Welcome to Swanage Army Link.

The Swanage Army Link is a dynamic association that has evolved over nearly 30 years between the Swanage Railway, the British Army, the People of Swanage and the Royal British Legion.

Regular ongoing visits by the Royal Corps of Signals soldiers are core to this Link, as is Team Herston, formed in 2007, bringing together local residents and ex soldiers who work regularly on our core project – the upkeep of Herston Halt.

More recently we have been proud to welcome Heroes Haven into the fold.

Want to know more? See About the Army Link .

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Heroes Haven Donations

If you would like to make a donation to the Heroes Haven, please visit their site http://www.heroes-haven.org.uk (opens in a new window) and click on the 'Donate' link in the top right of the page.

Please enter SWCP as the reference.

11th (RSS) Signal Regiment

In 1992 Sergeant Vince McNaught BEM was serving at Helles Barracks with 11 Signal Regiment at Catterick in Yorkshire. He had been in involved in the earliest Exercises and suggested that 35 Junior Soldiers should visit Swanage for a week in May 1992. This was one of the pivotal visits to the Railway, and 18 soldiers joined the Swanage Railway becoming Premier Life Members which was the catalyst for the formation of the Mercury Group.

Many Royal Signallers will have served at Catterick in Yorkshire, but in the early 1990s as a result of a restructuring, the Royal Armoured Corps were on the move south to Bovington, and 11 Signal Regiment to Blandford.

It took a number of years for the training role of the Regiment to settle, not least because of the extensive building programme that was needed at Blandford Camp; indeed some training took place at remote locations such as Colerne near Bath.

At the same time the Swanage Railway had offered Corporate Membership to the Royal Corps of Signals, and it seemed logical that the link should be accepted by a regiment rather than The Corps as a whole. Despite the fact that the whole Regiment had yet to arrive in Dorset, this was accepted by the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Strivens in 1993.

The links between the town and 11th Signal Regiment continued to mature over the following years, with no doubt, the town appreciating continued support of serving soldiers, especially for Remembrance Parades and the annual Swanage Half Marathon, and the Regiment honouring its Corporate Membership of the Swanage Railway.

As at July 2005 1,331 soldiers from the Royal Signals had worked on the Swanage Railway, realising 5,431 man days of assistance. The support received by the Railway and the town was marked on Saturday 9th July 2005 when 11th Signal Regiment from Blandford was granted the Liberty of the Town of Swanage and marched through the town led by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Matt Fensom with band playing, swords drawn and bayonets fixed; an immense honour for any British Army unit.

As the role of the Regiment evolved, it was confirmed that 3 (Harrogate) Squadron (from the Regiment) should take the lead in all Swanage related matters. For many years there have been Topham Hatt Liaison Officers representing both the Army and also the Railway.

From 2005 Exercise Topham Hatt benefited from the support of two particularly strong characters, namely Staff Sergeant Steve Davies from 2005, and then Staff Sergeant Mark Anderson from 2008

The Squadron continues its role of hosting soldiers under trade training be that new recruits who have been in the Army for around six months or Non Commissioned Officers who return for further communications training. In 2010 the Regiment became 11th (Royal School of Signals) Signals Regiment.

Today, 3 (Harrogate) Squadron have a unique relationship with the people of Swanage, forming bonds in the following areas:

  • Exercise Topham Hatt – working with Team Herston on the Swanage Railway.
  • Remembrance Day Parade and associated fund raising activities.
  • Swanage Half Marathon and Swanage Carnival activities.
  • Support for annual events such as the Swanage Veterans Weekend, the Swanage Civic Church Service and the Blandford Garrison Cocktail Party.
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Swanage Army Link is supported and supports the following organisations and people: