• Supporting Reserve Forces and Cadets in the South East

    Reserves & Cadets
  1. Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    On the 12th July, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) commemorated their 100th Anniversary by ho...

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    Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) 100th Anniversary Charity Event

    On the 12th July, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) commemorated their 100th Anniversary by holding an event in which approx. 70 riders cycled to Ypres in Belgium to raise funds for the charity. Two of the riders, LCpl Golding and Pte Lawless Hughes, were from 220 Medical Squadron, Aylesford, part of 254 Medical Regiment.  WO2 Baker and Cpl Gilbert from 220 Med Sqn also attended the event in the capacity as volunteers, providing medical cover. 

     

    The ride set off on the Friday morning, culminating in cycling through the Menin Gate on Saturday and then attending the ceremony there at 2000hrs.  The Sunday then provided an opportunity to visit some of the memorials within the Ypres Salient.  As a group they lay a wreath on behalf of the Regt, with Pte Lawless Hughes as the most junior member laying the wreath itself.

     

    RBLI is an independent charity from The Royal British Legion which is based in Aylesford, Kent and is one of two sites that were set up in 1919 as TB colonies. In modern times, they provide housing and work opportunities for the whole of the Armed Forces Community. This includes, independent living for vulnerable service leavers right through to family housing and nursing care. They also provide work opportunities in their factory as well as other services to support the above community in to work.

  2. Biker Down Nepal

    As part of our going partnership working with the Armed Forces, the KFRS Road Safety T...

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    Biker Down Nepal

    Biker Down Nepal

    As part of our going partnership working with the Armed Forces, the KFRS Road Safety Team have been running Biker Down, ‘Train the Trainer’ courses for Army None Commissioned Officers and Commissioned Officers. As a result, one of our recent Trainees, Warrant Officer 1, Staff Master Driver, Adrian Myatt, sent the Road Safety Team the following message:

    “As you’re aware, while on my recent trip to Nepal it was my aspiration to deliver Biker Down Training to the civilians who are employed as drivers within Headquarters British Gurkhas Nepal.  I am pleased to confirm I was able to deliver 2 x courses to a total of 12 civilian staff and 1 military.

    With the aid of a Nepali First Aid instructor who delivered the Basic Life Support and first aid lessons in Module 2, both courses were successful and very well received"

  3. No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    One week of intensive weapons drill practice instructed by Cpl’s Lurkins and Rivers. Followed by Parade through Gloucester from Cathedral to Guild hall, reception after and then Dining in Night at the Officer’s Mess on Brize Norton – the 501 Sqn ACT for 2019 in preparation for the Sqns 90th Anniversary.

    Monday morning and on with the No2 Blues. All congregated in building 2014 classroom and ready for what for many would be there first ever weapons drill. Off to the armoury, now I have to remember my ‘NSP’s’, safety on, ‘What’s next? Help given, it’s onto the coach and off to the airfield to base hanger to start our intensive preparation.

    Everyone’s excited and apprehensive. There are different levels of experience amongst us but we’ll all get there. The days are set up in a routine of Collect weapons, Drill for 2 hrs, break, drill for 2 hrs, lunch, drill for 2 hrs, finish for th...

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    No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    No 501 Sqn 90th Anniversary – A/Cpl Karen Marais-Mellows

    One week of intensive weapons drill practice instructed by Cpl’s Lurkins and Rivers. Followed by Parade through Gloucester from Cathedral to Guild hall, reception after and then Dining in Night at the Officer’s Mess on Brize Norton – the 501 Sqn ACT for 2019 in preparation for the Sqns 90th Anniversary.

    Monday morning and on with the No2 Blues. All congregated in building 2014 classroom and ready for what for many would be there first ever weapons drill. Off to the armoury, now I have to remember my ‘NSP’s’, safety on, ‘What’s next? Help given, it’s onto the coach and off to the airfield to base hanger to start our intensive preparation.

    Everyone’s excited and apprehensive. There are different levels of experience amongst us but we’ll all get there. The days are set up in a routine of Collect weapons, Drill for 2 hrs, break, drill for 2 hrs, lunch, drill for 2 hrs, finish for the day.

    The HQ staff had arranged for some evening activities to keep us occupied so it was back on with the A flight vs B flight battle. Monday was quiz night. 7 rounds of the OC’s quizmaster specials unfortunately, it ended in an emphatic win for A flight but there were other opportunities to get even or better.

    Tuesday saw day 2 of attempting to perfect marching around smartly and in time. It started to click with most of us and pride started to replace apprehension, although by the end of the day feet were starting to suffer from the time being spent on them, in our unfrequently worn No2 shoes.

    Sport was the next after drill activity. Unihoc followed by bucketball. Split down into teams from respective flights, the battle lines were drawn, and battle commenced. Fun was had and the competitive nature of some of the troops was perhaps shown a little too much, but in the end, it was B flight who reigned victorious.

    Wednesday was day 3 of drill and there were a few new troops as there were some who had been in 501 when it had been a Force Protection previously that came to join us. By the afternoon, they were joining us in the lines and picking up all the commands and moves needed to complete our parade. We marched with weapons for the length of time we’d be doing at the weekend and for the first time it felt like a really long time.

    Tonight, there was a Games night that included darts, boules, pool, black jack and dominoes as well as a flexibility challenge which consisted of bending down to pick up a cereal packet with your teeth. All the participants managed this so some of the height of the packet was removed and the next round started. Andy Bartlett, Mark Frost and Jake Gregory all gave it a good effort and nearly damaged themselves in the process but bowed out. This left just 2 competitors vying for the win. Lisa Mclaughlin and Jon Mace both passed at this point and then then next round too, it went on and on until the cereal packet had become just a scrap of cardboard the size of a postage stamp. Down they bent, practically doing the splits and looking pained and strained but ultimately, they could not be parted so a draw was called, excitement and cheers were punctuated with shock at their efforts. Congratulations at how well they’d done were called out and then the last game of the night was bingo which was eventually won by Ben Rollins. The night went to B flight, but the winner was absolutely the sqn as the banter and morale was so obvious to be seen.

    Thursday came and the last of the sqn members who would be in the parade arrived and were put through their paces with an intensive lesson on the weapons drill. There was a morning of practise and then a run through after lunch before full rehearsal including the HQ staff doing their piece. We were getting the hang of this now and starting to look the part. One more day’s practice left before the day.

    Softball was the sport of choice after work tonight and again the competitive streak came to the fore of the usual suspects, Lisa, Will, Andy and myself all shouting and pushing the teams on to better results, everyone enjoying the innings where B flight went into the second innings 16 – 5 ahead. B flight took this out to 30 by the end of their batting and therefore A flight needed 26 to win. They fought hard and used tactics as well as a few other means to edge ever closer. I took it upon myself to be head cheerer for the B’s. I may have gotten a little carried away and over zealous on the shouting encouragement. As the scores became closer and closer, my frustration and worry boiled over and some thought I may explode at any moment. Not my finest hour but entertaining for most. Eventually the B’s did win by a short margin and euphoric enthusiasm and relief was exalted by the whole of B flight.

    Friday came around and everyone was in their smart No1’s, buddying up to check each other were dressed smart and looking the part. Our first stop of the day was over to the airfield to form up in front of the C-17, SV and Snow Plough for our Official Sqn photograph. Really good fun and a proud moment as this would be the picture hung on the wall in the Sqn HQ Corridor for all to see.

    Then it was over to base hangar for our full-Dress Rehearsal of the parade. It went exceptionally well, everyone was where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be, and it was spot on. Even the ‘Adults’ did well. Our reward for doing so well was to be stood down at lunch to get last minute kit finishing touches completed and to rest and relax following a full-on week.

    07:30 on Saturday morning and the whole Sqn was ready for the big day. Dressed in gleaming No1s and excited about the day. Everyone was calm, and all went well with only the exception of a missing bayonet which wasn’t missing and someone’s inability to count causing an ‘on the bus, off the bus, on the bus again’ scenario. Soon we were in transit to Gloucester and an hour or so later we were arriving at the Cathedral. As we were given freedom to do our own thing but be at the ready, in place, on time butterflies started to creep into my belly. This was exciting, this was exactly the kind of thing I had signed up for. Showing ourselves off for the public to see in our finery and looking and performing to our very best and in front of Royalty. It doesn’t get much better than this for me.

    As we congregated in front of the Cathedral and I look around, I could see sqn members chatting to family members who had travelled from far and wide to see their loved one be part of something important. I could see the smiles and sheer pride of everyone to be involved in this historic event for the sqn. It filled me with a sense of inclusion and almost overwhelming pride.

    At 09:55 we were in our 2 flights, formed up, flanking the Sovereigns Colour to RAuxAF, ready for next instructions. We were brought to attention, went through our drill moves and were awaiting the turn of the hour to march through the centre of town, to exercise our Freedom of Gloucester as No501, County of Gloucester Sqn.

    10:00 sharp we were given the order ‘By the left, quick march!’ and the 614 ATC band started and off we went. With each and every step, the pride welled up inside until I feared it may put me off but no, concentration was kept. The awareness of the good feeling coming back from those who came out onto the parade route to see us was palpable. They were cheering and clapping for us, for the forces. They were happy to see us, you could feel that this was felt by every member of the Sqn around you.

    It wasn’t a long parade, but it was superb. No one put a foot wrong and we all looked so professional. NAILED IT!!! Before we knew it, it was done, we’d finished, and it was off for a coffee and a slice of cake in the Guild Hall and a meet and greet with HRH, the Duke of Gloucester. What a privilege.

    My wife and my mum came as my family member guests and all 3 of us chatted about how exciting it had been, how good we’d all looked and they both got a chance to meet some of the other members as well as some of the HQ staff. It was an inclusive moment that we don’t often get. The whole morning had been a triumphant success as far as we were concerned. Nobody went away disappointed, we were all smiling extremely widely.

    All too soon, it was time to bid farewell to guests and climb back on the bus to Brize where we then had the afternoon off to get ready for our Dining in Night. At 17:45 we were back in NO1s but this time in evening dress of white shirt and dickie bow. More banter and fun were had before we all walked over to the Officer’s mess for the evening’s festivities to commence.

    Pre-dinner drinks and last-minute loo stops had, it was into the dining room. The band played, the guests arrived, the colour was escorted in and food and drink were had and enjoyed by all. There were toasts and speeches and games and songs. The merriment went on for a few hours before the unveiling of who had won the ‘Guess the length of the OC’s speech’ was announced. Ben Aston was correct with his 22mins 30secs as he was only 8secs out. The partying then moved into the bar and all ranks continued to enjoy themselves into the small hours.

    A later start of 10:00 was awarded to us due to our hard work for the week. The consensus from all of us was that this has been an extraordinary week, going from zero to hero in weapon’s drill. The thanks for the 2-drill instructor Cpl’s was ringing out and the tales from previous night’s celebrations would go on. The overwhelming feelings coming from everybody was absolute pride in what we had done. The effort, the camaraderie, the banter and the feeling of inclusion was what was pouring out from all. To be a part of that is something I have only felt and witnessed since joining the RAF.

    Thank you to all who were involved in anyway shape or form. I thoroughly look forward to 10yrs time when we reach the monumental age of 100.

  4. Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Two Army Reservists from 124 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, Maidstone, were awarded with their 1st clasps last night at an award ceremony attended by VIP’s and dignitaries from across the county.

    The first clasp is an addition to a long service medal and...

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    Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Maidstone Reservists Awarded 1st Clasps to the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal

    Two Army Reservists from 124 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, Maidstone, were awarded with their 1st clasps last night at an award ceremony attended by VIP’s and dignitaries from across the county.

    The first clasp is an addition to a long service medal and is recognition of 15 years loyal service.

    Corporals Michael Marshall and Lisa Ingram, both of West Malling were awarded their citations and clasps by Mr Trevor Sturgess, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.

    Other guests included: The High Sheriff of Kent, Paul Barrett MBE; Councillor Marion Ring, Mayor of Maidstone; Mike Angell Past. KCC Chairman Deputy Commandant Colonel Richard Long Kent ACF (and councillor for Kent County Council and the families of the reservists.

    Major Paul Herlihy Officer Commanding 124 Squadron said: 

    “Our Reservists come from all walks of civilian life, many recruited from the Local Borough of Maidstone and the County of Kent. It is therefore important that we open our gates to show the local Borough what we do. Much of our training is nationally recognised, so it is possible to integrate these skills in the workplace benefitting employers.  We are proud to be part of Maidstone and our reservists are always ready serve with absolute commitment”.

    He also presented the Mayor with a RLC shield.

    Both recipients have seen combat in Iraq and travelled the world on other duties and training.

    Corporal Marshall is currently employed as the Squadron chef and is a driver for Shakespeare Transport as his day job, he said:

    “I am doing something I love and have been given so many great opportunities to travel the world and learn new things whilst getting paid for it!

    I qualified as a class 1 chef and am instructor qualified, I’ve also completed my driver’s course and become a chef production supervisor – there’s just so much variety.

    This is also a career and I feel fulfilled - if you have any spare time on your hands and want to learn a trade and escape the rat race this could be for you”.   Contd…//

    Corporal Lisa Ingram is a laboratory manager by day and said:

    “I have been to some amazing places, it’s definitely changed me as a person – I’m a qualified class 1 driver, summer mountain leader, combat marksman as well as a battlefield casualty drills trainer.

    It’s far more than a hobby and you have to juggle your commitments but the values and standards I have learnt carry through in my personal life – it’s so rewarding.

    If you’re interested in finding out more please visit: https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/the-army-reserve/

  5. EX Carribbean Express

    Having only heard about this trip a couple weeks before it started, this gave me very little time to get ready. It was a bit of a mad dash getting things together. This was my first time doing any kind of adventurous training so I did not know what to expect and found it strange going on a trip I had not planned. Especially since I didn’t know anyone who was going. We all me...

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    EX Carribbean Express

    EX Carribbean Express

    Having only heard about this trip a couple weeks before it started, this gave me very little time to get ready. It was a bit of a mad dash getting things together. This was my first time doing any kind of adventurous training so I did not know what to expect and found it strange going on a trip I had not planned. Especially since I didn’t know anyone who was going. We all met up in Gosport the night before we set off for the airport. There were 15 of us, comprising mainly of Airforce and Army with just two people from the Navy. 

     

    After our first meal together and a few drinks, we were up early in the morning to the airport. When we got off the plane we were immediately hit by the heat and the realisation we had come from a rainy Gosport to sunny St Lucia. 

     

    Over the next few days we practiced man over board drills, the basics of sailing, taking the sails up and down, as well as trying to master the many knots you have to know. The first days we had engine issues so had to spend more time in dock getting those fixed. The 15 of us were split up into 3 watches with one watch sailing one on mother cooking cleaning and making brews and one watch off. This meant that you could sail continuously day and night. We stocked up with enough food for 15 people and set off. 

     

    The first few days sailing took a while to get used to with some people succumbing to sea sickness. The good thing was our route meant we had lots of stops and time to explore on land. After our first few short trips practicing how to actually sail the boat, we started night sailing which meant we could spend more time on shore during the day and cover more distance. Night sailing was something I did not even realise was possible, and is a very strange experience navigating by the stars which were amazing due to absolutely no light pollution. During those first days at sea I really realised how much the forces love having a brew. Boat tilting 45 degree, time for a brew, middle of the night, time for a brew. Trying to make a brew is also seriously dangerous with huge waves and the boat tilting all over the place. Even though the stove was on a gimbal we had to wear our water proof salopettes which in the middle of the Caribbean in a metal boat made making brews unbearably hot. 

     

    One of the best places we visited was Antigua, a classic Caribbean island with beautiful beaches and lovely people. We docked in Nelsons dock yard, which had mega yachts everywhere you looked. In the evening, after spending the day swimming in the sea and on the beach, we went up to Shirley heights. This is located on top of one of the many hills overlooking the dockyard. There was live music and a huge BBQ, giving it a great party atmosphere. 

     

    On the trip we also visited Le Saints, Guadalupe (where death in paradise is filmed) , Bequia, St Vincent , Grenadines, Union islands, and Tobago Cays. Along the 622 miles we sailed we saw porpoises swimming alongside the boat, flying fish, and swam with turtles.

     

    Given our longest continuous sail being just under 2 days we soon learnt a lot about how to sail and enteral upkeep of the boat. Due to checks and pumping bilges having to be done every hour along with a log there was lots to do. 

     

    The 2 weeks were a once in a life time opportunity which resulted in meeting some really good people and gaining my competent crew certificate. 

     

    Pte Sammy Board,

    10 Pl HQ Coy 3PWRR

  6. Fujitsu Team Challenge - Reserves Day 2019

    The popular Fujitsu Team Challenge has attracted an impressive 170 employe...

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    Fujitsu Team Challenge - Reserves Day 2019

    Fujitsu Team Challenge - Reserves Day 2019

    The popular Fujitsu Team Challenge has attracted an impressive 170 employees on today’s Reserves Day.

    Now in its third year, the event has doubled employee entrants alongside raising money for SSAFA, as part of the Armed Forces Week.

    Lieutenant Colonel Vince Connelly, Commanding Officer 39th Signal Regiment said “Today’s been a fantastic day where we showcase the huge benefits to employers of the opportunities available to their employees from the Reserve Service. It also highlights to the employees, the wide range of transferable skills on offer.”

    Employees also enjoyed a free BBQ and ice cream, whilst escaping from the office for a day of fun and engaging activities run by our local Reservist units.

  7. 6 AAC “RUN TO THE BRIDGES”

    6 AAC “RUN TO THE BRIDGES”

    We deployed from John Howard Barracks in Milton Keynes the HQ of 678 Sqn 6 Army Air Corps on the 4th June 2019, seeing us off on their handover takeover of command was Lt Colonel M Brown and Lt Col J Lowe wishing the modern-day Glider 4 team good fortune, along with our RSM WO1 M Jarvis bidding us best speed too.

    We started this mammoth running event on Tuesday 4th June 2019 at 1800 at Tarrant Rushton airfield, given the go! go! go!  by a veteran of Gold Beach Mr Reg Charles D+18, 1 Ox and Bu...

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    6 AAC “RUN TO THE BRIDGES”

    6 AAC “RUN TO THE BRIDGES”

    6 AAC “RUN TO THE BRIDGES”

    We deployed from John Howard Barracks in Milton Keynes the HQ of 678 Sqn 6 Army Air Corps on the 4th June 2019, seeing us off on their handover takeover of command was Lt Colonel M Brown and Lt Col J Lowe wishing the modern-day Glider 4 team good fortune, along with our RSM WO1 M Jarvis bidding us best speed too.

