U series - Further talks on the Long Range Desert Group [Parts 1-6]

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U series
RNZ Collection
Ballantyne, L. B., Speaker/Kaikōrero
Laurenson, Doug, Commentator
HUGHSON, Cyril, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Edmundson, F. B., Speaker/Kaikōrero
SHEPHERD, J. R., Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand. National Broadcasting Service (estab. 1936, closed 1946), Broadcaster

Mobile Broadcasting Unit commentator Doug Laurenson describes the formation of LRDG, which is under the command of three British Officers who in the days of peace prospected all over the Sahara and Libyan deserts in preparation for the war that may come along.

Laurenson then introduces Captain L. B. Ballantyne who, before the war, was a sheep farmer at Pongaroa, Hawkes Bay and has travelled with his men on long expeditions.

Captain Ballantyne talks about the selection of the men for the Long Range Desert Group from the Divisional Cavalry and Machine Gunners.

The first patrol was made in the hot season when the temperatures seldom dropped below 105 degrees and on several occasions topped 120 deg. Water was limited to one gallon a day for all purposes. Captain Ballantyne has seen the selected soldiers in action and no officer could wish for steadier troops.

The greatest test the force had been subjected to date was a ground
attack a month previous.

Ballantyne makes special mention of Corporal Rex Beech, who was killed at
his post and saved many lives, Sergeant Cyril Hughson who led his
troops into action and decorations awarded to Lieutenant Sutherland and
Trooper Wilcox for gallantry.

Laurenson then introduces the Long Range Desert Group's Medical
Officer Captain F.B.Edmundson of Napier. He advises on the good health of the men in the Long Range Desert Group and attributes this to the fact that the men are away from the populated areas and the desert is absolutely sterile. Even the Egyptian flies leave the trucks after the first few days into the desert.

Doug Laurenson interviews Sergeant J. R. Shepherd, an expert on
communications for the Long Range Desert Group.

Sergeant Shepherd explains the systems and methods used to communicate between patrols. Some experimentation with aerials and choice of frequencies was required. All messages had to be sent accurately as they were in code and could not be checked immediately at the receiving station. Using the standard army radio sets, which were expected to cover 250 miles, he was able to communicate over 450 tp 500 miles distance.

A standard Philips broadcast receiver was carried and used to receive
time signals and listen to the news while behind enemy lines. The patrol
would get in behind the Italian front and listen in to the Italians

Sergeant Shepherd describes the types of aerials used and explains the
schedule for sending the coded messages between patrols.

Patrols would normally travel from 7.00am to 6.00pm and then
communications would start anytime between 6.00 and 10pm and continue
through to 1.00 or 2.00 in the morning.