Fifty years ago!

An interesting little report came to our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE notice in yesterdays ‘The Bolton News,’ within the Looking Back features article on page 38.

From the Bolton Evening News archives of 19th August 1963;

“Fifty eight Civil Defence and Air Training Corps volunteers combed the bleak Rivington Moors for two hours yesterday searching for a missing hiker – but three sheep beat them to it.”

“The searchers were taking part in ‘Exercise Trident,’ a mock peacetime emergency organised by Bury Civil Defence Corps.”

“Civil Defence Training Officer, Mr Joseph Mullin, played the part of a missing hiker.”

“He went up on the moors in the early morning, and after leaving items of clothing – a tie, scarf, and so on – to put his rescuers on the right track, he settled down with a book behind a wall, and waited for them to find him.”

This was some five years before the Bolton Mountain Rescue Team formed (The same year that the Civil Defence Corps were disbanded) and at a time when the Winter Hill summit had a much smaller number of Telecommunications masts, (Five at the time, Fire, Police and Ambulance masts, the GPO Mast and the smaller forerunner to todays 1,015 feet high TV mast) and the whole area had a much more remote ‘feel’ about it.

Back then the searchers would only have had a very limited number of rudimentary radios (probably radio back packs rather than walkie talkies – webmaster – our Team Leader is showing his age here), a complete lack of specialist outdoor clothing, poorer quality / less detailed OS maps, no GPS or IT based mapping systems, few vehicles (Other than Civil Defence vehicles) no Search Dogs, no Police Helicopter search support or Air Ambulance helicopter to call on once the ‘casualty’ was found, certainly none of the specialist search and rescue and casualty care equipment that is so commonplace nowadays, probably only a Neil Robertson bamboo stretcher or a pole stretcher to evacuate the ‘casualty’ once found, and no well equipped emergency Ambulance or highly skilled Paramedic crew to provide casualty care.

No doubt just like nowadays, what was likely to have been present in abundance was lots of enthusiasm and a commitment and dedication to completing the exercise successfully.

It would be very interesting if any pictures existed of this particular exercise, or personal recollections, perhaps enabling a ‘Then and Now’ picture to be taken?