    We started this mammoth running event on Tuesday 4th June 2019 at 1800 at Tarrant Rushton airfield, given the go! go! go!  by a veteran of Gold Beach Mr Reg Charles D+18, 1 Ox and Bucks, heading off running around Tarrant Rushton airfield perimeter, soaking up the spirits of those that flew off to fight the enemy in 1944, then heading easterly through many hot sticky tarmac miles to the first line in Portsmouth a long way away, running/walking through the New Forest into the night of the 6th under the nightly clear starry sky, eventually running around the busy morning city of Southampton, slowly past Fareham and down into the ferry port boarding the 2200hrs ferry to Ouistreham/Caen the evening on the 5th. The channel crossing was calm, and we managed to get some rest and sleep. Once docked at Ouistreham 0645 we were briefed on the day’s events that had been laid on for us, at this time 75 years ago our soldiers were landing on sword beach with a mission to cross Pegasus Bridge which had now been taken, everybody walked together the three miles (4.8km) along the Caen Canal to Pegasus Bridge and River Orne Bridge.

    Local dignitaries, huge crowds of people were there to welcome us onto and across Pegasus Bridge to Glider no 1 landing marker at Major John Howard Bust, a pipe band leading us all the way, which really boosted our thoughts and spirits, lifting us emotionally and physically for the final ten miles to come from the River Dives Bridge where Glider 4 landed. 95 soldiers and civilians started the run to the bridges in France all different ages and abilities, all arrived together in northern France to help commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, but extremely happy with our efforts so far.

    A short ceremony was held at Glider no 1 landing marker with the Mayor of Ouistreham along with Major John Howards Daughter Mrs “Penny Bates” and granddaughter Mrs Kerry Bates, many GPR friends and family were watching and listening as well as people in various re-enactment WW2 clothing who were able to learn of our achievements so far being read out by invited speakers, we all being welcomed warmly to Ouistreham France by the Mayor Mr Salvatore Bellomo. Shortly afterwards we departed by minibus to the River Dives bridge where a Plaque was placed on the small road bridge to honour the two Glider 4 GPR and the 22 Plt Ox and Bucks soldiers who mistakenly crash landed deep in German held territory in 1944, once they got out of the glider, realised they were not where they should be, regrouped won a firefight against a German patrol where some soldiers and Germans were killed, GPR and 22 Plt then had to fight and make their way back to Pegasus Bridge, 10 miles away to re-join D Company through flooded lands and German fighting patrols.

    “Run to the Bridges” was organised by the Veterans Charity (VC) to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the World War II mission embarked upon by British Glider Pilots Regiment (GPR) and Oxford and Buckinghamshire (Ox and Bucks) troops, who took off from Tarrant Rushton airfield late evening on the 5th  June 1944. The 6 AAC runners included 1 Officer, 5 Soldiers 1 of the 5 joining from 3 AAC along with 3 soldiers as admin support throughout from 6 AAC, we all finished this ultra-75th commemoration at Pegasus Bridge as a team after running back from the River Dives Bridge, which was the Glider 4 landing Position on the 6th June 1944.

    All runners who took part in the event, were each wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of one of the 186 GPR and Ox and Bucks soldiers who took off from Tarrant Rushton to start D-Day for real called Operation Deadstick. The AAC runners were and wore the following t shirts: Captain Dutch Holland was L/sgt Tich Rayner Ox & Bucks, Sgt Ade Bell was SSgt Lawrence GPR, Sgt Taff Williams was SSgt Shorter GPR, Sgt Geoff Baulk was Sjt Barwick Ox & Bucks, Cpl Lee Doran was Cpl Bateman Ox & Bucks, Airtpr Terry Webb was Pte Everett Ox & Bucks. Admin Team: WO2 Savill 678 Sqn, Airtpr Page 678 Sqn & Airtpr Atkinson 677 Sqn supported us outstandingly throughout mainly with cups of tea every 5 miles.

    We all embraced what this ultra-run/walk about as a commemoration in honouring and not forgetting all the men who took the Pegasus, Horsa and Dives Bridges also not forgetting all those who were involved in getting off  the 5 beaches and those that were Glided in throughout the coming days after D Day by the magnificent GPR. We were all immensely proud and it was extremely humbling and physical endurance experience. “The original D Day mission was a Coup de Main (surprise attack) to seize Pegasus and Horsa bridges and marked the first combat operation of the D-Day landings. Horsa Gliders flown by the GPR towed by Halifax Bombers across the channel were used to crash land troops near to the bridges as possible with the instructions to capture and hold the strategic position until relieved. It is considered by many historians and Generals of the time to have been instrumental to the success of the D Day landings. As an AAC team we have raised over £6000, we are truly delighted with all our supporters both military and civilian, Thank you. If you are inspired by our efforts and want to test your long distance running or walking in the steps of the GPR or Ox and Bucks, please look at the Forces March 5 marathons 5 days with the Veterans Charity during 20-24 May 2020.

  8. RMR City of London support to the RM Corps Family

    RMR City of London support to the RM Corps Family

    Zeebrugge 2019, RMR London Pay their Respects 101 years On - WO1 Mick Wakeham RN.

    After last year’s high profile one hundredth anniversary of the Zeebrugge Raid which saw many VIP’s including Princess Anne, this was a much lower key event. Despite this, there was no lack of enthusiasm and respect from the hundreds who attended the various memorial ceremonies. Lt Col Jason Durup RM and WO1 Mick Wakeham (RN) represented RMR City of London and were hosted by members of the City of London Branch RMA. Travelling with the RMA members and two buglers by coach and ferry we were made very welcome by the very lively former Bootnecks who were in high sp...

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    RMR City of London support to the RM Corps Family

    RMR City of London support to the RM Corps Family

    RMR City of London support to the RM Corps Family

    Zeebrugge 2019, RMR London Pay their Respects 101 years On - WO1 Mick Wakeham RN.

    After last year’s high profile one hundredth anniversary of the Zeebrugge Raid which saw many VIP’s including Princess Anne, this was a much lower key event. Despite this, there was no lack of enthusiasm and respect from the hundreds who attended the various memorial ceremonies. Lt Col Jason Durup RM and WO1 Mick Wakeham (RN) represented RMR City of London and were hosted by members of the City of London Branch RMA. Travelling with the RMA members and two buglers by coach and ferry we were made very welcome by the very lively former Bootnecks who were in high spirits with plenty of spirits being consumed. The banter both on the journey and throughout the weekend was of the highest order, clearly age does not water down Royal’s sense of humour.

