#ThrowbackThursday: Harrogate men prepare for battle in 1982

Sgt Major Brian O'Hare, Colour Sgt Tony Sweeny and Sgt Paul Wood prepare for action.
Sgt Major Brian O'Hare, Colour Sgt Tony Sweeny and Sgt Paul Wood prepare for action.

This week, more than three decades ago, two Harrogate Advertiser reporters had just returned from the scene of battle.

For the previous fortnight, 33,000 soldiers from the Harrogate Company of the 1st Battalion of Yorkshire volunteers had been taking part in Exercise Keynote.

Reporters spent six days with the men who were firing blanks and performing a mock battle in the countryside of Olxheim, Germany, in preparation for a real war.

The report noted: “Two years of planning went into the exercise, realistically designed to put the Company through its paces in what would be its wartime role in the event of an Eastern Bloc invasion.”

At the time the Battalion was the largest in the Territorial Army, which made up around 30 per cent of front line forces and this particular exercise had been the largest operation mounted by the Second Infantry Division since the Second World War.