• Supporting Reserve Forces and Cadets in the South East

    Reserves & Cadets
  1. Taking on the British Weather - from Radiant Sunshine to Gale Force Winds

    Taking on the British Weather - from Radiant Sunshine to Gale Force Winds

    Members of the Waterloo Band & Bugles of The Rifles put down their instruments this autumn for two weekends of their Adventure Trai...

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    Taking on the British Weather - from Radiant Sunshine to Gale Force Winds

    Taking on the British Weather - from Radiant Sunshine to Gale Force Winds

    Taking on the British Weather - from Radiant Sunshine to Gale Force Winds

    Members of the Waterloo Band & Bugles of The Rifles put down their instruments this autumn for two weekends of their Adventure Training. Their choice of weapon – a 34ft yacht chartered from the Joint Services Adventure Sail Training Centre (JSASTC).

    The two expeditions were organised by Musician Steph Hicks who recently completed her Day Skipper qualification at JSASTC. She bravely offered to take out two groups of novices with a sense of blissful optimism about teaching them to sail in the space of two days. What could go wrong?!

    With their beady eyes on the weather forecast, the crew arrived for each expedition awaiting the verdict on whether we would be able to sail. In true British fashion, the weather chose to throw at us the two situations in which sailing is most difficult – the blissful calm of a heat wave and the howling gales of a storm warning.  The conditions couldn’t have been more of a contrast!

     In September the crew arrived in shorts, clutching their speedos and fishing gear. Despite dubious looks from the Skipper, the weather was in fact calm enough for a dip in the Solent and some mackerel fishing off the back of the boat. The crew can take full credit for trying their best to blow some wind into the sails, but to no avail.

    In October the crew arrived in their fleeces and waterproofs, desperately trying to stay upright as the wind was blowing them sideways off the pontoon. After motoring out into the Solent to get a taste of the conditions we settled on sailing in the relative shelter of Portsmouth harbour with a storm sail equivalent to a large handkerchief. As we picked up the pace with our storm sail the crew began to understand why the Skipper had vetoed anything larger.

    So what went wrong? Well, nothing really! The aim of Adventure Training is to push people out of their comfort zone and build up their team-working skills – the crew certainly achieved that. Thankfully they also remembered to pack their sense of humour, no-one was left flailing in the waves of the Solent and we successfully navigated our way around the busiest waterway in Europe. Not only did both crews come on leaps and bounds in their sailing skills within boundaries of contrasting weather conditions, but they took on the challenge with enthusiasm and a spirit of adventure.

    Musician Steph Hicks, Waterloo Band & Bugles of The Rifles

  2. A Personal Account of Hurricane Dorian By Pte Eastlake.

    A Personal Account of Hurricane Dorian By Pte Eastlake.

     

    My name is Private Eastlake. I am a reserve Royal Logistics Corps Mariner Class 3 from 165 Port & Maritime Regiment, 266 Port Squadron. At the time of writing this I am deployed with our regular sister regiment, 17 Port & Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, aboard RFA Mounts Bay as part of Atlantic Patrol Task (North). Our role here is to provide Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief to the islands of the Caribbean during hurricane season. It is a six month deployment and my role is part of the Mexeflote crew. Mexeflote is the name given to a series of linked pontoons which in its standard configuration forms an 18 cell raft. Mexeflotes are responsible for transporting stores, personnel and equipment from ship to ship, ship to shore or shore to ship. With two Thrustmaster 5.9L straight 6 turbo diesel engines, it has a max peacetime payload of 110 Tons. The Mexeflote is controlled and navigated with h...

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    A Personal Account of Hurricane Dorian By Pte Eastlake.

    A Personal Account of Hurricane Dorian By Pte Eastlake.

    A Personal Account of Hurricane Dorian By Pte Eastlake.

     

    My name is Private Eastlake. I am a reserve Royal Logistics Corps Mariner Class 3 from 165 Port & Maritime Regiment, 266 Port Squadron. At the time of writing this I am deployed with our regular sister regiment, 17 Port & Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, aboard RFA Mounts Bay as part of Atlantic Patrol Task (North). Our role here is to provide Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief to the islands of the Caribbean during hurricane season. It is a six month deployment and my role is part of the Mexeflote crew. Mexeflote is the name given to a series of linked pontoons which in its standard configuration forms an 18 cell raft. Mexeflotes are responsible for transporting stores, personnel and equipment from ship to ship, ship to shore or shore to ship. With two Thrustmaster 5.9L straight 6 turbo diesel engines, it has a max peacetime payload of 110 Tons. The Mexeflote is controlled and navigated with hand signals given to the engineers who work the two engines (top right, at the helm of the Mexe alongside the coxswain who has a hand held GPS).

    When Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands, it caused massive devastation. Hurricane Dorian was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the North Atlantic, and it was very slow moving, so it took a very long time to pass over the islands resulting in catastrophic damage. (Left, taken from the ships helicopter, the damage caused to Great Abaco. Barely a building left standing as far as the eye can see). Within hours of the hurricane moving away form the islands, and back out to sea this was the first area we were able to respond to.

