CIS Tp, 8 Engr Bde Veterans Event

CIS Troop, 8 Engineer Brigade held an Army Forces Veterans event at SERFCA HQ’s Seely House in Aldershot.

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Royal Engineers were showcasing some of their current operational equipment, giving Veterans the opportunity to see how the units have developed and progressed.

Corresponding with VE Day, Veterans met with both Regular and Reserve Soldiers to share their War Time experiences.  A number of Veterans spoke of what they had encountered during the D-Day landings and what equipment they had to use, compared to what is available serving personnel today.

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On his 18th birthday, Lewis Trinder volunteered to sign up and following seven weeks training, was deployed on Atlantic Convoys to protect merchant ships from German submarines.

Lewis served on HMS Magpie, escorting Arctic convoys to Murmansk and on 4th June 1944 his ship left the Solent to travel to D-Day which was the largest seaborne invasion in history that launched the Allied invasion of Western Europe. Mr Trinder recalled that D-Day should have been on the 5th June but the ship was forced to turn around due to bad weather.

Lewis was a Seaman Petty Officer aboard on HMS Opossum when it traveled to Asia in 1945 and was demobilised with 5,000 others from Hong Kong in September 1946.

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Fred Lee was just 17 when he volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1943.  As his three brothers were already enlisted, his mother was reluctant to give permission, but Fred was keen to enrol and began training on a newly-built river class frigate, HMS Nith.

In February 1944, the vessel failed its sea trials and was converted into a brigade headquarters ship.  The Nith was to be based at Normandy acting as headquarters for the 231st Infantry Brigade, which was to land on Gold Beach.

Fred was an apprentice boiler maker prior to the Royal Navy and wanted to take up the role of a stoker but was unable to because he was not yet 18, so was given the position of an telegraph operative instead.  Still keen to become a stoker, with a little help from the Padre, Fred’s CO agreed he could transfer into a Stoker Position given his previous experience.

Unfortunately, The Nith was struck by a Mistel (the German remotely guided weapon) which involved two aircraft which flew attached to each other. After repairs, HMS Nith sailed to the Far East and was at Rangoon at the time of the Japanese surrender, Fred was demobilised in 1947 and he returned to marry Joyce and raise three children.

An Education At Sea

A primary school teacher from Hampshire has spent the last 2 weeks at sea with the Royal Navy, learning what life is like on an Operational Warship.


Married, father of one, Graeme Nolan has gained invaluable experience embarked in HMS IRON DUKE as the Type 23 frigate took part in Exercise Joint Warrior, one of the largest tri-service and multinational exercises of its kind in Europe.  Based in HMS KING ALFRED in Portsmouth, Midshipman Nolan is one of the growing numbers of Reservists that spend their free evenings and weekends training as a member of the Royal Navy.

As part of his training as a RNR Officer, Midshipman Nolan has been getting to grips with all of the elements that combine to make a Royal Navy warship function.  From time spent with the Marine Engineering maintaining diesel generators, to time spent up on the Bridge witnessing a live gunnery off the Cost of Cape Wrath; seeing HMS Iron Duke during a war fighting exercise has allowed him to witness the RNs capability against Air, Surface and Sub-Surface threats.

Speaking of his time onboard Midshipman Nolan said,

I am delighted to have worked with my counterparts in the regular service over the last 2 1/2 weeks.  The professionalism and cheerfulness of the Ship’s Company is a credit to the ship and the wider service.  During Exercise Joint Warrior I have undertaken tasks throughout the ship with all departments on board.  The opportunities provided have been invaluable.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the highly-trained chefs in the Galley, conducting Replenishments at Sea, conducting rounds with the Weapon and Marine Engineering departments, gaining an understanding of the Operations Room, keeping watch on the bridge and assisting with flight deck operations.  The experiences gained will provide a solid foundation for the rest of my RNR career and will leave lasting memories.”

Berkshire Army Cadet Force

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Adult Volunteer – Colour SGT Samantha Harrison 15 Plt Theale, Berkshire ACF

Samantha Harrison was a cadet from the age of 12 and when she left cadets, she came straight back as an adult instructor. Samantha wanted to give back everything she had learned, all the knowledge and the life skills, the amazing memories I have from being a cadet and I wanted to give that back to the new cadets.

Samantha Said: “It is such a big part of my life and I would say to anyone thinking about signing up that you will make amazing friends and seeing the younger children grow and learn it and walking away as fantastic ladies and gentlemen is the best part of being with the cadets.”