    The mood of course changed to one of reflection and appreciation as we attended the ceremonies marking the most audacious raid of the First World War where many brave volunteers lost their lives and eight Victoria Crosses were awarded. It was a great honour for the Unit to have the annual responsibility of reading out the Citation and Naval Prayer at the, frequently windswept, ceremonies at the memorial at Zeedijk, St Donaaskerk and Fisherman’s Cross. Throughout the weekend the comradeship between the Belgian Feestcomite, the RMA and RM/RN representatives was unequivocal. This commitment to an annual event marking the raid illustrated how eternally grateful the Belgian’s are for the actions of such brave men on St Georges day 1918 and how they will continue to be remembered well into the future.

    Following in the Footsteps of 47 (Royal Marine) Commando - WO2 'Bungy' Williams RMR.

    On the 6th June 1944, 47 Commando Royal Marines were heading into Gold beach as part of the third wave. As their landing craft approached the shore Colonel Phillips, their Commanding Officer realised they were heading to the wrong part of the beach and ordered the craft to turn so they could manoeuvre to the correct area of the beach. It was around 0950 in the morning which was the worst time of day for the tide as it concealed the mines and underwater obstacles. Add to this the landing craft had now broadsided themselves to the beach to find the correct landing point which made them easy pickings for the German guns. On the final approach to the beach 5 landing crafts were sunk and all suffered some form of damage with the human cost being 76 casualties out of the 420 men. However, 47 Commando made it to the beach and managed to get ashore under heavy fire with some having to swim the final fifty yards. Sgt Gardener reportedly heard one of his marines’ comment “Perhaps we are intruding, this seems to be a private beach”. This however, was only the start of their remarkable journey.

    It was with a mixture of units from the Royal Marines both regular and reserve that I had the great pleasure to attend the celebrations to mark 75 years of D-Day. Marines from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM), Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Royal Marines Poole and Royal Marines Reserve City of London (RMR London) camped out on a football pitch in the small fishing town of Port en Bessin. This small fishing town was the main objective of 47 Commando with instructions to take and hold it at all cost as this was to form the base for the Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO), the main fuel supply for the allies advance into France after D-Day. Port en Bessin is situated around 12 miles west of GOLD beach and the route that 47 Commando took from GOLD beach to Port en Bessin was to be re-traced 75 years later by Royal Marine’s past and present along with families and friends of those who originally served and fought there way through the French countryside.

     

     

    6th June 2019 started with a memorial on the sands of GOLD beach with speeches from the local Mayor and COs 1AGRM, the Role of Honour of those lost at the beach was read by CO RMR London and the Kohima Epitaph was read by D-Day veteran, Les Birch from the Royal Engineers. This was followed by an exchange of gifts between current Royal Marines and local school children. After the service the large crowd of over two hundred people moved off from the beach heading inland lead by both COs and French dignitaries. It was here that participants for the yomp were split into groups and headed off to the start point to follow the route that 47 Commando took to Port en Bessin.

    Each group was given a troop letter replicating the troops of 47 Commando - Alpha, Bravo, X-ray, Yankee, Quebec and HQ troops. As each group started they were given a SITREP by CO RMR London, Lt Col Jason Durup RM, which set out the battle picture that 47 Commando were facing at the time. This gave great insight into the task they faced and included reflections and quotes from Royal Marines who made this journey 75 years ago. Once completed we set off heading inland before turning west towards Port en Bessin. Along the route there were 47 information cards stating key events along route. These messages gave a real insight to the trials and tribulations faced by 47 Commando as they made their way to Port en Bessin. They ranged from points where tragedy struck with Mne Lumsden (19 years old) being killed by a sniper to the more light hearted like the capture of a German SNCO on his way to a little extracurricular activity. The narrative of events also came at regular intervals from CO 1AGRM, Col Chris Haw and USM RMR London, WO2 Jack Ramsey RM. One of which was at the lunch stop, Abbaye Sainte-Marie, which was used as a regimental aid post during D-Day and the days that followed.

    The yomp continued through the countryside of Normandy until we reached 47 Commandos final assembly point, Le Mont, as they prepared to take on their objective of Port en Bessin (this was still in enemy hands when they arrived). This area gave a dominating view of Port en Bessin with both eastern and western cliff heads clearly visible. Here we were read the actual set of orders that were given to the men of 47 Commando before they moved off for their final attack on the town on the 7th June. We then moved off through the streets of Port en Bessin and unlike 47 Commando we finished the march at the 47 café on the waterfront to cheering crowds and a small alcoholic refreshment.

    It took 47 Commando over 24 hours to reach Port en Bessin and the town was liberated on the 7th June. So, it was only fitting that on the 7th June we returned and conducted memorial services on both eastern and western heads and the seafront. This was attended by Royal Marines from various units alongside family and friends from the original 47 Commando, members of the 47 Commando Association and the Royal Marines Association. The rain stayed away out of respect and the afternoon involved a parade through the town in front of large crowds as we all acknowledged both the brave men of 47 Commando and the courageous people of Port en Bessin who also paid a heavy price during the liberation of their town.

     

     

  9. 254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    The 254 Ski team were an unknown entity; comprised of those who had responded to the Defence Connect call for interest but skill levels for now unaccounted for!  The team comprised of Maj Susie King, Capt Dan Worley, WO1 (RSM) Paul Stockwell, SSgt Dave Roffey, Cpl Alice Phillips, LCpl Trustram-Eve, Pte Josh Ager and Pte Jake Halls.  It had been short notice between receiving the Admin Order, getting a Business Case through and all the preparatory admin required to secure the team 2 weeks training.  It was a long drive over to the Alps but travelling at night and in two cars rather than vans, went surprisingly well with the team arriving in resort by 07:30am on 27 Jan 19.  The organisation and MCCP for the exercise was very slick and it wasn’t long before we were recovering from our long journey and settling into our lovely alpine accommodation, with a delicious home cooked evening meal by Pte Ager. 

    There was not oodles of snow but waking up the first morning we were all keen to get up higher into the mountains and remind ourselves we could ski.  The first few days consisted of instruction.   Maj King and Pte Halls were in the Advanced groups and spent most of those first days trying to track the instructor down across the mountain!  Cpl Phillips and LCpl Trustram-Eve were lucky enough to have the RSM as their instructo...

