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Belize 1975

26th August 1975 1st Glosters officially took over from 2nd Bn Scots Guards as Resident Infantry Battalion, British Forces Belize.

'A' Coy. was based at Holdfast Camp, Anti-Tank Platoon at Plassey Camp. Engaged in training on Mountain Pine Ridge and at the Jungle Warfare Centre at Sibun.
Bn HQ and 'D' Coy. (with Mortar Platoon attached) based at Airport Camp.

1st Sept. a 'hurricane' exercise was carried out.

10th Oct. 'A' and 'D' Coys. swapped camps.

Dec. 'B' Coy. arrived from Canada and relieved 'A' Coy. who were to return to Weeton Camp, UK. However, due to problems with Guatamala 'A' Coy. remained in Belize to the end of the tour and opened up a new jungle camp. The 1 Devon and Dorsets were also flown in, along with a squadron of Royal Engineers, 3 Puma helicopters and half a squadron of Harriers, RAF ground crews, and a RN frigate (HMS Zulu, later replaced by HMS Nubian) patrolling the coast. The situation settled down without incident.

Feb. 1976 - Bn due to be relieved by 2nd Bn The Queen's Regt.

The Camps

The forward company base in Belize, consists of Nissen type huts, storm trenches for the unwary and a light aircraft strip. It is some 70 miles from Airport Camp and 'A' Coy. took over here from Left Flank Company, 2nd Bn The Scots Guards on the 22nd August. Within a few days all but one of the platoons had moved on to platoon camps. Driving west from Holdfast along the Western Highway one crosses the Hawkesworth Bridge into the town of San Ignacio. One local commented: "It ought to be called Gloster Bridge, your Battalion practically built it when they were here before." On the far outskirts of San Ignacio is Plassey Camp, the most westerly platoon base. Again it consists of Nissen huts, but set on a hill beside the racecourse and with an excellent training area just beyond. The Guatemalan border is just over 8 miles away.

Some 15 minutes to the south of Holdfast Camp is the Mountain Pine Ridge, which varies in height between 1,500 and 3,000 feet. As its name implies it is covered in pine forest although the eastern end is tree-less and known as the Bald Hills. An area of about 150 square miles can be used for training, including a field firing area on the Bald Hills.

The population of Belize is small, about 15 people per square mile. Natural food, fruit, fish and game abound, so there is no starvation or poverty, but there is also very little wealth. As a result the people are contented, slightly idle and vey friendly.