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Adult Volunteer – Sgt Challis 13 Plt, Burghfield, Berkshire ACF

Sgt Challis was a cadet himself and joined the army and returned to the cadets as an adult instructor after leaving. Sgt Challis said:  “Watching the cadets join learn and go onto university or join the army, get commission and then come back and see you is the best thing about being involved. There is so much more to gain from joining up and getting involved, what have you got to lose by trying it.”

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Cadet – LCpl James Wallace, 15 Plt Theale, Berkshire ACF

Lcpl James Wallace wanted to join the Army and enquired about joining up and realising that he was too young, they signposted him into the Cadets which is the best thing he has done ever. James has learnt so many things such as drill, field craft and really enjoyed the shooting but it also taught him how to improve his leadership skills. James said:  “It is completely unique and it I believe my experiences such as leading people, will benefit me when I join the Police.  You only live once, it’s so good so sign up because its amazing.”

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Cadet – Cpl Lucie Shipp, 13 Plt Burghfield, Berkshire ACF

Cpl Lucie Shipp’s brother and sister were Cadets before her and she thought all their kit was really cool and that want to join in with them. The Cadets training programme links into other Duke of Edinburgh award, so she has been able to do them together. Lucie said that the Cadets has helped her grow in confidence and has managed to promote to a rank, which has then given her the chance to work on instructing skills as well as leadership whilst instructing the younger cadets. Once she leaves six form college, I she aims to potentially go onto University, or become an Apprentice or join the Army.  But most importantly, she would like to return to Cadets as an Adult Instructor.

Sandhurst Leadership Challenge 2017

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Keneati Nduka – Richard is the Head of recruitment at the Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and encouraged a number of her team to come along to the event after putting herself forward.

When asking how she felt about the day, Keneati said:  “I had no idea about what was going to happen and the email said bring a change of clothes, so I came ready for anything and ready to take on everything. It has been interesting to see how everyone has supported each other and learning about understanding the different dynamics of the team. It has been great trying to learn through fun, doing something engaging and completely different.”


Louisa Calam is a Project Manager, Town Centre Development for Woking Borough Council and wanted to learn more about how to lead a team of people she had never met before and a chance to see happens inside Sandhurst.

Louise spoke about the day:  “I wanted to get an insight from military people about how they are successful with their experiences and complete some of the physical activities, which are very different from the office job that I would normally do. I have learnt about how physical tough it is and that if you don’t work well as a team, you won’t succeed in the tasks that you are trying to do. One of the things I found interesting was that as a leader you need to stand back to get an idea about what is going on because there needs someone to observe what is happening and work on the issues.”



Connor Guy is an Internal Graduate with Qinetiq and had done a little research before arriving for the Leadership Challenge but wanted to wait until I arrived to find out what it was all about.

Connor spoke about what he had learned from the day:  “I knew that we would be working with a team of complete strangers and achieving the common goal of working together as a team, with people you have never worked with before. My best part of the day was completing the gun run because it was all about that teamwork focus.  Because it came at the end of the day, it really cemented the team work we had been working on throughout the day and we all ran crossed the finish line together. My learning points were about building teams quickly and the importance of communication within the team.  The medical challenge didn’t go well because of communications.  We tried to be too proactive too quickly and we learnt that we need to step a back and doing the communicating first which will be my big take away from the day.”


Claire Aldridge is an Orthopaedic Sister at Basingstoke Hospital NHS and wanted to learn more about the Reserves and about what the Military Services do as well as Leadership and being in a team in a completely different environment.

When asking Claire about her experience of the day she said: “I had no idea what to expect so googled Youtube some of the videos of the day, by that point I had already committed to attending. I am about to take on a new role which may have more leadership requirements so I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about military styles of leadership. It was really interesting doing the casualty exercise because my nursing skills didn’t stand me in any stead. The military intelligence was great to learn about thinking things through, looking at all the facts and making decisions upon all the facts.  Learning to step back from the task and look at it from a wider prospective.”


Amanda Boote is a local councillor for Woking Borough Council and jumped at the chance to learn more about leadership and to see inside of the impressive Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, which is an opportunity you would never normally get.

When asked about the day, Amanda said:  “During the military intelligence task, we were not allowed to have a leader which was quite frustrating but it was about taking lots of information and making sense of it and then putting into a logical order by working together as a team. Before the tasks began, we had a presentation that showed us how leadership works in the Army and what are the key components are.  The real tasks are giving us the opportunity to put them into practical action with the team. It’s been a lot of fun and I have had a chance to meet some of my colleagues I don’t already know and I have learnt more about being a good team player.”

