posted in from England and B.A.O.R. at very short notice and together with the Light Aid Detachment of 28 Field Engineer Regiment formed the Special Engineer Regiment Workshop. A small additional element, which had been with 55 Field Squadron in Korea, also joined up with the unit on its arrival at Christmas Island.
One of the problems that faced this unit in its early days in England was the large amount of specialized vehicles, plant and equipment that was to be used in the operation. This necessitated hard and intensive training in England prior to the unit's departure for the Grapple Area.
As far as its establishment was concerned it was designed to give all workshop support to the Army units for the inspection, classification, repair and recovery of all types of equipment and to give any assistance required by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Although the unit included fitters, turners, welders, blacksmiths, sheet metal workers, tele-communication mechanics and other allied trades the main emphasis of the workshop was on the repair of the vehicles and plant of the engineer regiment engaged on the construction of the Christmas Island base. It has coped with all major repairs and the manufacture of any component for equipment. In fact it offered facilities normally found only in a base workshop.
The logistical planning and execution of all the Army requirements, as well as many of the needs for the other two Services and the A.W.R.E., has been undertaken from the Task Force Headquarters in England. In addition, a "tactical H.Q." was established on Christmas Island from the start of the operation. This will be taken over by the "main" headquarters from England in March, 1957, although it will still retain command of the Island Garrison. Some personnel will be left behind at the Air Ministry, forming part of the "rear" headquarters and acting as the link between the Force and the War Office.
Summing up, it is difficult to single out anyone particular facet of the part the Army played in Operation "Grapple". One of the biggest problems was, perhaps, the quantity and variety of engineer plant involved in the construction work. The 195 pieces of plant required for the construction of the airfield and roads-not to mention a further 200 Army domestic vehicles-necessitated a heavy and carefully planned scaling of special spares. It is easy to see from this fact alone how closely interrelated was the work of the various units on the island; the provision of the large number of skilled plant operators by the Royal Engineers; the holding and maintenance of a vast amount of spares by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps; and the repairs and servicing of the vehicles and plant by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, not to mention the