Signallers compete for Lanyard Trophy 2021

The annual pan-Royal Corps of Signals competition made a triumphant return in Northumberland on Saturday 11 September after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s Lanyard Trophy, saw 240 Army personnel race over 40 miles on the picturesque Otterburn Training Area.

The event, which first took place in 1979, is a team effort rather than an individual endeavour and involves squads of eight representing their units.

General Nesmith, Master of Signals, said: “It felt like a long time coming, having missed last year’s Lanyard due to Covid, it was worth the wait. 

“[This was] the Corps family at its best: strong in body, mind, and spirit. Otterburn certainly added an extra dimension.”

The annual physical challenge, which sees competitors carry a minimum of 30lbs on their back, was the brainchild of 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron.

It demonstrates our officers’ and soldiers’ bravery, endurance, determination, selflessness, and compassion Major Crane

The elite communicators designed the event initially to simulate how they would operate on the ground in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of NATO Europe.

The event was then expanded to include the rest of the Royal Signals, with the experience put into practice in 1982 when soldiers were forced to ‘yomp’ across large swathes of tough terrain during the Falklands Conflict.

Major Crane, Officer Commanding (OC) of 216 Squadron, said: “The Lanyard Trophy is a fantastic military event. It demonstrates our officers’ and soldiers’ bravery, endurance, determination, selflessness, and compassion.

“It develops confidence in their abilities to move long distances at speed whilst under load; basic operational traits we must not take for granted. Operation Pitting [the evacuation from Afghanistan] served as a stark reminder that we must be ready as both soldiers and communicators to undertake arduous endeavours.”

216 Squadron lived up to its reputation by winning the overall competition with a time of 10hrs 58mins, with 246 (Gurkha) Signal Squadron of 1 Signal Regiment finishing runners-up.

39 Signal Regiment won in the the Army Reserve category while 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) were victorious in the mixed event.