Tag Archives: Army Reserves

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

 

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Ex Winter Challenge 2015


Southampton University Officer Training Corps

After a long coach journey from Southampton to St Johann, Austria, 40 Officer Cadets from SouthamptonUOTC and 4 instructors arrived at the resort of Alpendorf at midday on Sunday 5th April.

Upon arrival, we were each issued with the necessary kit including skis and boots and were allocated our dorms for the week.

After an early start on Monday morning, we boarded the coach to take to Alpendorf, excited to begin our week of skiing. We were split into 4 groups, and introduced to our instructors for the week. The first gondola journey to the top of the mountain seemed to take forever, with the anticipation of the first run growing.

In contrast to the bottom of the mountain, at the top it was snowing heavily, which although sounding very exciting, made the visibility on the first and second day poor, requiring extra vigilance from all on the mountain. As the weather improved throughout the week, the views became more and more spectacular, although photos couldn’t do them justice. We began the week tackling the nursery slopes, practicing our skiing technique and growing in confidence, before moving onto blue slopes to challenge ourselves further. On the nursery slopes, we were taught how to slow down using the snow plough method, how to turn whilst in snow plough and also how to get up and put our skis back on if we were to take a tumble.

Fun on the slopes

On Tuesday morning we continued practicing what we had learnt on Monday, and in the afternoon, instead of taking the T-bar lifts on the nursery slopes, we advanced and took the 6-man lift for the first time! Throughout the week, the chair lifts became quite a spectacle and somewhat entertaining to watch, as Officer Cadets somehow struggled to grasp the concept and simplicity of the lifts. Ski poles were dropped and bent, goggles were lost, the automatic safety bar was forced up and even the occasional seat was missed! Each evening we came together for a debrief after the days skiing, and on Tuesday and Thursday evening, the instructors delivered lessons on weather, avalanches, kit and equipment, and first aid, which were required in order for us all to gain Ski Foundation Level 1 qualification (SF1).

Wednesday flew past, and the sudden realisation that we were half way through our week of skiing was surprising! The hotel that we stayed at offered an ‘All you can eat BBQ ribs’ night on Wednesday, which went down an absolute treat.

Friday was our last day of instructed skiing, and so the instructors decided to take us all to the same restaurant for lunch, called Krapfenalm. It was notorious for their delicious donuts, filled with either sweet or savoury filling, such as bacon, egg and potato, or chocolate, ice cream and sauce! Having all achieved our SF1 qualification on Friday, we were able to go skiing with other Officer Cadets on Saturday without the instructors’ supervision. Once we handed our kit back in to the ski hire shop, tidied our dorms and boarded the coach, the long coach journey back to Southampton began. I’m sure many others agreed that this had been one of the best weeks of our time at OTC and I hope to progress to SF2 next year.

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 http://www.serfca.org/en-gb/reservists/ta/128fieldcompanyreme.aspx