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    254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    The 254 Ski team were an unknown entity; comprised of those who had responded to the Defence Connect call for interest but skill levels for now unaccounted for!  The team comprised of Maj Susie King, Capt Dan Worley, WO1 (RSM) Paul Stockwell, SSgt Dave Roffey, Cpl Alice Phillips, LCpl Trustram-Eve, Pte Josh Ager and Pte Jake Halls.  It had been short notice between receiving the Admin Order, getting a Business Case through and all the preparatory admin required to secure the team 2 weeks training.  It was a long drive over to the Alps but travelling at night and in two cars rather than vans, went surprisingly well with the team arriving in resort by 07:30am on 27 Jan 19.  The organisation and MCCP for the exercise was very slick and it wasn’t long before we were recovering from our long journey and settling into our lovely alpine accommodation, with a delicious home cooked evening meal by Pte Ager. 

    There was not oodles of snow but waking up the first morning we were all keen to get up higher into the mountains and remind ourselves we could ski.  The first few days consisted of instruction.   Maj King and Pte Halls were in the Advanced groups and spent most of those first days trying to track the instructor down across the mountain!  Cpl Phillips and LCpl Trustram-Eve were lucky enough to have the RSM as their instructor in the Intermediate group.  Capt Worley, SSgt Roffey and Pte Ager were in the higher Intermediate group and luckily their instructor survived the moment when Pte Ager decided to take him out with a sliding stop! 

    This little incident (following on from the RSM’s decision to transport and subsequent spillage of raw eggs which saw him nominated) lead to their being a moose helmet cover that had to be worn by the person who had done the silliest thing the previous day.  The Regimental Go-Pro produced some good footage during the week but sadly it failed to catch another ‘moose’ worthy episode when LCpl Trustram-Eve wiped out a 6 -year old (unharmed).  Somehow missing out on being awarded the accolade, Maj King gave herself black toes by wearing her old ski boots which it turned out no longer fit her.  The cold reduced the ability to feel what pain they were in so by the end of Day 2 the benefit to having nurses such as Cpl Phillips on the team, was realised.  After dinner entertainment that night was watching her big toes being lanced. 

    All of us had skied before but the majority had not raced so when there were GS courses set up for the skiers to try everyone seemed to enjoy getting around the gates and letting their competitive sides come out.  In-between the race training there was time to ski as a team which proved excellent fun.  Pte Halls had been an ardent user of ‘blades’ prior to the trip but was managing to get used to skiing with poles and much longer skis, even though he did spend the first week seemingly with his hands in his pockets.  We also did some cross-training after coming down from the hill; the usual ‘speedos only’ rule being in full force in the village swimming pool.  All too soon it was the end of the training phase and the Seeding Race was upon us.

    There were definite nerves around the breakfast table for the morning of the Seeding Race.  Only Maj King and RSM Stockwell had raced before; for the rest it was heading into the unknown.  The lifts were open early for us and by 0830am we were up and, on the course, ‘inspection’.  Skiers are not allowed to ski through the gates but can identify the line to take; where the tricky areas are and where more speed can be gained.  An hour later and the ‘Vorlauf’ (forerunner) was making his way (quickly) down, watched slightly in awe by those at the café conveniently placed at the end of the race

    All the team had good first runs, completing the course.  Maj King finished in 49.11, 10 seconds off the pace of the skier in 1st.  RSM Stockwell fell but managed to still post a good time of 53.72, Pte Halls was down in 51.27 and Pte Ager in 49.56 which was impressive given the latter two had never raced before.  SSgt Roffey was finished in 54.59, Capt Worley in 1:03.27, LCpl Trustram-Eve in 1:06.02 and Cpl Phillips in 1:14.39.  After the first run the course is reset and another viewing takes place.  Everyone was looking forward to throwing themselves into the second go and another set of clear runs was obtained with the overall placing being a combined time from both runs.  Maj King finished in 52.60 and was 33rd overall, Pte Halls in 54.50 and 44th, Pte Ager 56.79 and 48th and RSM Stockwell stayed on his feet this time to complete in 55.15 and finished 56th.  SSgt Roffey did a fantastic 58.08 and finished 64th, LCpl Trustram-Eve was 1:10.81 in 121st, Capt Worley 1:15.04 in 125th and Cpl Phillips was one of very few to go faster in the second run, with a time of 1:13.54 and finishing overall in 135thplace.  This is out of a field of just short of 300 skiers, testament to the potential of this squad of skiers and how much those most inexperienced skiers had improved in a short space of time.  After this successful first day of racing the team enjoyed skiing for fun in the afternoon and tackled the black down to the bottom not once, but twice.  The Intermediate group skiers really showing masses of improvement in skills and confidence. 

    That evening as the snow began to fall we celebrated with a drink with dinner; the next day was a day of Nordic racing and so we were only volunteering!  The 8 team members got to the Nordic range as requested nice and early and of course it was a bit of ‘hurry up and wait’.  The race was a team relay where each of 4 members completed a 5km loop.  Ordinarily this would be hard, especially for those who had only learned over the last few days.  However, in fresh powder where the snow continued to fall, and visibility was limited, it really was an achievement just to get around.  254 Med Regt took their supporting and cheering duties very seriously; tunes playing on the portable speaker and endless encouragement for the teams taking part.  All the team agreed that they would wish to compete in the Nordic element next year as it looked strangely satisfying.  The snow continued to fall that night through to the next morning and over 1m had transformed the village into picture postcard perfect.

    Skiing that next day proved tricky as the runs were not pisted.  However, plenty of shopping and admin could be caught up on.  The speed race was sadly cancelled due to the snow and so Sunday was a free ski day.  The conditions were fantastic, and the team had a good day of skiing.  Unfortunately, early on that morning SSgt Roffey had a fall on a blue run we’d done many times before, which he couldn’t just bounce back from.  He gingerly managed to ski down to the top of the gondola and Maj King took him to the hospital in Briancon where much waiting took place, but surgery was avoided, them not having the best orthopaedic reputation.  Whilst they were there the rest of the team enjoyed one of the best days skiing.  Cpl Phillips got a ‘re-show’ on the DOTD helmet to losing a ski when getting on a chairlift.

