Category Archives: Armed Forces

501 Sqn – RAF Brize Norton certificate presentation


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501 (City of Gloucester) Logistics Support Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force

‘FEAR NOTHING’

One of the oldest and most distinguished Squadrons in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, was formed in June 1929 as a special Reserve Unit.  On the outbreak of World War 11 the Squadron flew defensive patrols until the German attack on France in May 1940.  At the end of the War in 1946 501 was reformed as an Auxiliary Air Force Fighter Squadron, finally disbanding in 1957.  In 2001 the Squadron was reformed in a Force Protection (RAF Regiment) role and in 2013 its personnel were deployed in Iraq under Operation Telic.  April saw the Squadron again taking on a new role as it became a Logistics Support unit, with a wide range of trades on offer within the RAF.  The Squadron support both the Logistics Supply, Storage and Distribution Specialists and Driver Specialists trades.

501 Squadron’s task is to provide Reserve personnel who are fully trained logistics specialists to support the Regular Forces on Military Operations and Exercises or Humanitarian Operations, world-wide.

The Squadron also takes part in adventurous training, such as skiing, hill walking, sailing and all the sports facilities available on the base are open to use.  Ceremonial events also play a role, including the recent Remembrance Day parade in which 501 played a leading role where members took part in the Royal British Legion Remembrance events in Gloucester and Cheltenham.  The day marked the first formal parade since the Squadron reformed in 2014.

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Head of Establishment at RAF Brize Norton Group Captain Tozer, presented certificates to members of 501 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force.  Officer Commanding 501, Squadron Leader Andy Marshall, said, “We are very pleased to announce the first 3 personnel, who have been training as Logistic Drivers have achieved and gained their Level 2 Certificates, awarded by the Defence Awarding Organisation (DAO) at Shrivenham”, and are believed to be the first ever such qualifications awarded to RAF Reservists.

Pic 33 – Squadron leader Marshall added, “These qualifications are an important recruiting tool for us, and we are keen to ensure the civilian employers are aware that their employees can gain civilian qualifications whilst undertaking Reserve Training.”

He continued, “Anyone looking at looking at joining the Reserves in the future may see the qualifications as a benefit as they are recognised civilian accredited courses, and might encourage to employers to see the training benefits that can be gained, at no cost to their own company – presenting a great opportunity for them.”

The Reservists had to achieve a level of competency, covering:

Work safety in a Motor Transport environment

Vehicle checks, Cab and Controls

Position and Secure Loads

Transport Dangerous Goods by Road

Defence Transport Documentation

Accident and Breakdown Procedures

Drive vehicles on and off roads

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SAC Steve Yapp is a Military Transport Logistics Driver with 501 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton.  Steve has been in the RAF Reserves for 5 years and in civilian life is a Police Constable with the West Mercia Police Force, working as a Response and Taser Officer, responding to 999 calls within his area.

Steve was keen to show that his trade within the Squadron also adds value to his role in the Police.  He has recently been awarded with his Chief Constable’s Commendation for the saving the life of a victim in a fire.  Steve said, “During the incident which we were called to, I was able to give emergency CPR to the victim, and as soon as the emergency ambulance crews arrived my driver training came use as I was qualified to drive the ambulance whilst the crew continued to help save the victim, so my driving skills paid dividends.”

In his RAF Reserve role SAC Yapp is hoping to deploy to the Falklands next year.

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Group Captain Tozer is Head of Establishment at RAF Brize Norton.

He presented awards to the members of 501, when he visited the Squadron during a training weekend,  and explained to the Reservists how they are ‘Part of the Whole Force’.

Addressing members of the Squadron he said, “It is about what you do and your ability to be trained to step in as a credible Force.”

“RAF Brize Norton is the largest RAF Station in the Country, and one of the most diverse, we pride ourselves on being a ‘Whole Force Station’ – Regular and Reserve.”

There are 5 RAF Reserve Squadrons on the base employing ex Regulars, and civilians alike, opening up scope for a whole range of Reserve Service.

Group Captain Tozer said, “The skill sets that Reservists bring to the party are amazing, volunteering and serving their Country.”  He added, “I honestly cannot tell a Reservist from a Regular, and today has been a small celebration of what they have achieved.”

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LAC Mark Bissett has just been promoted quite an achievement, as he has only been with 501 Squadron for just over a year.

Mark who lives in Swindon works as a training manager for Anglian Home Improvements, and specialises in sales, management and product training, for the Company.

Mark was inspired to join the Forces by his Grandfather who raised him as a child, he said, “My Grandfather was serving with the RAF during the 2nd World War – James Bissett – who inspired with stories and experiences.” He added, “Joining the RAF Reserves has been the best ever decision I have made, I am really proud of being a member of the Squadron.”