     

    Arriving at Marsh Harbour, (left), it was immediately clear just how much damage had been caused by Hurricane Dorian. Damage, destruction and death on a level I and many of our crew had never witnessed before. It immediately became clear just how desperate the survivors were for the aid we were able to offer. There was little of no fresh water available, limited medical supplies and little shelter available, so our first run ashore consisted mainly of these items. For many of my Mexe crew and I this was the first time we had ever used the Mexe outside of a training environment, and initially it seemed exciting, as though we were embarking on an adventure into unfamiliar waters. Within minutes of landing in this first area however it dawned on all of us just how serious a situation we were faced with. These people who remained on the islands had lost everything, and to a certain degree their survival now depended on us and the aid we could deliver. The general feeling changed immediately from one of excitement and adventure, to one of an extreme need to help these survivors in whatever way we could.

     

    Our next priority was to land ashore HADR Troop (Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief, comprising of Commando Engineers from the Royal Engineers and Royal Marines), so they could begin clearing roads with their heavy plant and other equipment, allowing the local emergency services to start to work, and to restore power by use of mobile generators to essential buildings i.e. the local medical centre and local morgue. A suitable beach, Treasure Cay, was chosen for the landing, but as there was no hard slipway to land them we deployed with our Port Operators

     and their track way so they could make a temporary slipway on the beach (left and below).

     

    Shortly after returning to the ship, reports started to arrive of an island, Little Abaco, that had been cut off from the main island as the bridge was down due to the hurricane. These people were in desperate need of help, having gone several days now with no fresh water at all, and limited medical supplies. Once again we swung into action. We had a limited supply of bottled water on board the ship, however the ship is capable of producing its own fresh water and the pipe (message over the ships tannoy) was made. The Captain explaining how desperate these people were, and their now critical need for fresh water. The Captain asked for volunteers to start to fill the soft plastic water containers from any available fresh water outlet aboard the ship, and what happened next was amazing…… for the entire night, it seemed as though every member of the ships crew, regardless of rank and service, was by a water outlet, be it on the flight deck, in the galley, in the bar, anywhere there was a tap, filling containers of water until every container was full. As soon as all containers were full the task of loading the Mexe began again with many of us having had little or no sleep. Usually the job of loading the

    Mexe would be down to our Port Operators, but with so much to be hand balled on, and with us all being aware of just how critical these supplies were, the whole ships company came together once again, regardless of rank and service, and human chains were formed to load whatever couldn’t be loaded using forklifts.

     

    As soon as the Mexe was once again fully loaded we set off for Little Abaco, many of us having been able to grab only a couple of hours sleep if any.

     

    Arriving at Coopers Town, Little Abaco, the destruction caused by the hurricane was once again abundantly clear. As was the need for the supplies of fresh water, medical supplies, temporary shelters and food rations that we had aboard. We had to make a slow and careful approach to the slipway, as the depth of water was inconsistent and there were several underwater obstructions that had to be avoided. Luckily we had a very experienced coxswain in Corporal Keogh who throughout this deployment, always managed to get us where we needed, often in very challenging conditions. Once we were secure to the slip way the task of unloading began.

                                                                          

    Once we had again unloaded the Mexe, which took until dusk, we cast off and headed back for the ship arriving several hours later. While we had been at Little Abaco, another area on the main island had been identified as having a good solid slip way, secure storage area and even a warehouse that had stood up well to the hurricane. The decision was made that we would concentrate on landing the remainder of the ships disaster relief stores here as it would make an ideal distribution hub. HADR Troop was also working their way towards it clearing main roads as they went making it accessible to the islands own emergency services. So once again upon our return to the ship the process of loading continued well into the night with little or no rest for any of us.

     

    Once we were again fully loaded, we departed for what would now be the forth time, leaving the dock of the ship in the very early hours of the morning and heading off into the night. We arrived at our fourth destination an hour or two later, having had a little difficulty in the final approach due to a lateral marker buoy having been ripped from it’s anchorage by the hurricane and being blown up onto the land some distance from it’s original place adding to the challenge of navigating at night on the sea. Having secured to the slipway the task of unloading the Mexe began once again.

     

    The task of unloading carried on through the remainder of the night, past dawn and into the early hours of the morning. (Left, Port Op’s unloading pallets of aid from the Mexe to be deposited in the secure compound). At this point we were under the impression that once unloaded, HADR Troop would have arrived having cleared the way from the location we dropped them at several days earlier, and that we would load them up and return to the ship for a well earned rest. However this was not to be the case. As is often the case in operations on this scale things can change at the last minute, so we were tasked to head back to the ship and reload the Mexe with the last of the relief aid onboard, literally emptying the ship of every last pallet and box of aid and return once more to unload and recover HADR Troop and their equipment.

     

    Having arrived back at the ship and with the very last of the ships relief aid stores loaded we set of for what would be the last trip. To drop of the last of the aid and to recover HADR Troop, along with their equipment back to RFA Mounts Bay.

     

     

    Sailing this time in daylight made the journey considerably easier to navigate, and arriving safely we secured to the slipway and unloaded the remainder of the stores. HADR Troop having now arrived had managed to gain access to the warehouse which had amazingly very little damage. The remainder of the stores were unloaded into the warehouse and the stores dropped the previous night were also moved from the compound to the warehouse for added security. With this task complete all that remained was to load HADR Troop’s plant equipment and vehicles along with our own and set course back to the ship.