    The seeding all seemed a bit ‘smoke and mirrors’ but as people arrived from the Army Championships, the seedings were altered for the following day.  So, despite our Seeding race results we were immediately bumped down a few places due to the arrival of the ‘ringers’.  The GS ‘A’ race took place on Monday of week 2; the top 100 skiers from the seeding (PHOTO).  The course on inspection looked trickier than anything the team had done before and when the forlauf runners went down 2 of the 3 of them nearly fell which did not bode well.  It was a bit of a lesson in racing.  Maj King’s time was 51.86, Pte Halls was 57.79, WO1 Stockwell was 1:02.87 and Pte Ager 1:30.50 after a bit of a disagreement with some gates.  The second run was no easier and it saw Maj King post a time of 54.01 and Pte Halls 58.31.  Unfortunately, the RSM was disqualified and Pte Ager abandoned after a fall so the team, which needed to have 3 complete run times, didn’t post an overall team result.  The RSM wasn’t convinced he had missed a gate but looking back at it, the team just did well to get down what was a long and tricky course.  Pte Halls was 51st overall and Maj King was 29th, receiving a medal for 2nd Reservist female and being subject to the traditional ‘snowballing’ on the podium.  After the racing that evening was a torchlight descent.  Snaking down the black run into the village holding two burning flames seemed a less good idea when we were on the mountain; the RSM nearly wiping (probably fairly) a snowboarder out and many a pair of gloves catching fire.  It didn’t go on too long though and before long the team were enjoying Jaegers in the classic Après Ski bar ‘Le Chazelay’.  The next day was the Nordic 10 km race and most of the team supported that, with much better weather favouring all the race week after the deluge of snow.  The others rallied around SSgt Roffey who was going slightly stir crazy in the apartment on his own. 

    The Wednesday saw both ‘A’ and ‘B’ Slalom races taking place and even the more experienced members of the team were surprised at the length and complexity of the course.  The practise run quickly turned into a toboggan run but in fact conditions were perfect’ the sun shone, and sun cream had to be applied!  On the first run WO1 Stockwell flew down in 57.57 and finished in an excellent 29th place, half a second ahead of Maj King.  Pte Halls was 1:00.34 and Pte Ager 1:06.84.  The second run was no easier in terms of technicality and in fact was about 10 seconds longer for all racers.  Spurred on to beat the RSM, Maj King finished the second run in 1:08.57, WO1 Stockwell 1:11.08, Pte Halls 1:12.80 and Pte Ager 1:27.13 after what can only be described as a pirouette around the last two gates.  Final placing in the Slalom ‘A’ race was Maj King in 26th (and another 2nd place Reservist medal), WO1 Stockwell in 29th, Pte Halls in 33rd and Pte Ager in 64th.  The team were 2nd Reserve team and show promise for next season.  The B Race had a separate course which was only fair as the course gets very icy and difficult to navigate once 100 skiers have been down it.  Because SSgt Roffey was awaiting MEDEVAC back to UK and Capt Worley had twisted his ankle no team result would be possible, but this allowed the two remaining members to push themselves for their individual result.   LCpl Trustram-Eve posted a great time of 33.11 finishing 4th and Cpl Phillips completed the course in 37.60.  Skiers start the 2nd run in the order they finished the 1st so Pte Halls got nice fresh tracks for his.  He moved up to 4th overall by posting a fantastic second run time of 36.87.  Sadly, Cpl Phillips missed the last gate and so was disqualified but they should both be commended for completing slalom runs; one of the most technical disciplines in Alpine Skiing.

    The Thursday was the last day’s skiing and saw the completion of the GS ‘B’ race which saw the skiers complete a run almost as long as the ‘A’ race but much easier in terms of rhythm to the course.  The ‘A’ team all wanted to have a go down it!  Capt Worley had a word with himself and got on with the task in hand.  He was down in 1:04.43, Cpl Phillips was 1:03.38 and LCpl Trustram-Eve in an amazing 54.56.  The second runs were equally impressive.  LCpl Trustram-Eve managed 1:01.58 and overall finished in 8th place.  Cpl Phillips was 1:08.33 which brought her to 35th and Capt Worley skied in 1:13.15 and 44th overall.  The team enjoyed the rest of that afternoon with the Luc Alphond black in Chantermerle and ski cross park proving great entertainment.  A team dinner that evening saw the skiers eat their bodyweight in meat and cheese in a traditional ‘Raclette’ and a few cocktails followed.  The next day was the Patrol Race which sounds like the Cambrian of the Nordic world followed by packing and the awards ceremony.  Plans for next year’s events are already underway by the Committee, who spoke of ski cross competitions and training camps, music to the ears of Cpl Phillips.  Various ideas have been identified for the Regiment going forward; more training which includes strength training, taking part in the Nordic element next year and perhaps taking a few more skiers including females and novices.  Thank you to those who funded us, supported us and of course the skiers for pushing themselves in the competition.

  10. 151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

     

    151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps is proud to have some of the finest soldiers serving within its ranks. People like Corporal Lisa Ingram, who has been ...

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    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

     

    151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps is proud to have some of the finest soldiers serving within its ranks. People like Corporal Lisa Ingram, who has been notified by the Commanding Officer that she is to receive the Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours announced today.

     

    Lisa is a Marksman and one of the Army’s top shots.  She developed a keen interest in shooting which began in 2002. Soon after becoming top shot at the Regimental Skill at Arms competition Lisa joined the Regimental shooting team. Within her first year shooting she was within the top 50 Army Reservists competing at Bisley. She has been in the top 20 every year since. Lisa has won the RLC Corps Operational Shooting Competition on several occasions and continues to be part of the winning team.  Selected to represent the Army Reserve Operational Shooting Team Lisa has also competed in numerous international competitions.

     

    Lisa is also a Section Corporal with 124 Transport Squadron based in Maidstone Kent.  When she is not shooting, Lisa commands a section of drivers operating LGV vehicles moving ammunition and commodities where ever the Army needs it. Her skills being operationally tested when deployed during Operation TELIC in Iraq.

     

    Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Dave Miller said, “Lisa typifies the selfless commitment displayed by our Reservists and the contribution they make to defence. This award recognises the incredible achievements Lisa has made throughout her military career and is testament to the opportunities available to all”. 

