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Sipovo Station Open Day

By Maj. Marie Richter
First published in
SFOR Informer#119, August 8, 2001

Sipovo - On Saturday June 4, Sipovo football field resembled a summer's day in Britain. In order to improve relations between the local population and SFOR troops, and for everyone to experience the best of British tradition, all departments from Sipovo camp, part of the United Kingdom Battle Group (UKBG) set up stalls which you would normally see in a Summer Fete. The event was directed by G-5 (Plans and Policy).
Tug Of War
Several weeks ago a challenge was sent out to the whole of British Forces in Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW), to enter a team into the Tug of War competition. Since then teams from MND-SW have been training hard to improve strength and stamina and meet the challenge.
The Tug of War competition appealed to the locals' curiosity, and soon they were cheering alongside the British supporters. Even as the temperatures rose above 35 degrees, teams were not deterred. The ladies team of Banja Luka took the first pull from Sipovo ladies team. Then it was 'game on' as the men dug their heels in and gave their all in order to win the heats and take the first prize. Despite fierce competition and an increase in testosterone levels throughout the field, A Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets, walked away with first prize.
Fun and Games
Each department had brought their favourite traditional stall with them, adding to the fun element of the day. Local children tried their hand at “bash the rat” and the blindfold assault course. Though they were not able to speak the same language, words were not needed for the soldiers and local people to enjoy the fun of the games. A taste of the “olde English” was brought in the form of village stocks. Volunteers from the officers of Sipovo camp took their place as willing victims. Off duty psychiatric nurse Capt. Fiona Cameron was thrown in the stocks for a taste of “alternative therapy” from her fellow workers and local residents in the form of wet sponges, most of which hit right on target. A dripping Fiona said, "Today is all about sharing our traditions and having fun with local residents. We have an excellent rapport with them and I hope they enjoyed themselves, even if they do go away thinking we are totally mad."
Children were given a chance to operate a crane by remote control, knocking down footballs on stands with a swinging punch bag hanging on the end of a chain.
Taste of British cooking
The chefs from Sipovo base gave residents a taste of British field cookery, and as not a crumb was left it was presumed a success. A lesson in cake decorating with residents taking home their creation was very popular, and although some of the cakes didn't look like they were of confectioners standards they were all edible at least.
The favourite with the younger children was the face painting. Tigers, union jacks and butterfly faces proudly walked out of the tent happy for all to view their new creations.
The day ended with a demonstration from the dog section, then all went home with some souvenir from the day. The only thing the British missed out was the rain.

Related links: Miscellaneous
Nations of SFOR: UK