    After arriving back at the ship all that remained was to unload the Mexe for the final time and wait for the ship to dock up so the Mexe could be secured and the stern door closed. Although for many of us we had worked almost constantly for the best part of a week with very little sleep, grabbing only an hour here and there as and when we could, getting by on strong coffee and hastily eaten meals, there wasn’t a single one of us who would have complained if we had been asked to go straight back out. Such was the need of the people of the islands we were there to help. I believe we all felt very proud, I know I did, to have been part of such a massive humanitarian aid effort.

  3. Not your average day for an Army Air Corps Reservist

    Not your average day for an Army Air Corps Reservist

     

    Standing on the scorching runway at Gila Bend Air Force Base in the Arizona Desert is a far cry from a 6 Regiment Army Air Corps Lance Corporal’s day job.  Lance Corpora...

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    Not your average day for an Army Air Corps Reservist

    Not your average day for an Army Air Corps Reservist

    Not your average day for an Army Air Corps Reservist

     

    Standing on the scorching runway at Gila Bend Air Force Base in the Arizona Desert is a far cry from a 6 Regiment Army Air Corps Lance Corporal’s day job.  Lance Corporal Natasha Jones works in hospital foundation trusts as the Dietetic Service Lead, where she supervises and manages junior members of her team. A job which has plenty of cross over with her role in the Army Reserves as an Apache Landing point commander where she commands a landing point for attack helicopters to land, refuel and re-arm.

     

    Lance Corporal Jones is currently on a 2-month deployment with the Attack Helicopter Force on Exercise Crimson Eagle in Arizona conducting environmental training and live firing. She is working with her Regular counterparts as part of a 6-man team to ensure the helicopters land, refuel and stocked up with ammunition, before heading back out onto the live fire ranges. She is working in temperatures up to 35 Degrees Celsius to keep the turn-around of aircraft running smoothly in an environmentally challenging area. Gila Bend is located in the Arizona and surrounded by miles and miles of open desert on the border with Mexico. The camp is just outside the immense ranges where there is enough space to allow the apache helicopters to release Hellfire missiles up to 10km away from their target.

     

    She says of her deployment: “I was apprehensive at first about how a reservist would be viewed by the regular soldiers, but I quickly became one of the team and the arming team worked really well, some of the pilots even complimented how efficient we have been.”

     

    “The whole experience has given me a new insight into an overseas exercise. Working with live ammunition including Hellfire missiles and CRV7 Rockets. It has helped build my confidence in the role and will be a valuable experience to take back to my home unit for future training and exercises.”

     

    A keen sportswoman, Lance Corporal Jones likes a challenge. After completing the London Marathon in 2015, she was also part of the winning all-female Best British military team at the prestigious Nijmegen March a year later. In her own time she has also cycled 300 miles in 3 days, competed the Jurassic coast Ultra and a stand up paddleboard challenge covering 100km in 2 days. As a break from her busy schedule on Crimson Eagle she has had the opportunity to explore the stunning scenery of nearby Sedona and Grand Canyon National Park, as well as take in some local ice-hockey matches.

     

    She adds, “Even though my civilian and military jobs may seem to be completely different on the surface they share a common thread of teamwork, leadership and doing something worthwhile. I have really enjoyed my time in America and I hope that as I progress in my military career I can continue to learn and gain experience from these challenges.”

     

  4. Ex. Yeoman’s Observer 2019

    Ex. Yeoman’s Observer 2019

    106 Regiment Royal Artillery Battlefield Tour

     

    75 years after Allied Forces landed in Normandy in the largest seaborne invasion in history, personnel from 106 Regiment Royal Artillery crossed the Channel to see for themselves the formidable defen...

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    Ex. Yeoman’s Observer 2019

    Ex. Yeoman’s Observer 2019

    Ex. Yeoman’s Observer 2019

    106 Regiment Royal Artillery Battlefield Tour

     

    75 years after Allied Forces landed in Normandy in the largest seaborne invasion in history, personnel from 106 Regiment Royal Artillery crossed the Channel to see for themselves the formidable defences of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and the Battlefields of Normandy.

     

    The Battlefield study began by visiting Omaha Beach, Dog Green Sector, made famous by the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. Whilst the film gives a good indication of the horrors faced by Americans landing there, it gives the impression of a relatively quick, if bloody, battle. The reality is that troops were fighting their way off the beach for hours, not minutes, with some units taking 90% casualties. Standing on the beach you can understand why. High, steep bluffs surmounted by concrete emplacements still exist, and although the main bunker complex is gone, it is possible to stand in trenches and bunkers and look down on the beach. There is no cover, and those on the beach would have been taking fire not only from the bluffs in front but would have been enfiladed from their right flank, all the while taking indirect fire from mortars and German artillery batteries further inland. It sends a shiver down the spine for those on the receiving end.

