Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey? 13

Travelling around West Africa by road, I still very frequently cross old British Bailey bridges. I cannot understand why we are continually being bombarded with news of the plight of the bridgeless people of Workington, and that the army has not been deployed to put up a Bailey bridge or its modern equivalent.

The Army must have bridging capacity. I recall, for example, that when we were holding armoured brigade exercises in Drawsko in Western Poland in 1996, a plan to take some tanks into Warsaw for PR purposes was scuppered by the fact that none of the bridges would take a British main battle tank, and it was rightly deemed not worth the cash to throw them up for a PR exercise. But I can’t believe that even this government is so incompetent that the army cannot get over a river. Or is all our bridging capacity being deployed to facilitate the movement of opium and heroin for the drugs warlords of the Karzai government?

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

13 thoughts on “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey?

  • writerman

    You’re probably correct, Craig. The main focus of the British Army is concentrated on the Afpak ‘front’, not Britain. I wonder how many helicopters would be available if they weren’t all on the other side of the world too?

  • mary


    I grew up un Bournemouth and used to pass MEXE every day on the way to school and see the huge metal structures there.

    (www.army.mod.uk/royalengineers/equipment/701.aspx) Royal Engineer Bridging Assets

    There still is a corps called REME btw and it has not been pruvatised or outsourced yet!

  • Abe Rene

    From the Professional Spokesperson, seconded to the Ministry of Useful Works:

    “The courses on bullding bridges, previously of ‘A’ level standard, in order to be accessible to a wider number, have had their content downgraded to CSE standard and the pass mark lowered to 25 per cent. However, since a degree is worth £500,000 over a lifetime, the qualification at the end has been upgraded to degree level for official statistical purposes. Therefore, to learn to build such high-tech infrastructure, bearing in mind the Health and Safety aspects, the candidates will have to take a Bridging Course ..

  • Subrosa

    I heard on the media over the weekend that the army has offered to build a Bailey bridge Craig, but further ‘discussions’ were needed.

    As an aside, only last year on the A93 to Braemar a new section of road was opened. It was built to avoid the delay caused by traffic lights at a Bailey bridge built in the 1940 after a landslide. This bridge has certainly stood the test of time because there is no other road to Braemar from the south. It can be seen from the new piece of road and will be used by the landowners now. There are no plans to remove it.

  • glenn

    This is what happened in Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, after all. Helicopters, equipment and the National Guard had all been deployed in Iraq/Afghanistan.

  • Strategist

    To be fair, another 4 inches of rain were forecast for yesterday, I think another washout has in the end not happened, but it was probably worth waiting for that to pass before getting going on a bailey bridge?

  • rob

    Interview yesterday (25th Nov) on the Today programme at 07:34 with Peter Lloyd the MD of the company that makes the modern version of the Bailey Bridge. The problem is an engineering one: if the foundations of the old bridge are not sound, new foundations and access roads must be built even for a temporary bridge. That takes weeks.


    Limited time to listen again, I suppose.

  • stuart

    Bollocks !!!

    We will always look for excuses excuses elf & safety, not my job guv etc etc. Its just we are to lazy and to scared to make a decision. Did anyone ever see challenge Anneka on the telly. Put a tv camera on it call it a game show or top gear and half the world would be down there with helicopters bull dozers and the bridge would be up before you know it. This country is paralysed by idiots too scared to make a decision and companies too corrupt to put an honest price on a job adding four zeros because its a government contract. God help us all if we had a real disaster. The blitz spirit has long gone.

  • George Dutton

    “I cannot understand why we are continually being bombarded with news of the plight of the bridgeless people of Workington, and that the army has not been deployed to put up a Bailey bridge or its modern equivalent”

    Just like the USA the UK cannot afford to fight illegal wars to make a few people rich and see to the needs of the british people…


  • Frazer

    Just finished repairing an old Bailey here in Congo over the Lwizi river,it was made in Manchester in 1943 and shipped out here after WW2, actually stamped with date etc…

Comments are closed.