1st Battalion the 2nd Overton Underground Camel Corps is a highly trained and efficient body of people taken from the UK and beyond. Its sole purpose in life is to uphold the proud motto of the Corps. Entry is open to all living beings but a passing knowledge of Battleship salesmanship, Scutage Venery and obtuse community penetration and a sworn hatred of “sexy rugby” is essential.
The Corps history is veiled in the mists of time but elements of the force have come from the Rotten Hill Rough Riders and the Tufton Light Mining Brigade. The Corps has seen service in many overseas Campaigns. Starting with a number of sorties into deepest France only to be driven back by the difficult terrain and various medical conditions. It was reorganised and spearheaded an assault on Rotterdam and The Hague. Due to these initial successes further adventures were planed such as the aborted landings in Romania and the subsequent storming of the Imperial at Cork.
The Corps sustained heavy causalities in Conakilty but gained a Battle Honour at the “lock in” in Middleton. From there the force were embarked to the North Holland Campaign and again received Battle Honours against the Giants of Alkmaar, the Bars of Amsterdam and the Dikes of Hoorn. It was here that the attack diving section was established. France was again targeted for a number of raids, notably Burgundy, where the Vieux Garde made a notable stand in the Wine and olive oil caves, and the Bar at St Martin, following a heroic stand in the snow at the Pass Du Brouilly.
The Chasseurs a Chameau did sterling work at Neuvic, where a French Tricolour and Canard were captured followed by the rear-guard action at the Winery and the aborted attack on the Chateau at St Emilion. During this part of the Corps history it was aided for the first time by the Midget Camel corps whose sole purpose is to “infiltrate and irritate”. Its honour citation reads “that this section took a heavily defended Château and held it for 3 nights withdrawing under heavy fire without sustaining any casualties. A remarkable achievement.” (Published in the Laverstoke Gazette.)
The Corps had to endure sub Saharan temperatures in 2003 with another foray into deepest Burgundy, losing its sleeves near the Loire but did gain recognition for the lay-by incident and the tractor dash under heavy fire. A joint expedition was launched at Easter 2004 and like the Guards Armoured Division, it likewise stalled on the “devils highway” at Valkenswaard. But the flotilla did gain a further honour in the skirmish on Pancake Sunday with the “capture of the Bath”. While the Corps did an Anglo-Dutch raid on Etten Leur and finally a last stand at the Bell. All combatants retired to Belgium but after the Turnhout incident retreated to Calais in fine order.
The Corps launched a further foray into Europe in 2005 with a landing at Dunkirk and a “dash to Arnhem” in May. Again sterling work was done by a small band of regular veterans plus a number of new recruits who gained a numerous decorations plus a mention in despatches. In May 2006 the Corps went forth this time to the Ardennes, where the new colours were flown at the Battle of the Bulges. Attempts to remove a tiger tank failed and once again a retreat to Dunkirk was attempted with only one casualty –a green Kiwi.
In April 2008 in deepest France the Corps sustained a serious wounded colleague on first day of battle in the “graveyard spike” engagement. The corps however were unaffected and went on to fight well especially the yellow hat brigade. One of the corps gained honours in the battle of “Ricard” and also gained some palm reading skills to boot. The retreat to Calais was successful even with one fraudulent passport.
In 2010 the Corps returned to deepest Holland for the Battle of Betuwe. New recruits again served with honours and gained numerous decorations, However one Corps Veteran was almost lost to the enemy in what has been called the “Battle of the Brown Trousers”. Survival was only secured by quick action from senior corps members and rear guard clean up action.
In 2012 the corps went on manoeuvres to Mons Belgium with only one engagement the troops were sent on a skirmish to infiltrate a Polish fraction which nearly ended with an international incident with Elvis! And a re-enactment of the battle of Waterloo with a French Ladies corps! With several light engagements with the Fuzzy wuzzies on a train, later on a group of Grenadiers took control of BBQ and several small explosions were heard! Major A. Cornell was recorded in action over the loss of his bed and an incident in a local bar with a private having being locked in a toilet! On a retreat to blighty Stoker Bond and Corporal Poynter were detained at her majesty Pleasure in Dover for not having the correct details for their battleship!
2014 Saw the corps in Holland again, this time we visited Rogers adopted town of Alkmaar, a small group penetrated enemy lines in a fast-moving convoy of lightly armoured vehicles, only to be confronted with a one-way street outside our accommodation in the centre of town. All vehicles were hidden under cover for the weekend with some undergoing a disguise for the journey home, ‘Bell End’ is not the registration on the fuel card…………A civilised tour with excellent accommodation and a very congenial host. Forays into enemy territory, under lights and against old foes West Friesland produced the usual casualties, The Brown Trousers veteran suffered again, staring at a closed door from the seated position on the first night, not even making the game under lights. Corporal Harper suffered the indignity of a wet bed and incurred the wrath of Sargent Polish after leaving a snail’s trail across the floor. Tour virgins Devon and Cornwall went ‘A wall’ for 8 hours reporting a strange sighting of a white range rover on a bridge. Alkmaar survived, and Roger is still welcome. The Corps were infiltrated by an undercover agent from Kingsclere who despite a broken hand, in true British style and with a stiff upper lip, ‘Carried on regardless’ we had no idea!!!
2018 we went back to St Martin du lac…………………. the story is to be continued.