Category Archives: Army Reserves

128 Field Company VRSM Medal and Clasps Awards Ceremony


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


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”.


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”.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Donnington Bridge Cadets show off their skills

Sea Cadets and Army Cadets from Donnington Bridge in Oxford were keen to show the local community that they know how to spend their time during the summer hols.

Organised by Quebec Company of the Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force the evening consisted of both Sea Cadets and Army Cadets putting on displays and showing off their expertise in weapon handling, First Aid and survival in the field which included navigation and cooking.

The event was organised and planned by the Cadets themselves, which also demonstrated that the youngsters can organise and put on a great show!


Sea Cadets Chloe Harvey and Megan Boorman from Kidlington in Oxford – both girls go to Gosford Hill School. Chloe has only been in the Sea Cadets for a year and her friend Megan for two. Chloe has just qualified for the Southern Area Rowing competition. She said, “This weekend we are taking part in the Paddle Sports event which is over a 2K course – if we win we will go on to the nationals.” Megan said, “Being a Cadet offers so many different experiences that we wouldn’t get elsewhere.”


Demonstrating the Field Craft were Army Cadets from Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force based at Donnington Bridge.

L-R Cadet Travis Arnold from Cowley, Lance Corporal Tony Karaphannit from Headington, Lance Corporal Laoti Limbu (stood up) from Rose Hill, and Lance Corporal Aleaha Stuart also from Headington.


Testing out the field rations and learning to cook in the field. Travis Arnold who has been in the Cadets for a year and goes to North Field School in Oxford, and Lance Corporal Jacob Legg from Headington who goes to Cheney School.


Oscars for Cadets who are very good actors too!

Acting and simulating injuries and casualties can be very realistic, and help to bring reality to learning vital First Aid skills. Lewis Sherman 13 who had a broken arm, Callum Francis who had bad burns to his face, and Nick Watson who had glass embedded into his arm. Nick and Callum are new recruits to the Cadets and Callum who has only been in for 4 weeks said, “I have only just joined and it is great I love it.”


First Aid is a vital skill to learn, and the Army Cadet Force is committed to instructing Cadets in saving lives and treating serious injuries. Lance Corporal Laoti Limbu demonstrates how to give first aid to Nick Watson who has glass embedded into his arm.


The Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan visited the Cadets at Donnington Bridge during their open evening.

Showing the Mayor around the Stands were, Corporal Megan Norwood from Abingdon who has been in the cadets for 4 years. Megan is waiting on her exam results and hopes to go to Oxford Brooks to study Forensic Science in September and Bugler and Musician, Sergeant Instructor, member of the Corunna Band and Bugles, Michael Hankins.


Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Clare Sands, who works for West Oxfordshire District Council is Captain of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Team. She showed off her team’s winning trophies during the opening evening.

The Oxford Cadet Clay Shot Gun Team have just won the 2016 Tri Cadet Services National Championships. Two teams of 4 from the Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force took part in the Championships in June which was held at the Cambridge Gun Club.

Clare who is an Adult Instructor said, “I have been Captain of the team for the last 3 years, we have competed for 8, so I am very proud of our achievement, all our training has paid off, we beat them all!”

Over The Top – Somme Commemoration Part.3


Guildford & Waverley Revolution


Welsh Guards




Winners Royal Logistical Corps FA with their medals 


The Somme Football

The Somme Football is a unique object.  Usually held at the PWRR Museum in Dover Castle, the football was kicked “over the top” by Captain Billie Neville and members of 8th Battalion the East Surrey Regiment at the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 2016

254 Medical Regt – Exercise Executive Medical Stretch – Crowborough – Part.2

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Dr Anne Harwood: Dr – Foundation Year 2, East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust 

“My favourite activity was the command tasks as we all had a chance to lead and by the end of the 6 tasks I was beginning to understand the dynamics of the group and how we could work around the strengths and weakness of those in the team.   I enjoyed the assault course too and was glad that it was not competitive as I was painfully aware of how unfit I was. It has given me a good incentive to try and improve my fitness levels. I am going to download the Get Fit for the Army app onto my phone and make a start when my schedule allows (I’m just about to start a run of 7 nights and this may not be the best time to start!!!).  I think from the experience as a whole I realised that actually my leadership skills were better than I had thought as I don’t see myself as a natural leader.