Reservists from RAF Benson

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Cpl Simon Hartley joined up to the reserves following his interests in helicopters and refuelling

Enjoying the different way of life, camaraderie and an opportunity to see the world he has been privileged to work in Cyprus, Falklands and Afghanistan.

Being self employed, he is able to be flexible with his work and still continue his work whilst deployed.

Due to the recent  changes to the Reserves, the opportunities to progress through the ranks have increased and Cpl Hartley has recently been promoted.  He hopes to continue with the reserves for many years to come.

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After seeing an advertisement for the Reserves, SAC Hamlin started the process to see if he could complete the challenges required to become a Reserve.

Being self employed, he saw the opportunity to become part of the ultimate team and having constant challenges, as it is completely different to his civilian role.

As a specialist mover, he is able to supplement the regulars and work alongside them on shift and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer to do the job for real.

SAC Hamlin said “I had a fantastic week where I got to spend a week working at RAF Odiham, whilst helping them prepare to go on exercise which led to a flight on a Chinook, much to everyone’s envy.

The best thing is becoming part of the military family, the Reserves family and the Squadron family.  Everyone is great and with the diversity of all the different people, you learn to exist with everybody.  I’ve made some really good friends and you do have a special bond with the people you do your training with.  It’s the people you meet, the friends you can make and you have the sense that you are serving your country and you do your bit for real.”

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LAC Carters grandfather was a chief technician on the Vulcan Bomber and as an Air cadet himself, he hoped to join at 16 to work on the Chinooks at Odiham but was unable to do so.  As the Reserves has developed and more information has become available about how to get involved, he followed his ambitions and signed up to the Reserves.

LAC Carter said: “Brize Norton is the main hub and having so many opportunities there, I managed to complete all my licences at Leconsfield in less than a year and become operational.

I am loving the diversity of the role of MT Driver which can be anything from driving Artics through to chauffeuring the Royals.”

LAC Carter is proud to wear the uniform and work alongside the regulars.

“The amount of stuff I have learnt has been amazing and there are endless opportunities to get qualifications through the RAF, I can’t see a downside.”

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Whilst looking for another job to compliment her self employed job as a photographer, LAC Reed saw an advertisement for an RAF Photographer.

Following on from the open day and fitness test, she wasn’t 100% sure if it was the role for her as she progressed through the training programme.

One of 11 girls of a 30 string troop during basic training, she found it to be hard and challenging.  On completion, she had a specialist interview with the media team and went straight into the 606 squadron from the strength of her self employed portfolio.

LAC Reed is now enjoying the challenge and the disciplined side of military photography and being able to do something completely different, which brings another aspect to add to her portfolio.

When asked what has been the highlights, LAC Reed said: “The best thing so far has been being able to fly and completing the flight safety day alongside the regulars, learning essential skills required to photograph in the air.  It’s not an opportunity you will get anywhere else.”

Employers attend networking event at RAF Benson

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Colin McGregor is the Director of the Oasis Partnership that provides a wide range of support services. Oasis are interested in recruitment of ex services personnel, as they have a lot of the skills that could add value to the charity and wanted to build a link the Employer Engage teams to work more effectively with ex serving personnel.

Colin was asked about his interest in the event:  “We work with people that have had drug and alcohol problems and look to help their employment opportunities when they have worked through their issues. We want to build our understanding of what opportunities are actually available and will now be circulating a newsletter to our staff to make them aware of the benefits of the Reserves. I think the key thing of today is learning that reservists are actually paid quite well and they get some great training.  It is something that more people should look at getting involved with.  We will be looking at becoming involved with the bronze, silver and gold employee scheme.”

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Richard Rowland chairs the advisory committee for employer engagement, which is a body of employers and we act as critical friends and active supporters of reserve forces, cadets, spousal employment and for career transitions. Whilst serving as a police officer for 30 years, he was responsible for the specials and there is a synergy between specials and reserves.  With his son currently in the air cadets, he can see it from both sides as a parent as well as being a supporter of volunteers.

Richard said there are many benefits to employing Reserves and Service Leavers:  “Core military values such as self discipline so you know that people are going to turn up to work, be loyal and punctual. They have good leadership skills plus specific industry skills, so join the club and reap the benefits of having well educated staff who have benefited from military training.”