     

    We then spent some time at the new Overlord Museum before visiting the American Normandy Cemetery and Pointe-du-Hoc. The cemetery shows the human impact of the battle for Normandy in an incredible powerful way; with row upon row of perfectly laid out, immaculately kept gravestones. On the other hand, Pointe-du-Hoc is a lunar landscape of immense craters and obliterated bunkers, with enormous lumps of reinforced concrete strewn where the huge naval shells threw them. Both these locations are thought provoking and both are warnings against the horrors of war.

     

    Sunday began with a move to Sainte-Mère-Église, which became the first town in Europe to be liberated during the early hours of 6th June 1944. Here United State soldiers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions held back heavy counter-attacks and secured the western flank of the landings. The Airborne museum here is well worth a visit and really allows you to visualise what paratroopers went through when dropping into France before D-Day.

     

    A whistle-stop visit to Utah Beach followed before we arrived at Maisy Battery, which was recently rediscovered after being lost to history and is now being painstakingly excavated and opened to the public. The site is huge, with 4 gun emplacements, a hospital, radar site, command bunker, accommodation bunkers, ammunition magazines, water reservoir and numerous small arms bunkers. We received an informative tour of the battery which lasted well over 2 hours, leaving everyone well and truly ready for dinner.

     

    Monday morning, after a brief visit to the coastal battery at Longue-sur-Mer, we journeyed to Gold Beach, where the British 50th Division landed and where the notable Mulberry Harbour was constructed. Large elements of the harbour are still visible, particularly at low tide, hinting at how the Allies supplied the hundreds of thousands of men who landed on D-Day before a deep-water port was captured and put to use. It was only fitting that whilst we were at Gold Beach we laid a wreath to honour those who had fallen during Operation Overlord, particularly the Gunners of 50th Division. As an Air Defence Regiment, it was apt that we could pay our respects at a monument that included the 25th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

     

    The final stop of the trip was to Pegasus Bridge, which was secured by soldiers of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, who were landed by gliders in the early hours of 6th June 1944. The British Airborne Forces were tasked to secure the eastern flank in advance of H-Hour in order to stop German armour from counter-attacking, which they did successfully. Madame Gondrée, who was 5 at the time of landings, still runs the Pegasus Bridge Café by the bridge and provides a warm welcome to veterans and serving personnel alike. It is well worth a visit.

     

    75 years after D-Day there are still plenty of lessons to be learnt by studying what happened; not just in terms of planning and logistics, tactics and strategy, but from the personal accounts of those who took part. It is very easy to lose sight of the individual soldier when looking at history, but it is that individual soldier, then as now, that delivered victory. 

     

    Lt. D. J. Fuller

    457 Bty 106 Regt RA

     

     

  5. Reserve Soldier Profile on Skills for Life

    SKILLS FOR LIFE

     

    151 RLC Reservist Cheryl Martin has recently been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.  After obtaining her LGV Category C licence with a...

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    Reserve Soldier Profile on Skills for Life

    Reserve Soldier Profile on Skills for Life

    SKILLS FOR LIFE

     

    151 RLC Reservist Cheryl Martin has recently been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.  After obtaining her LGV Category C licence with a local driver training school, it was off to the Defence School of Transport, where Cheryl learnt how to be an Army Driver. The Defence School of Transport based at Normandy Barracks, Leaconfield, East Yorkshire is the centre of excellence for providing driver transport and management training for military personnel.  Returning as a trained Army Driver, Cheryl continued to develop her driving skills by obtaining a C+E LGV licence category.  Meeting every challenge Cheryl’s career wheels kept turning, moving on to complete her Class 2 army driver trade qualification.  Seizing the next opportunity Cheryl did not stop there, developing her leadership skills by attending a Potential Junior Non Commissioned Officer course, qualifying her for promotion to Lance Corporal.  Cheryl who in her civilian life manages a small farm near Maidstone in Kent, said:

     

    “The Army Reserves has provided the opportunity for me to learn new skills, which come in very useful in civilian life. I chose the Royal Logistic Corps as it provided the opportunity to obtain LGV driving licence qualifications and the driver skills it had to offer. Overall being a member of the Army Reserve has inspired me to achieve things I never thought possible.  The opportunities are endless, I have attended adventure training, taking me outside of my comfort zone, and have been on some challenging field exercises.  Most recently having the opportunity to step forward assisting with a national emergency”.

     

    Lance Corporals are required to supervise a small team of up to four soldiers called a section.  The rank opens up further opportunities to develop leadership and undertake specialist training such as instructional techniques. The Army Reserve provides support to the Regular Army at home and overseas, and throughout its history almost every major operation has seen reservists operate alongside their Regular counterparts.

     

    Always ready, Cheryl based at the 124 Transport Squadron RLC, Reserve Centre in Maidstone, is looking forward to the next challenge.

  6. EXERCISE SPRINGBOK 2019

    EXERCISE SPRINGBOK 2019

    20th – 27th October 2019

    Potchefstroom, South Africa

     

    Ex Springbok is a Military Skills Competition run by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). There were a num...

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    EXERCISE SPRINGBOK 2019

    EXERCISE SPRINGBOK 2019

    EXERCISE SPRINGBOK 2019

    20th – 27th October 2019

    Potchefstroom, South Africa

     

    Ex Springbok is a Military Skills Competition run by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). There were a number of international forces that participated in the competition, this included teams from the UK, USA, Germany, Nigeria and Dominican Republic of Congo. Alongside seven other regiments, I was given the honour of representing the UK as well as 3rd battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (3PWRR). The 3PWRR team was made up of Colour Sergeant Warren (A Company, Ashford), Private Jones (HQ Company, Canterbury), Private Rao and myself, Private Avis (B Company, Brighton). 