Mark also plays the Pipes and is the Squadron Piper and has played at many high profile events, such as the Battle Proms Concert and  has raised over £62,000 for charity by playing the Pipes.  He added, “It was whilst I was playing at a charity concert that I was introduced to someone who suggested that I join the Reserves.”  Mark raises money for Combat Stress and hopes to reach a target of £100,000 before the end of 2020.

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SAC Karen Mellows who lives in Poole travels to RAF Brize Norton at the weekends to train as one of the Squadron’s MT Logistics Drivers.  She is a qualified Category C, and Category C&E driver, able to drive vehicles over 7and half ton which means she can drive articulated trucks, and buses. In her civilian job, Karen works at a factory making moulds for cosmetics and has been with the Squadron for 18 months.

She had always thought about joining the Forces, and when she saw an advert for the Reserves, she knew that was what she wanted to do.

Karen said, “I love it, the whole bit, the training, the friendship, having to cope with different scenarios which stretch you, teaching you to cope outside of your comfort zone.”  She added, “It took a life changing event to give me the courage to join and I have not regretted the decision.”

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Ex-Army full time Royal Engineer, Roger Marston, transferred to join the RAF Reserves in March 2014.  A veteran of Iraq serving with the Royal Engineers in 2005, Roger transferred to the RAF when he left the Regular Army.  He is now responsible for delivering the Military Driver Training for the Squadron.  Roger trains members of the Squadron to drive HGV, Coaches, Land Rovers, and other vehicles in the ‘white fleet’.  This includes vehicles used throughout the RAF Base at Brize including trucks used to move aircraft and clear runways, and move supplies.

Corporal Marston said, “The Reservists need a full clean UK driving licence when they join, and then we train them to drive a whole range of heavy vehicles.” He added, “Needless to say, all the driving qualifications we train for are extremely valuable within the civilian logistics sector.”

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/lifestyle-benefits/life-as-a-reserve/

128 Field Company VRSM Medal and Clasps Awards Ceremony


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Staff Sergeant John O’Callaghan, 44, has been an army reservist for eleven years and is based with 128 Field Company in Hilsea, Portsmouth, part of 103 Battalion REME.   He was awarded his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal for ten years of committed service at a special ceremony presided over by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller.    David is a Tech storeman by trade and deployed to Iraq on OP TELIC in 2010 and on OP OLYMPIC in 2012.  David works full time at the Army Reserve Centre as the Tech Quartermaster

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WO2 Albert Johnson, 55, has been an Army Reservist for 37 years and lives in Clanfield.  He serves in Portsmouth with 128 Field Company part of 103 Battalion REME, and is a Class 1 Vehicle Mechanic by trade.  Albert works for Pall Life Sciences as a manufacturing engineer for bioreactors and chromatography machines for making medicines and juggles this with his reserve commitment.  Albert was awarded the 3rd Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, acknowledging his incredible service and commitment.  He said “Having joined at a very young age, the service has shaped my life both as a soldier and as a civilian.  The benefits are that I’ve always had something to look forward to in my calendar year.  My confidence grew quickly as a reservist and it has given me ambition to better myself in my civilian career, as well as giving me experiences that I would never have had”.

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Sergeant Alan Greatbatch, 52, has been a member of the Army Reserve for 25 years.  He serves in Portsmouth with 128 Field Company part of 103 Battalion REME and is a Class 1 Metalsmith by trade.  Alan was awarded the 2nd Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, acknowledging his incredible service and commitment.  Alan works at the Ministry of Defence in Abbey Wood in Bristol n the Armoured Vehicle Programmes Office as a Logistics specialist.  He said “The Army Reserve has made good use of my skills and knowledge gained as an apprentice and has given me many opportunities.  It has helped me develop my man-management skills, to become a better problem solver and to become more delivery focused”.

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Sergeant John Baverstock, 46, has been a member of the Army Reserve for 19 years and was presented with the 1st Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, acknowledging his service and commitment.  John, who also works full time for the Army Reserve, is a Class 1 Vehicle Mechanic by trade and has spent the past three years, both in the Portsmouth Careers Office and now in the Army Reserve Centre, dealing with new recruits.  Prior to that John deployed to Iraq on OP TELIC in 2004.  He said “Being a Reservist has helped with my fitness.  I’ve gained confidence and have a great social life and life-long friends”.

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Staff Sergeant Ian Parker, 46, has been an Army Reservist since 1995.  Originally a regular army infantry soldier having served in both Northern Ireland and Cyprus, Ian joined the Army Reserve’s Royal Logistics Corps as a petroleum operative and transferred to the REME as a Tech Support Specialist and now fulfils the role of Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) at the Peronne Road Army Reserve Centre.  A self-employed electrician, Ian was awarded the 2nd Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, for his 21 years of service to the Army Reserve.

