Tellurometer Jamaica
Multplex Mark 2
Process Camera
Heidelberg Press 14 Sqn 1995
Guillotine Hermitage
Military Survey Soldier Trade Training 1960 - 1993

The soldier trades taught at the School of Military Survey at Hermitage at the start of this period reflected the distinct stages in the map production process of the time:

Trigonometrical Surveyor – produced the ground control generally by triangulation or traversing methods.

Topographic Surveyor – plotted the map detail by plane tabling or increasingly by air survey methods.

Topographical Draughtsman – compiled by fair drawing to scale the surveyors’ detail plots onto zinc or glass.

Lithographic Artist – repaired, or ‘retouched’ the map detail, in reverse, on glass or film negatives and also on printing plates often whilst still on the printing machine.

Camera Operator – carried out all the photographic processes in the map production system.

Helio Worker – made the printing plates firstly by graining and coating them with light sensitive emulsion and then exposing the map detail.

Lithographic Machine Minder – printed the bulk map stocks.

Storeman Survey – carried out the print finishing and checking and then stored and distributed the maps.

Of these eight trades all but the last were classed as A trades with the Storeman Survey rated as B.

Throughout the Forties and Fifties the School was principally involved in providing basic training, class 3 level, to large numbers of conscripts. Upgrading courses at class 2 mainly occurred ‘on the job’ in units and only the relatively few regular soldiers returned to Hermitage for advanced training at class1.

Two events in 1960 changed radically the way in which the School provided trade training for those in Military Survey; the ending of National Service and the introduction of technician trades.

The new ‘all regular army’ needed to provide an attractive career for all who joined and so all courses were redesigned to provide comprehensive training at three levels; primary, intermediate and advanced.

At the same time technician training at primary level for four new trades was introduced at the Army Apprentice College at Chepstow and a programme to assimilate suitable existing A tradesmen into the technician roster commenced at Hermitage. These technician trades, which had a higher theory element than the A trade, were:

Field Survey Technician – all aspects of field surveying.

Survey Cartographic Technician – air survey and cartographic theory.

Survey Photographic Technician – combination of camera operator and helio worker.

Survey Print Technician – all aspects of lithography.

And so throughout the 1960s Military Survey had 12 trades which, due to the relatively small numbers involved, caused considerable manning problems. There was also friction at the junior rank level as generally technicians and A tradesmen worked side by side at the same task but with the Chepstow entrant on a higher pay rate and, as a JNCO, not liable for the more unpleasant regimental duties.

Due to advances to the use of computers in air survey methods and changes in map compilation and reproduction techniques the survey cartographic technician, draughtsman topographic and lithographic artist trades were reorganised in 1968 into two new technician trades.

Air Survey Technician – all aspects of photogrammetry applied to map production.

Cartographic Technician – combination of topographic draughtsman and lithographic artist.

Following the introduction of the military salary on the 1st of April 1970 there was a comprehensive review of the soldier trade structure resulting in a reorganisation in 1972 into an all technician system, other than for the Storeman Survey. Conversion courses were held during the next two years to re-classify the remaining A tradesmen as technicians so that Military Survey reduced to six employments.

Field Survey Technician

Air Survey Technician

Survey Cartographic Technician

Survey Photographic Technician

Survey Print Technician

Storeman Survey

There were two significant developments over the following twenty years. In 1973 the Survey Staff Specialist course was introduced to give selected warrant officers and SNCOs training in staff work and an overview of all aspects of map production in order that they were better trained for survey staff appointments and technician control posts.

All soldier posts had to be justified by their having a war role and for a considerable number this was not at their primary employment but to work in the combat map supply system. As a result the Storeman Survey trade was replaced in 1981with a new map supply-based trade of Combat Surveyor which also became a starter trade for all technicians.

A major policy change in 1990 removed uniformed personnel from routine map production work and committed them totally to providing direct support to the Field Army. This fundamental change was reflected not only in a completely new range of equipment but also in the training provided at the School of Military Survey where, in 1993 following a thorough review of requirements, the trade structure was reduced to three trades; Data, Terrain Analysis and Production Technicians.