I am also actively thinking and researching more about being a reserve as I enjoyed the weekend and feel that it is something that I could get involved with in the future.

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Dr Ratna Kothari: Trainee GP

“It was a very enjoyable experience that did help me consolidate on the attributes that can help make a good leader.   A highlight for me was listening to Anna Cross who survived Ebola, the assault course, and also being able to take part in a planning exercise.”

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Charlene Neale: GP Practice Manager

Charlene was a member of of the Yellow Team who won the Best Team Overall prize.  She said “We had a fab team and I think that we did well because we all were willing to listen to each other and took on board other points of view.  Also we had a fantastic instructor and I think Kate was pivotal in getting us to work together so much.”  Although Charlene hated it at the time she confessed “I think the Assault Course was my favourite activity of the weekend.  Closely followed by the planning exercise.”  She added “The main thing I learnt about myself is that if I really want something I can succeed”.

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Professor Amir Nasir: Consultant Surgeon, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

“I was exposed to new ideas, modern technology in trauma & warfare surgery and also the ethos of Medical practice in army in war situation.  The course was excellent in all aspects, especially the assault course and the physical exercises.  I enjoyed the rifle shooting despite missing the target 9 times out of 10!”

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254 Medical Regt – Exercise Executive Medical Stretch – Crowborough

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Carly Bray – Primary Care Liaison Officer, Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery 

“It was a great weekend.  Personally I have taken away a clearer understanding of what type of leader I could be in the future and also identified some areas where I would need to improve to become a leader and the best thing was that it was done in a way that was fun but also challenging mentally and physically.  Thank you to everyone that was involved in organising it and running it on the day, I think it was a great success and have been passing on the message to those that unfortunately couldn’t make it this year to try and get them to come along next year.”

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Claire Casarotto – IDT Operational Lead, East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust 

Claire found taking part in the weekend hugely beneficial.  She said “The tasks highlighted my own behaviours, when working a team – what frustrated me, what I felt was helpful and how this enabled me to adapt my approach as the command tasks continued. This will be incredibly useful back here at work, as having the opportunity to apply any leadership skills in an unfamiliar environment really helps to clarify preferential behaviours.”   She added “The planning exercise for me was an excellent opportunity to utilise analytical skills, logic and the negotiation under time pressure. I really enjoyed the morning and have thought about that and how a similar task could be used as a learning opportunity in our own teams back here at work.  “Claire is afraid of heights and found the obstacle course a huge personal challenge but revelled in her achievement.  The greatest surprise to her was in the shooting competition. She said “Winning the Best Shot trophy was completely unexpected – I’ve never held a gun in my life, so to score 80/100 points was a bit of a shock for everyone I think!”

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Neil Delbridge – Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kent Community 

Neil found the weekend very worthwhile.   He said “I have a newfound respect for the military personnel, the roles they undertake, the fitness required to perform their duties, the way they plan, organise, serve, sacrifice and conduct themselves.”  He added “I found all the elements very useful in my development as a leader. The command tasks were practically helpful and the round robin element made me reflect on the way I currently lead a team.  Conversations with various officers were a very helpful resource in identifying how the Army prepares its leaders to be leaders, in contrast to the NHS, where clinicians are promoted to lead, often without any training to prepare them.”

For more information please go to


7 Rifles – Malawi Blog

18th to 20th May 2016 – the story so far











Training has now commenced in earnest and we quickly saw how motivated and happy to be here the Malawian troops were.  Being selected for the course is seen as an honour within the MDF and there were more than 2 applicants for every place offered, even getting a space on the course was an achievement.  From the most junior Rifleman to the most senior officer, the MDF see recce as a vital skill the army needs.