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Sergeant Andrew Baxter, 52, has served with the Army Reserve for 29 years. In his civilian life he is an HGV Driver with MTS Cleansing Services.  Andrew who is a recovery mechanic by trade has deployed to Iraq on OP TELIC in 2003/04 and serves with 150 Recovery Company who are now based in Croydon.  Andrew was awarded the 3rd Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, for his long and committed service to the Army Reserve.

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Lance Corporal David Madgwick, 47, is a recovery mechanic by trade and serves with 150 Recovery Company in Croydon.  He has been a member of the Army Reserve for 15 years.  David is an HGV Driver and Crane Operator in his civilan life and deployed on two operational tours to Afghanistan in both 2008/9 and 2011/12.  He said “My experience as a Reservist has given me a more confident outlook as an individual and has given me more understanding of the world, plus more varied employment options.  I got my HGV licence and crane operator certificate through the Reserves.”  David was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, to honour his commitment and service to the Army Reserve.

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WO2 Howard Watson, 45, has been a member of the Army Reserve for twenty years.  He joined initially to learn the trade of vehicle mechanic because he was tired of garages telling him his vehicles needed extensive work and didn’t know what they were talking about.  He has since become a Class 1 Vehicle Mechanic and serves with 128 Field Company, part of 103 Battalion REME as the Company Sergeant Major.  In his civilian life, Howard is the National Sales Manager for the UK’s leading provider of occupational health software, Warwick International Computing Systems Ltd.  He said “My company is very supportive of my Reserve Service and I do not think that I would have gained the job I have with them today if it had not been for my army training and discipline.  They pay me for my annual camp commitment, and have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant.”  Howard has deployed to Iraq on OP TELIC 2 where he ended up running the Light Aid Detachment at the “stadium” in Al Amarah.   In my time with 128 Field Company I have travelled the world and have learnt many life skills”.  He added “I am so much more confident now and am far more time efficient and with the Reserves you are part of a group of diverse individuals with a wide variety of skills”.  Howard was awarded the 2nd Clasp to his Volunteer Reserve Service Medal by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Mr David Fuller, to honour his service and commitment to the Army Reserve.

http://www.serfca.org/Reserves/Army-Reserve/REME/128-Field-Company-REME

 

QinetiQ signs Armed Forces Covenant at Farnborough International Airshow


QinetiQ has pledged its continued support to UK servicemen and women by signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant at Farnborough International Airshow 2016.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Wadey met with Defence Minister Philip Dunne on Thursday, 14 July to sign the Covenant, which ensures fairness and equal opportunity for Service and ex-Service personnel, Reservists and their families.

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Originally signed by QinetiQ in August 2013, the Covenant has been updated to clarify the company’s commitments to its reservists, including improved line manager training and enhanced leave benefits. QinetiQ grants its employees 15 days a year in which to carry out duties as reservists in the Armed Forces.

Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “It is vital to recognise the role of our reservists, who go the extra mile in serving our country. They make a valuable contribution to our company by helping us to understand our customer, and to the Armed Forces through their innovation and commercial expertise. I have signed the Covenant because I strongly believe it is important for companies to support and encourage those who wish to go above and beyond in the name of public service.”

Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, said: “I am delighted that QinetiQ – which already employs reservists and veterans – has signed the Corporate Covenant. I hope it encourages more defence suppliers to come forward and join over 1,000 private and public sector employers to have signed the pledge. Our personnel and their families play an invaluable role in our society and it is only right they get the recognition and support they deserve.”

Allison Lambert is Aviation Manager for QinetiQ’s Weapons business, and a Navy reservist specialising in air traffic control. She said: “After serving in the Royal Navy for almost 30 years, I didn’t want to cut my ties when starting a new career. Becoming a reservist has allowed me to maintain my military contacts and give something back to the Navy for its investment in my training. The great advantage for me is the mutual exchange of information that comes from being part of both industry and military. We have a common understanding that makes it easier to get the job done.”

Thomas Harvey is an Aircrew Systems Integration Engineer at QinetiQ and a reservist with the Royal Air Force (RAF). He said: “My service with the RAF allows me to see my work from the customer’s point of view. When I evaluate technology at QinetiQ, I have a first-hand understanding of how it needs to work in the field. When I’m with the RAF, my technical knowledge of a new system can help the user to adopt it. The benefit is a two-way street and it motivates me to do the best job I can.”

In 2014, The Ministry of Defence presented QinetiQ with a silver award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. The MOD highlighted QinetiQ’s HR policy that supports reservists, its participation in Armed Forces Day, and its support of cadet units and spousal employment.

http://www.serfca.org/Civil-Employer-Engagement/Armed-Forces-Covenant

Over The Top – Somme Commemoration Part.4


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Aldershot Town FC

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Surrey Fire and Rescue VS Aldershot Town FC

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Guildford City FC VS RLC

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Army Ladies VS Maidenhead United LFC

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The Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux holds the Somme Football

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Kathryn, Mark, Alice and Andy Nevill-Hames

“Billie Nevill was our great grandfather’s brother, so our great uncle.  He served with the Surrey Regiment and was originally from Dorking.  We grew up hearing about the story of the Somme Footballs and to come here and see for ourselves what he did and the actions he took is fantastic.”