     

    Activities within the competition included a Rifle and Pistol shoot, where we used the R4 standard issue assault rifle at a range of 200m and the Beretta at 25m, weapon systems which most had not fireded before. Both shoots included rapid and deliberate rates and points were awarded for accuracy which contributed to an overall team score. Competing in the activities was made more challenging when you take into account that Potchefstroom was over 1000m above sea level and average temperature was around 40°C!

     

    Other disciplines in the competition included; 25m Water Obstacle Course where obstacles had to be negotiated both under and over the water, 500m Land Obstacle Course which featured a range of challenges including ladder climbs, walls, balance beams and leopard crawl to name a few.  Following our individual effort on the course, a UK relay team was put forward to compete against the German contingent, of which I was fortunate enough to be selected alongside individuals for the Scots Guards, Mercian and Royal Engineers. The other remaining activities were the Grenade throw; several weighted balls to simulate a grenade thrown at four different targets, and an 8km Boot run through the bush.  The run was the same morning as the Rugby World Cup Semi-Final so everyone was highly motivated to complete the run in the best possible time in order to return to camp and watch England V New Zealand.  

    In the evenings we had plenty of time to experience the local town’s restaurants and bars and on one of these evenings the SANDF hosted us for our evening meal. Evening meal was a Braai, which is a type of South African barbecue, hosted out in the bush and consisted of a variety of local meats including steaks, sausage. We also had the opportunity to sample wildebeest biltong. The entertainment for the night came from a local tribal dance group which exposed us to a part of the South African culture including being offered to try a local homemade tribal beer which was served in a bowl and only drunk whilst on one knee.

     

    I have been in the Army Reserve for over a year now and served on exercises abroad in Germany and Italy. Ex Springbok 19 has been one of the best opportunities I have experienced so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed competing alongside the soldiers of SANDF and the other international contingents but also socialising, sharing skills and experiencing the South African Culture.

    Private Ryan Avis

     

  7. 151 RLC Media Story

    THINK BIG, THINK LOGISTICS:

    Have ever wonder how everything you own, and use got to you and the processes they went through.  How your favourite dinner ingredients travelled from f...

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    151 RLC Media Story

    151 RLC Media Story

    THINK BIG, THINK LOGISTICS:

    Have ever wonder how everything you own, and use got to you and the processes they went through.  How your favourite dinner ingredients travelled from farm to fork. Where your latest online purchase item was manufactured and the processes it went through to arrive at your door?

    The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) are the Army’s logisticians supporting and sustaining the Army by land, sea, and air with everything it needs, anywhere it needs it. Army Reserve Officer Major Paul Herlihy explains:

    “Logistics is the flow of things between the point of origin and delivery to their final destination via the complexity of supply chain management”.

    Paul a property developer from Essex in his civilian life, spends his spare time as an Officer commanding 124 Transport Squadron Royal Logistic Corps.  RLC Officers are trained to plan on a large scale, managing complex transport and supply chains. Helping maintain the Army’s capability getting the right kit, to the right place at the right time. Paul joined the Army reserve to gain new experiences.  He explains:

    “I have done some amazing things in the Army Reserves, such as deploying on Operations, supporting UK emergencies, and carrying out training exercises in various countries around the world. I particularly enjoy the adventure training opportunities, taking part in Parachuting, Diving, Rock climbing and white water rafting to name just a few.”

    Army Reservists normally undertake training in their spare time, alongside a civilian job. Reserve service is an excellent way of improving skills and enhancing capability across a range of Core Competencies, skills which can be transferred back into the workplace.

    124 Transport Squadron is part of 151 Regiment RLC.  A modern, diverse, and forward-looking Reserve Transport Regiment, based in Greater London and the South East. Equipped with the latest logistic vehicles they carry out continuous, purposeful training on Tuesday evenings and weekends in the pursuit of professional excellence.

  8. Ex Tiger Dalmatian

    Ex Tiger Dalmatian

     

    On the 19th October 2019 the Third Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, alongside members of the First Battalion the Anglian Regiment mounted a unified Queen’s Division Rock Climbing Expedition in Croatia. The aim of this expedition was to build bonds between the division and also deliver a Rock Climbing Single Pitch Award as Distributed Training alongside the aims of Adventurous Training (AT).

    &a...

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    Ex Tiger Dalmatian

    Ex Tiger Dalmatian

    Ex Tiger Dalmatian

     

    On the 19th October 2019 the Third Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, alongside members of the First Battalion the Anglian Regiment mounted a unified Queen’s Division Rock Climbing Expedition in Croatia. The aim of this expedition was to build bonds between the division and also deliver a Rock Climbing Single Pitch Award as Distributed Training alongside the aims of Adventurous Training (AT).