The first full day of training involved getting the basics right and our 7 Rifles demo troop were well employed showing the MDF how things should be done.  The heat in the day is a significant challenge when carrying kit and it will be a few days until we acclimatise but the lads are doing well and enjoying working with the Malawians’.  To the MDF this is winter time and we are all amazed when they arrive wearing gloves even though we are sweltering!

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Day two of the course moved into a blank firing phase where drills were put into practice.  The MDF use a mixture of weapons but on this course they are carrying the FN FAL 7.62mm rifles (similar to the old British SLR) and General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs).  Whilst the MDF troops have been trained in British tactics the 3 Rifles instructor have a limited amount of time to achieve a lot in the next few days before the final exercise.

We have also learned a bit about our shared regimental history. In 1902, all British military forces in East and Central Africa were consolidated and renamed the King’s African Rifles and served with distinction in both the first and second world wars.  After independence in 1964, the King’s African Rifles became the First Battalion of Malawi Rifles of the Malawian Army.  To this day the Malawi Rifles wear a cap badge with the same bugle that we wear in the Rifles.

3PWRR Folkstone Training Weekend (Part.1)


ARMY RESERVISTS from 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and new recruits hoping to join them once they’ve passed selection and attestation, headed off to the training area in Folkestone for a weekend of training.    With the close down of recent overseas operations, the British Army is reroleing itself back into a conventional fighting force that can quickly adapt to a multitude of situations and conflicts.  To this end, 3PWRR has geared its current training year toward focusing on the mechanics of the low and mid-level conventional environment.  For some of the recruits it was their first weekend in the field which saw them building bashers, creating safe harbours and generally immersing themselves in the reservist experience helping to prepare them for Selection and Phase 1 Training.

For those more experienced infantryman, section and platoon level practise missions were created with an “intelligent” enemy able to dynamically respond to threats presented to it. By creating inventive and original training scenarios, the Battalion looks to test and improve its new generation of leaders as it propels the lead elements of the reserve forces into an uncertain international future.


Luke Watts, 23, is a hard landscaper and has decided that he would like to join the Army Reserve.  Luke has passed Selection and is hoping to be attested on Wednesday this week.  He said “I thought I’d go along to C Company in Rochester as it’s my local unit and I’ve always been interested in the infantry.  I think the Army Reserve will be exciting and I will learn new skills and qualifications.  The training has been very good – we’ve been setting up harbours and bashers.  So far, it’s been exactly what I expected it would be – I’m really enjoying it”.


Dave Arwas, 24, is a graduate project manager working for BAE Systems in Frimley.  Dave is hoping to join A Company, based in Farnham.  He said “I’ve been coming along to training now for 11 weeks and this is my second weekend away.  I wanted to join the Regular Army when I was younger but my career has taken over now and I see that being a member of the Army Reserve will allow me to get the best of both worlds, fulfilling my career aspirations whilst juggling a military career.”  He added “I’m enjoying it all very much.  The Battalion are working hard to get us through Selection and Phase 1 Training and are giving us a lot of support and preparation.”


Megan Arpin, 21, works in a nursery and is hoping to join HQ Company, based in Canterbury.  Megan has had a lot of support and encouragement from her father who served in the Regular Army in New Zealand.  She said “I’ve done a lot of different jobs, in retail, in care homes and now in a nursery and I want to experience something completely out of the ordinary.  My Dad keeps telling me to be the best I can be and I think that doing this will help me to achieve that.”  She added “It’s been tough though, I won’t deny it.   I knew it was going to be hard.   I definitely need to work on my upper body strength.  But it’s been brilliant. You meet people from all walks of life and this weekend has been all about team work and learning to respect each other.”  Megan has completed her 1.5 mile run and will now needs to pass her interview, medical and then selection in order to become attested.