     

    On receiving the news Lisa said “Being a member of the Reserves has given me the opportunity to really challenge myself as part of a team.  To be recognised in this way is a fantastic honour, I was delighted when informed and excited at the thought receiving the award”.

     

    The Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) was created by Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II on 29 March 1999.Only 13 Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medals may be awarded in a year. The medal is presented only to members of the Volunteer Reserves of the British Armed Services for exemplary meritorious service in the conduct of their duties.

  11. FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB and X-Forces invite businesses to Armed Forces Covenant event

    • Tom Tugendhat MP and Ren Kapur MBE to discuss the benefits ex-forces personnel bring to industry at a Tunbridge Wells’ event on 21 June 2019.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in partnership with X-Forces Ente...

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    FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB and X-Forces invite businesses to Armed Forces Covenant event

    • Tom Tugendhat MP and Ren Kapur MBE to discuss the benefits ex-forces personnel bring to industry at a Tunbridge Wells’ event on 21 June 2019.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in partnership with X-Forces Enterprise (XFE)  is inviting business owners to hear from Tom Tugendhat MP alongside Ren Kapur MBE, Barry Thompson of Me:Now; Kate Lole from the Ministry of Defence; Shaun Micallef-Green of The Rift Group and Lisa Marr from Veterans Employment Transition Support (VETS) at a special event in the run up to Armed Forces Day.

    1,200 start-ups have been born out of the military community over the past four years, according to XFE. With around 925,000 veterans of working age, FSB Area Leader Deborah Turner says there are opportunities for many more to start their own business following military service.

    Deborah Turner says: “Many skills learned in the forces are absolutely key to running a business – technical skills, logistics, leadership and management. Plus, of course, tenacity and resilience. Plus, with one third of firms struggling to recruit, an open recruitment policy is essential for businesses to thrive. This event will highlight ways in which both businesses and ex-forces personnel can benefit.”

    FSB Members Debbie Scott of Scott Communications, and Dominic Offord of TN4 have volunteered their time to curate the event.

    Debbie Scott says: As an FSB member and former Naval reservist, I was delighted to hear that FSB supports X-Forces. It can be hard to find the right support and advice on leaving military service. We hope to raise awareness of the expert skills and resilience ex-forces members can bring to business, as well as show how businesses can do more to support those leaving the armed forces by signing up to the Covenant.”

    Dominic Offord says: “When I left the Navy I knew I had useful leadership and strategy setting skills but knowing what to do with them, and where to work next, was difficult. Organisations such as FSB and X-Forces can literally be a lifeline to those of us wanting to continue to contribute to society, but in a different way from service.”

    Armed Forces Event

    Business owners, managers and ex-Forces personnel of all ranks are invited to join the panel debate and event:

    Friday 21 June 2019

    The Ephraim Suite, Royal Wells Hotel, Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells

    08.45am to 12 noon

    Free to attend.

    To book email sarah.lilly@fsb.org.uk or register here http://bit.ly/2YlPE0a

  12. Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Over the weekend of 26-28th of April, a team of eight cadets from our CCF at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School competed in the national Cadet Cambrian Patrol. We had been preparing for this annual competition since the beginning of September, with early morning fitness sessions before school and lunchtime fieldcraft revision, as it one of the most challenging competitions a cadet can take p...

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    Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Over the weekend of 26-28th of April, a team of eight cadets from our CCF at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School competed in the national Cadet Cambrian Patrol. We had been preparing for this annual competition since the beginning of September, with early morning fitness sessions before school and lunchtime fieldcraft revision, as it one of the most challenging competitions a cadet can take part in. 

    Cambrian takes place in the Brecon Beacons, which meant a long journey from Kent to Wales for the team and our officers, in a minibus packed full of kit. As soon as we arrived at 7 pm on Friday, the competition began immediately with a marked kit check to ensure we had everything we needed. After we were briefed on what the weekend would involve, it was then straight to sleep as early as possible for the entire team, as we would need as much energy as we could get.

    At 4 am the next morning we had to start getting ready for the main competition day, after only a few hours of disturbed sleep due to the raging storm outside. By 6:15 am we were ready at our start point. The competition involves completing a 30 km circuit in under 12 hours, with all the teams starting in different locations and stopping at checkpoints along the way. At some of these, we had marked tasks to do, which would comprise the majority of the marks available in the whole competition. At 6:30 the 12 hours began, which commenced for our team by crawling through the freezing mud and rain into a position where we had to carry out a defensive shoot, firing at targets ahead of us that popped up at random. We then started the long walk, already soaking wet and cold. By this time the rain had turned to powerful hail. It had somehow got even colder and windier than it had been before, with strong gusts that made some of our smaller cadet’s fall over. Our team moved as quickly as possible, so early on we managed to overtake a couple of other teams. We gradually got through more and more of the distance and checkpoints, stopping along the way to complete a military knowledge test, a section attack using laser guns, range cards and a first aid scenario.

    With several hours remaining we had just one more checkpoint to reach before we would return to our start point- meaning completion of the circuit. However, these two final legs of the distance happened to be the longest and steepest of the entire route, with several precarious river crossings along the way. By this point, we were all very tired, cold and in pain with an impressive collection of blisters between us, but we kept our spirits high as we knew we were nearly there. At some points along this final 6 km, we seemed to be making no progress, seemingly having to stop every few metres and struggling to make it up to the top of the steep hills. Eventually, we spotted the TWGGS minibus in the distance, where our officers were waiting nervously to see if we would be able to finish within the time, at the top of one final hill. The whole team completed the circuit together at 5:45 pm, with 45 minutes to spare. We then went back to the old cattle barn where we had slept the night before for a well-earned meal and night's sleep.

    Early the next morning we woke up and walked a final 3 km walk toward the firing ranges. Despite being sore from the day before, we arrived at in just over half an hour and completed the final scored part of Cambrian- a shoot of 15 rounds of ammunition fired from sitting, kneeling and lying down. After cleaning our faces, boots, and weapons, the 16 teams of cadets from all over the UK who had taken part, lined up for the parade. Each team was given an award: certificate, bronze, silver or gold, with several teams winning each type of medal. When it was announced that our team had won gold, we were unbelievably proud of all that we had done that weekend, as well as the countless hours of preparation we had spent leading up to that moment.  Next, the Brigadier announced the best commander and the best overall national team. Already very pleased with our gold medal, we were surprised to be told that we had won the award for the best national team and had won the whole competition- for the second year in a row!