Isle of Wight Troop of 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC
Garlic came to the Isle of Wight through a very military journey; the French Torpedo boat crews that were stationed in Cowes, as part of the Solent protection group, became disenchanted with the bland British Food. A local Cowes publican decide to attempt to grow some Garlic to improve the French Sailors dietary moral, however there were no blubs in which to start a crop.
The Special Operations Executive heard of this need; during an operation to insert undercover operators into German occupied France, two bags of Garlic were loaded onto the plane to replace the spy’s getting off! One bag finally made it to the Isle of Wight and this unique crop started!
The Garlic Farm with its rich Garlic Crops and the subsequent Garlic Festival some 70 years later is going strong and is well regarded as one of the Isle of Wight principal Festivals by both locals and visitors. This therefore provided a key opportunity for the Isle of Wight Troop of 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, to support its recent recruiting campaign and increase its numbers.
The Troop , all Islanders from the same small local area, are using lessons from the World War 1 “pals” recruiting campaigns to develop its unit, recognising that the Isle of Wight is a rich recruiting ground both historically and more recently.
The Troop therefore deployed to deliver a stand which aimed at highlighting the significant opportunities for Islanders. Candidates, many unemployed or in seasonal work, were impressed with the large opportunities Port and Maritime Logistics could offer them such as licences, civilian recognised qualifications as part of re-training and great rates of pay. Most also unaware of the extent of travel where Reservists have deployed across the world.
The highlight of the stand was the Combat Support Boat, loaded on the back of a 15 Tonne SV which became a key attraction across the show ground. The unusual opportunity to get to feel first hand military equipment such as helmets and rations was enjoyed by both children and adults alike!
Throughout the day the Troop had engaged with over 350 people, from which 25 expressions of interest to join the Troop were made. These candidates will be invited to a briefing evening with the Troop, where they will get a greater insight into both the commitment and opportunities on offer.
The candidates included three ex Regular soldiers, recently left the Army, keen to remain in the Army family and five students undertaking BTEC Engineering apprentices who wanted to become Marine Engineers working with Army boats around the world.
The event was a key date in the Troop recruitment diary and was highly successful in attracting the right recruits and raising the profile of both the Isle of Wight across the local environment but also the overall Army Reserve amongst the large numbers of Island visitors.
For more information on the unit you can visit http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/armyreserve/266southamptonportsquadronrlc.aspx