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Hayley Smith is the Group HR Manager at Acorn Limited who are currently working towards a CTP (Career Transition Partnership). Within the maintenance industry, the company noticed a gap within certain skill areas and are looking for ex services personnel to come into the business as their skills are transferable and they are able to fill that gap.

Hayley said: “ Wealready a couple of reservists within the company and now have more of an insight about what they actually do. Ultimately we want to have that partnership approach and talk to our staff to educate others on what is available to them and how we could support them. For training budgets that are tight within the business, you can utilise the Reserves Forces to train and develop your staff, which is a massive incentive especially in leadership training. The reserves look at the business from a different prospective.  There is a huge difference in their approach to the business and we are considering adopting a military style structure within the business.

I am also really tempted to sign up as I think it would be really amazing.  I was studying before so I could do this in the time that I spent studying.  I’m really looking forward to promoting the reserves more and getting more information out there about what is available.”

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Karen Archway Services which is modular German designed scaffolding system, already have reservists working with them but were unaware of who they were.  Following from the Employer Engagement Event they hope to support them further and would like to employ more reservists.

When asking Karen what she had got from the day she said: “I am very impressed with the leadership qualifications that they have and the communication training that have. The other training that they receive is invaluable, such as first aid which is important on a building site.  If there is an accident, it is the service personnel that get everyone organised and those skills are invaluable in our industry.

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James Boyle works for CAE, a company that provides simulator training for civil aviation and working towards making flying safer. James spoke about why he had come to the event:  “ There appears to be a misconception about what being a reserve actually entails and wanted to find out more about what they do. The benefits of the diversity of both the training and the experience that they have received through the services, you just can’t replicate it and I think it’s a good idea to employ reserves especially those businesses who are contracted to the military. Ensuring companies working alongside the military, have a have a better understanding of what the military actually experience on the ground.

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Adam Liddle from Aijlon Technology attended the Employer Engagement event as their company do a lot of work with the MOD and employ 55 ex services personnel as part of our security framework.

When asked about why he had attended, he said:  “We are trying to get more people from the Armed Forces covenant into our employment not only as a part of our corporate responsibility but also to get that training and talent back into businesses.  I believe that employing and supporting Reserves, gives companies better retention because we are giving something back to employees. Today has also been a really good networking event and I am interested in finding out what the other companies do. I think it’s really important to bridge the gap between service leavers and future employers.”

Sussex and Kent Cadets visit Cypus

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Cyprus April 2017: On Friday 7th April Sussex ACF, Kent ACF and South West London ACF took 27 cadets and 8 instructors to Cyprus to train with 2 PWRR .   It was a packed week starting of On Saturday by visiting Recce Platoon and Sniper Platoon – Brilliant Demonstrations were given by PWRR and a familiarization session of the the kit used was a highlight.   Afterwards Camouflage & Concealment – with 12 cadets in each group,  they went and hid themselves in the area the using techniques taught to them. To test them the Snipers got out there Telescopic Sight Hardware and started to see if they could spot them (only 2 cadets found in the Sussex team – Go Sussex!).  The day was far from over as they them moved onto Building Clearing using buildings marked out with tape and were shown how a room should be cleared using 2 soldiers.   Then onto Contact Drills –  They practiced left flanking, right flanking and frontal assaults working as a platoon. Each cadet took it in turn to be the Platoon Commander or Section Commander whilst also practicing the 2i/c duties of each into the bargain.


Next Day Sunday,  kicked of with a Demonstration from Mortar Platoon on the beach near Alexander Barracks. Afterwards the cadets were taught certain aspects of Mortar Fire and then got to have a go themselves!   Then onto Javelin Platoon who also gave a first class demonstration and afterwards the cadets got to look at and try using some of the sights and technology used.   In the afternoon the 2 star cadets were taught about model building and used a giant sandpit to help visualise the ground for the exercise later.  In parallel the 3 star cadets  were given some orders revision and practice.

Monday was spent on the ranges firing the A3, working on zeroing and application shoots. All cadets competed in a shooting competition with some very impressive results. This was confirmed when a number of professional soldiers came to zero their rifles before heading out on operations and some of the cadets achieve higher scores than the soldiers- well done!  Much to their delight cadets where also taken through a wide range of other weapon systems – The Minimi, GPMG, AK47, Thompson submachine gun, Marksman – sharp shooter, Glock 17, Webley Service Revolver .38, A Baton gun and finally the LSW

In the evening the cadets where taken to a local restaurant for a mezzanine night for a 20 course meal, to experience the local cuisine.   All this and they are not even half way through the trip!

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