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The later history of the Kensingtons is closely bound up in their Territorial Army Centre (TAC). When this building was opened in 1938 it was possibly the most modern and best-equipped TAC in London, from both a military and social view-point. At the front, the red brick exterior resembled a Georgian town house and blended in well with the adjacent private properties. On the first floor was the attractively panelled Officers' Mess. Behind, the long thin two-storey building extended well back, ending in a large drill hall.

Vehicle access was initially via a narrow entrance onto Hammersmith Road although in later years a new, slightly wider access was created onto Rowan Road. However this still involved two ninety-degree turns out of the long narrow garage shed and deployment/recovery of heavy goods vehicles with trailers on exercise was a constant challenge to the sanity of personnel involved. The vehicles used before 1939 were few in number and small in size, but vehicles required after 1947 for the Royal Signals role were much larger, and many more were required to be garaged and maintained. Trolley buses operated in Hammersmith Road and their overhead wires made it an absolute necessity that all radio aerials were firmly tied-down before vehicles were driven out of the yard.

On 2 December 1980 the TAC was badly damaged by two explosive devices planted at the front and rear of the building. Caretaker Robert Glazier subsequently received the Commander-in-Chiefs Commendation for his courage and initiative in evacuating three civilians to safety through the smoke and debris. By good fortune the terrorist attack was on a Tuesday evening, rather than a Wednesday when death/injury to TA personnel attending training would have been very likely. The plaster cast bust of Princess Louise in the Officers Mess evaporated, a large picture belonging to the Middx Yeo on the staircase was ripped to shreds, but the Colours survived intact.

On 21 October 1992 the TAC was again the target for a terrorist attack from a bomb.. Normal TA evening training was taking place and three soldiers were injured; the Chief Clerk was detained in hospital, and two female soldiers were released after treatment for cuts caused by flying glass. The bomb was one of three planted that evening (the other two were against London railway targets), bringing the total to 13 for that two-week period.

The Territorial Army went through a long period of re-appraisal during the early 1990s. The TAC in Southfields proved to be a much better site for the RHQ, all the vehicles and other technical facilities. The last surviving Sabre Sqn based at Hammersmith moved to the Duke of York's HQ in Chelsea , and the Regimental Association moved its base there too, with the Colours and silver. The Association was relieved to remain within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with whom we continued to maintain close links. Sadly we were only allowed five years in Chelsea before we had to move again. The Association now being based with the PLK Sqn in Coulsdon.






































      




Marlpit Lane




The TAC was built in 1938/1939 as a company headquarters of the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey).


For the next thirty years this TAC had a chequered history. Full details can be found in Maj Paul Whittle's History of 31st (City of London) Signal Regiment (Volunteers) published in 2002


In June 1987 all the remaining elements of 41 (PLK) Signal Sqn were finally concentrated at Coulsdon.


In 1990 a major refurbishment of the building included a new roof, and new toilets, kitchen and electrics. In 1994 an external facelift included a security fence and a new garage block. Later that year the official reopening was performed by Colonel D J McLelland CBE TD DL, Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Croydon. At the rear of the TAC a memorial tree, planted in November 1994, commemorates six former members of the Squadron.