     

    We flew from Gatwick and arrived at Pula airport (Western Croatia) in the evening. Having traveled to our villa we got some rest ahead of our first day climbing. There were two instructors for the trip, one from each regiment. They began by teaching us the fundamentals of rock climbing at the base of our first crag. This involved learning important knots and techniques. These skills were picked up quickly after excellent instruction and before we knew it we were beginning our first ascents up the rock face. It became immediately clear that we had a wide range of abilities among us. I personally had never climbed before, while others had extensive experience in climbing. This led to a good team dynamic, where stronger members would coach and encourage the rest of us. I found this extremely helpful as half way up my first climb I discovered my fear of heights. The coaching I received from below spurred me on to reach the top for the first time. Our group benefitted from a wide range of characters with varying life experience including three regular soldiers who gelled into the group quickly and had much experience from their time in the army to share with us. We also had soldiers of all ages and rank, which created a cohesive team.

     

    Our first day climbing had been a success and our instructors could therefor take us on a varied and challenging climbing tour of Western Croatia. This would see us climbing on the picturesque coastline as well as in the dramatic countryside. At each climbing site, our instructors would rig a range of routes up, enabling us to consolidate our skills on moderate climbs and challenge ourselves on harder climbs. We were given significant autonomy to climb the routes we wanted and challenge ourselves at our own pace. Different techniques of climbing were required from climb to climb and we learnt to adapt to the surface we were faced with. I struggled to fully trust the grip provided by my climbing shoes initially, and relied too readily on my hand holds to climb. Then I was faced by a climb that required total trust in your feet, as the hand holds were sparse. This helped to develop my climbing technique and confidence in a very short space of time.

     

    In the second half of the week we were introduced to the more challenging ‘lead’ climbing technique and all put it into practice. Lead climbing involves clipping in to the runners above as you climb, which means you will fall further, while still being safe. This type of climbing forces you to be more considered in your approach as the risk is greater.

     

    Each day saw progress from everyone, from conquering a fear of heights, to climbing a grade 6 route. My goal going into the week was to build confidence in problem solving and to develop my leadership ability I feel that I achieved both.

     

    In the evenings we enjoyed downtime and also received lectures on the importance of AT and the fundamentals behind it. This gave us insight into the considerations of both planning and conducting AT and demonstrated the theories behind our day-to-day experiences and growth. We decided to take it in turns to cook each evening which meant we all had the opportunity to plan and shop for our own group meal. This challenged us in totally different way to the climbing and some terrific meals were produced, and others not so much. Our villa was very spacious and modern, with a sociable layout. This was a welcome change to the barracks accommodation soldiers are used to. The pool was particularly handy as those brave enough to bear the cold could aid their muscle recovery between days, since muscle fatigue in the shoulders and forearms was a particular issue for the novice climbers among us.

     

    On the final day we traveled down to Pula to climb in an ancient quarry that is still in use today before sightseeing. There was a great deal to see, including but not limited to, the Roman amphitheatre which is one of the most intact Roman sites left in the world and was constructed from the same quarry we were climbing in, and the beautiful harbour. The highlight however was our group evening meal, this was a seemingly endless array of seafood dishes, from shark to octopus.

     

    This expedition would not be possible without the generous support we have received from both the Ulysses Trust and South East Reserve Forces and Cadet Association. The Trust aims to develop reservist soldiers, and that goal was certainly achieved. Some developed leadership qualities, some simply conquered a fear of heights, all involved felt a significant sense of achievement upon completion of the course and have learnt transferable skills that benefit them as infantry soldiers. This expedition has helped build a foundation in climbing across the Battalion and will no doubt help us push further and wider with larger and more technical expeditions in the future.

     

    Pte Alexander Austin,

    HQ Coy, 3PWRR

     

     

     

  9. Training Weekend - 243 Field Hospital

    243 Field Hospital held a Regimental weekend on 18th-20th October 2019 to remember the heroic individuals from 24th Field Ambulance who were awarded the Croix De Guerre during the First World War.

    All four detachments attended and participated in a Regimental CO’s Competition held at Fort Blockhouse and Browndown Range and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge it brought.

    The first section of the competition comprised of a drill sequence organised by the PSI of C Det. Squads of nine individuals from each d...

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    Training Weekend - 243 Field Hospital

    Training Weekend - 243 Field Hospital

    243 Field Hospital held a Regimental weekend on 18th-20th October 2019 to remember the heroic individuals from 24th Field Ambulance who were awarded the Croix De Guerre during the First World War.

    All four detachments attended and participated in a Regimental CO’s Competition held at Fort Blockhouse and Browndown Range and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge it brought.

    The first section of the competition comprised of a drill sequence organised by the PSI of C Det. Squads of nine individuals from each detachment were inspected and carried out a short drill sequence led by another member of the detachment. This was a great opportunity for all the detachments to demonstrate their drill skills and to look as smart as carrots.

    The Regiment then travelled from Fort Blockhouse to the training area surrounding Browndown Range. On arrival, team leaders received a brief from the lead PSI; they were informed about the type of stands each team would need to complete and their locations. Team leaders then returned to their detachment teams to back brief them on the day ahead. There were a total of four stands in the Browndown Range area, each run by a different member of the regiment and included vehicle recovery, an obstacle course, a command task and range skills.