Over The Top – Somme Commemoration Part.2


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Southampton and Portsmouth Army Reserves (SAPAR) 

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Hampshire and Isle of Wight ACF

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12 and 16 Regiment Royal Artillery (Thorney Island Station)

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Army Training Centre Pirbright VS Guildford & Waverley Revolution 

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Steve Owen-Hughes, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Surrey Fire and Rescue

“We are very proud to be here and to take part in today’s tournament and to show our support.  As an organisation Surrey Fire and Rescue is a member of the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board and a lot of our men are either ex-servicemen or are currently serving in the Reserves.  Our crews attended the fire at Clandon Park where we helped to rescue the Colours of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.  We know too that more than 50 fire fighters in Surrey went to the First World War and none came back.  Some of those fell in the Battle of the Somme.”

Over The Top – Somme Commemoration Part.1


A unique football event “Over the Top” took place yesterday at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme; twenty thousand British soldiers were killed on that first day.    Nineteen teams, military and civilian, male and female, adults and youth, took part in the football tournament and remembered the sacrifices made by local men from the south east of England.  Organised by the local Army Regiment (Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment), the Army Benevolent Fund and SERFCA, in co-operation with Surrey University, the aim of the event, in addition to commemoration, was to raise money for regimental heritage and Army benevolence.

Each player was presented with a  commemorative medal to mark their participation in the special occasion with the winning team from the Royal Logistic Corps FA walking away with the top honour.

The event closed with a moving service of remembrance which was hosted by Colonel Patrick Crowley, CEO of SERFCA, and included readings by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux, the Armed Forces’ Minister Penny Mordaunt MP and Dame Penelope Keith.

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St. Peters School (Runners up) VS Royal Grammar School (Winners of the cadet and youth competition) 

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Surrey ACF

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Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

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3PWRR (The Tigers) VS Guildford City FC

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Sergeant Kelvin Lowes from B Company 3PWRR with First World War re-enactors Private Richard Boatfield and Private Robin Young from the East Surrey Regiment.

 

 

 

3PWRR Andover Freedom Parade


Residents of Andover in the Borough of Test Valley came out in force yesterday to enjoy a Freedom Parade by the three military regiments who have been granted the Freedom of the Borough; 22 Engineer Regiment representing the Corps of Royal Engineers, the 3rd Battalion of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Army Air Corps.

Service personnel from the three regiments, led by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regimental Band marched through the town centre in a show of ceremony and colour with bayonets fixed.  The parade concluded with a flypast of an Apache Helicopter by the Army Air Corps and a memorial service to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme took place in the Garden of Remembrance.

The civic party was led by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esquire and The Worshipful the Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Karen Hamilton.

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Colour Sergeant Billy Menzies, 34 is from Andover.  A Regular Army Soldier with the 2nd Battalion, Billy has been posted with the 3rd Battalion PWRR in a training capacity.  His role has been to provide training weekends focusing on developing their medical capability.  He said “Working with the Reserves has been absolutely amazing which, to be honest, was completely unexpected.  They are 100% professional as is their commitment because they have to juggle their careers and their families as well.” He added “I am really proud to march through my home town today and it’s nice to come back as I don’t get here very often.  Hopefully I’ll see some old friends in the crowds”.

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Private Chris Jones, 22, has been a member of the Army Reserve for almost four years, serving with 3 PWRR based at HQ Company in Canterbury. Chris worked in Customer Care for the National Trust but after deploying on Operation TOSCA in Cyprus and on Operation TORAL in Afghanistan with 1st Battalion Royal Anglian, he has now decided to pursue a military career.  He said “I’m just back from an operational tour in Afghanistan and I’ve decided that I’m going to transfer full time to the Royal Navy in January next year.  I’d like to become either Aircrew or a diver.”

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Corporal Russell Butler, 32, is an Army Reservist with A Company in Farnham and works for a logistics company.  He said “I’ve been a member of the Army Reserve for four and a half years.  I left the Regular Army in 2005 after serving more than six years with the 1st Battalion PWRR and toyed with getting back in.  Being a reservist is better than I thought and they are more experienced and more current than I thought they’d be.  There’s always something different to do whether it’s ceremonial, community based or green training”.  Russell is originally from Basingstoke and said “I feel quite proud to be on parade today especially as my wife and kids are here too”.

http://www.serfca.org/Reserves/Army-Reserve/Infantry/HQ-The-Buffs-Company-3PWRR