Monthly Archives: January 2013

Service Leavers Transition Fair

New Career, New Start

On Wednesday 30th January, I attended the 2 (South East) Brigade Ghurkha Transition Fair in Dover accompanied by RQMS Charlie Cooper the Subject Matter Expert from Surrey Army Cadet Force (ACF).

A Transition Fair is organised for service leavers to attend where they may discuss future opportunities, receive advice and ask questions with regard to areas such as Employment, Education and Welfare, Housing and Health Services from the relevant organisations and agencies’ stands.

Meeting with many of the attendees, Charlie and I got the opportunity to introduce and give advice about the Army Cadet Force (ACF), including its benefits and rewards. Information was also available on how to join as a Cadet or an Adult Instructor.

RQMS Charlie Cooper briefing service leavers

RQMS Charlie Cooper briefing service leavers

Amongst the many Agencies and Organisations that can assist the service leavers is the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) which provides Ex – Armed Forces personnel with resettlement opportunities. CTP is a partnering agreement between the MoD and Right Management Ltd who are global Career Development and Outplacement Specialists. CTP provides CV Creation, Interview Skills, assistance with Research and Job Applications and Housing Briefs to that include Council Tax, Buying/Renting Housing and Council Housing.

All personnel leaving the Armed Forces, regardless of length of service, are automatically classed as Veterans. There are many Veteran Agencies that offer support:

I’m pleased to say the event was a successful one with over 130 service leavers in attendance gaining further understanding of the way ahead and assisting their plans for the future.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion

3rd edition from LCpl Sian Davies 128Fd Coy REME

The good thing about doing a winter tour is that the time is broken up by Christmas. I was unsure what the Regiment would do for Christmas and New Year; whether it would be just like any other working day or whether we would be celebrating the festivities at our home away from home.

Come the 01st December decorations started to appear throughout CampBastion. The cookhouse, the Naafi and the coffee shop were soon scattered with tinsel, trees and nativity scenes. The LAD decorated the rest room and bed spaces were filled with Christmas cards and fairy lights.

Many people here were spending Christmas away from husbands, wives and children. However, that did not stop people from eventually getting into the Christmas spirit.

Ready for the Christmas morning activities with Pte McArvail, Pte Neil and Lcpl de Ste Croix

Ready for the Christmas morning activities with Pte McArvail, Pte Neil and Lcpl de Ste Croix

As ever, work is always a priority for the LAD, so it was unfortunate that the section heads still had to go to the LAD workshop on Christmas Day morning to get the vehicles ready for the CLP on Boxing Day. For the rest of us, we were greeted early doors by our OC and Tiffy with a morning brew and Christmas welfare present. Once we were up and about, the Regiment had a small service by the Padre, to include a carol service. We then participated in a brief aerobics session and some competitive games. Spirits were high and there were some interesting Christmas outfits!

We were then marched as a Regiment to our Christmas lunch. The food was absolutely delicious, a perfectly cooked Christmas dinner! I was sure to leave the cookhouse swiftly though before the traditional food fight started.

Queuing up for traditional Christmas Dinner

Queuing up for traditional Christmas Dinner

After a couple of hours downtime we made our way over to the LAD for secret santa and games afternoon. Cfn Harrison and Cfn Johnson organised a Connect 4 competition, Christmas Quiz and Bingo. We finally headed back to the accommodation late afternoon ready for a DVD night and more food.

It was something of a surreal experience having Christmas Day in Afghanistan, miles away from loved ones and spent with people I had only met some 4 months previous. Luckily for me, Lcpl de Ste Croix is also placed with the LAD from 128 Fd Coy, so having a friend from home over the festivities definitely helped take the edge off being in such unfamiliar circumstances.

I was absolutely spoilt by friends and family from home. I had piles of Christmas presents sent over and lots of nice festive food. It certainly made me extremely grateful to have friends and family who care so much and made such an effort to keep me smiling on Christmas Day.

As for New Years Eve, the celebrations were a little less lively. I headed over to Bastion 1 to catch up with some friends from my TA Battalion. We had pizza, coffee and topped the night off with a Becks Blue. I headed back to the accommodation and saw the New Year in with other members of the Regiment. We were lucky enough to be given the following morning off.

Myself and Lcpl de Ste Croix seeing in the New Year with a Becks Blue

Myself and Lcpl de Ste Croix seeing in the New Year with a Becks Blue

Once we were back at the LAD the festivities were well and truly over and work now continues as normal; Christmas and New Year just a distant memory.

Now over half way through the tour I am looking forward to going on R & R. Time really is flying by and once I am back off R & R the count down to end of tour will be on.

For more information on 128 Field Company REME please visit