    The first stand was the vehicle recovery stand which was run by two individuals from the regimental military transport team. Initially there was a first parade inspection of a white fleet vehicle for which the team had to work together to complete without the use of the original documents. The second section of the stand was a simulated incident. The team had been driving in a white fleet military vehicle when a car pulled in front of them causing a collision. The team had to work together to complete the relevant paperwork necessary when this type of incident occurs, achieving the stand’s aim

    The second stand was a short walk across the Browndown Training Area to a small opening for the start of the command task. Eight individuals had to dismantle, move around obstacles, and re-assemble a 18x24 military tent. As a timed event, it was advantageous for teams to pick individuals who were knowledgeable on tentage, allowing the process of dismantling and reassembling to be completed quickly and correctly.

    The third stand of the day was the most exciting; the obstacle course! Run by three of the regiments’ physical training instructors, this stand required eight individuals to complete the obstacle course as quickly as possible. After being shown how to complete each obstacle safely, and given alternative routes depending on ability, each team had a run through. The obstacles included a gate vault, multiple walls to scale, long jumps, a balance wall with a large gap to cross, rope climbs with the final obstacle of climbing up a large metal structure, crossing a rope bridge and lowering down a rope safely. The aim of this stand

    was to work as a team to get everyone across each obstacle and for the team to stick together and motivate each other to push themselves physically and mentally. This stand was demanding but was a great opportunity for team working and motivating one another to overcome difficult situations.

     

    This concluded the Saturday aspect of the competition and once everyone had eaten enough cake, the regiment headed back to Fort Blockhouse to get ready for the evening function. The evening function was held in the Officers Mess everyone enjoyed a buffet followed by an impressive and informative presentation about the history of the Regiment from the PSAO of A Det, Captain Harril. The presentation was extremely interesting and allowed all individuals to understand the history behind the Croix De Guerre.

    The final day of the competition was held on the Sunday. Each team had to allocate eight individuals to compete in the final event - the stretcher race! After a vigorous warm up from the PTIs, the first two teams, A and D Detachment, were ready to compete. The race involved attending to a casualty and treating their injuries. Three individuals had to run one at a time, to the end of the rugby field and back to collect two emergency care bandages and one tourniquet to treat the casualty. While this was occurring, an individual within the team was tasked to send a full 9 liner correctly to ensure timely casualty extraction. Once the 9 liner had been sent, and all injuries treated, the team were allowed to start the casualty extraction through the stretcher race course. This included two cam nets where team members had to crawl while pushing the casualty through as quickly as possible, obstacles where the casualty had to go over the top and channel lanes. The final push was at the end where the team had to sprint with the casualty to the finish line. Once a full ATMIST had been given correctly by one of the team members, the timer was stopped.

    The first heat was won by D Detachment and the second heat was won by C detachment. D and C Detachment then competed again in the final with D Detachment as the overall winners, confident that this would bring D Detachment the overall win for the weekends competition.

    Once the final event had finished, the regiment spent some time raising money for Macmillan, raising approximately £400; an amazing achievement for a good cause.

    The weekend was brought to a close with the final scores. The winners of the competition who received the highest score over all five stands was D detachment. The CO presented the medals with ribbon to represent the Croix De Guerre. The winners of the regimental bake off was C detachment who produced a really impressive cake version of the Croix De Guerre medal.

    Overall the weekend was a considerable success with the regiment really coming together with a competitive spirit. It was constructive for the regiment to be involved in a competition that not only improves their knowledge and skills but represents a piece of the

  10. OUOTC - Ex Blue Kite

    OUOTC - Ex Blue Kite

     

    On 10th August, twelve members of Oxford UOTC set off for an eight day trip to Cyprus. The aim of the exercise was to introduce ten of the twelve to the thrill of kitesurfing,...

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    OUOTC - Ex Blue Kite

    OUOTC - Ex Blue Kite

    OUOTC - Ex Blue Kite

     

    On 10th August, twelve members of Oxford UOTC set off for an eight day trip to Cyprus. The aim of the exercise was to introduce ten of the twelve to the thrill of kitesurfing, while the remaining two- who had kite surfed on previous occasions- would work on broadening their array of freestyle skills in preparation for the inter services competition.

     

    We could not have possibly have asked for a better location for the exercise. At Lemmings Beach, the sea breeze arrived every afternoon which made kitesurfing possible on each of the eight days, and we were hard pressed to find a cloud in the sky for the duration of the trip. Our accommodation was at Episkopi garrison, a mere five minute drive from our kitesurfing location, and we were incredibly fortunate to be allowed access to the Officers’ Mess just across the road from the garrison.

     

    Each day we would have breakfast in the mess before heading out to find an area of the island to explore or an activity to do before heading down to Lemmings at around midday in order to get a full afternoon’s kitesurfing. Dave Baker, the head instructor, and his team would split us down into two groups; a “zero to hero” course for the ten beginners and a course focusing on freestyle and upwind riding for the remaining two. Kite sports are highly intricate and require great attention to detail- to avoid accidents more than anything else- but the instructors were consistently impressed with the aptitude of the ten beginners, who proceeded to learn the skills presented to them with haste. They handled the kites with enormous competence and were soon thrust into the water to begin practising with the board, and soon they were riding! Meanwhile, the two more experienced kite surfers in the group, 2Lt Cartwright and OCdt Pitman, were given the opportunity to experiment with a variety of different equipment belonging to the school and to begin to learn and hone new skills under Dave’s advice and direction.

     

    By the end of the week it was fair to say that all twelve members of the corps had made enormous strides in their kitesurfing ability. Whether it was the ability to ride independently having not touched a kite before or performing jumps of up to seven vertical metres, the exercise was clearly valuable to all.

     

    It is however important to mention that this trip could not have happened without 2Lt Cartwright’s tireless efforts in the lead up to organise it and Dave and his amazing team. We were also enormously grateful for the funding we received and for all the members of staff who served us delicious food and drink throughout at the mess.

  11. A RESERVIST’S ANNUAL CAMP IN ARMY HEADQUATERS – PTE CHAMPION, 165 PORT AND MARITIME REGIMENT, RLC.

    A RESERVIST’S ANNUAL CAMP IN ARMY HEADQUATERS – PTE CHAMPION, 165 PORT AND MARITIME REGIMENT, RLC.

    Pte Champion is a Reservist with 165 Port and Maritime Regiment, 142 Vehicle Squadron in Banbury; he blends this successfully with his civilian career as a motorsport engineer. ...

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    A RESERVIST’S ANNUAL CAMP IN ARMY HEADQUATERS – PTE CHAMPION, 165 PORT AND MARITIME REGIMENT, RLC.

    A RESERVIST’S ANNUAL CAMP IN ARMY HEADQUATERS – PTE CHAMPION, 165 PORT AND MARITIME REGIMENT, RLC.

    A RESERVIST’S ANNUAL CAMP IN ARMY HEADQUATERS – PTE CHAMPION, 165 PORT AND MARITIME REGIMENT, RLC.

    Pte Champion is a Reservist with 165 Port and Maritime Regiment, 142 Vehicle Squadron in Banbury; he blends this successfully with his civilian career as a motorsport engineer.  His unique skill set was recognised by the Army and this led to him utilising his civilian skills to complete his Annual Deployment Exercise in Army HQ.

    Army HQ contains a team of Senior REME Officers and Civilian Contractors whose role is to explore new technologies with potential benefits for the military in a number of different areas.  One example is a range of future equipment including autonomous and electric tanks.

    ‘Advanced manufacturing technologies’ is another area being explored and this is where Pte Champion’s knowledge and expertise were put to good use.  These manufacturing techniques will enable the army to manufacture at the point of use, opposed to transporting large amounts of stored equipment around the world, just in case it is required. As a civilian motorsport engineer, Pte Champion spends much of his time working with this emerging technology in the Formula 1 Industry, thus, he was well placed to offer his knowledge and experience.  He focused specifically on briefing the capabilities of 3D printing plastic components; a technology which the senior officers were very interested in.  As an SME he advised on the difference between plastic and metal printing, how difficult the equipment is to use, how robust the equipment is and what are the component quality expectations.  

    Additionally, Pte Champion delivered briefings explaining manufacturing current equipment and the ability to manufacture equipment in austere or hostile environments in the future. These briefs focused around REME capabilities, however there is also interest in medical logistics, artillery and armoured infantry. This technology has already been tested in Africa by the Army with the production of small plastic clips for hospitals.

    Pte Champion was also involved with the Markerspace Project.  He was given a budget of £310,000 by Lt Col Dan Anders-Brown to design and build three shipping container factories.  Inside each factory will be a computer used for designing and reverse engineering, two 3D printers and a plastic recycling machine to make new material for the printers.  These shipping containers will then be dispatched to austere environments including jungles, deserts and mountains where trials will be conducted.  Trials will focus on making equipment for vehicles, soldiers and specialist tools.  In particular Pte Champion was tasked with answering the fundamental question: can 3D printing be used to reduce the Army’s logistic burden?

    This trial of deployable plastic 3D printing machines has already been undertaken by the Navy and a European military research organisation. These trial results showed that a couple of small plastic printers can make a limited range of useful components.  However, the printers were limited by the small number of plastics which they could print in (ABS and PLA) The printers will become far more effective when combined into a larger engineering workshop where they can produce much more.

     

  12. Reserve Driver Training - 151 RLC

    Thinking Big,

     

    When joining the team at 151 Re...

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    Reserve Driver Training - 151 RLC

    Reserve Driver Training - 151 RLC

    Thinking Big,

     

    When joining the team at 151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, reservist Gareth Westrip set his sights on driving big trucks.  Gareth started his Reserve career as an infantry soldier but then transferred in order to develop his skills further as a driver.  Starting his driver training, he first passed his theory and driving test enabling him to drive.  Gareth said “obtaining a driving licence not only started my driving career in the Reserves, I was able to transfer the skills into the workplace where I am now employed as a civilian driver”   Developing his skills further,  Gareth has recently passed his LGV Cat C licence and is now starting his RLC driver trade training. During this time he will learn how to maintain vehicles, restrain loads and develop cross country driving skills.  Thinking big, Gareth has his sights set on obtaining his LGV Cat C+E licence, driving large articulated LGV vehicles.