Tag Archives: Reserves

Exercise Snow Eagle


Me straddling Austria and Germany after ski touring up to 1844 metres above sea level 

My name is Paul Doodson and I am currently a LAC Logs (MTD), Reserve with 501 Squadron RAuxAF.  I recently attended Ex SNOW EAGLE adventurous training exercise in Bavaria, Germany.

This year was my first experience of the Eagle scheme and it was an absolutely brilliant time that was had by all.  I and 6 other members of my Squadron joined 60+ Regular members of the RAF, all of us at different skill levels, so all getting something different from the experience.

On Ex SNOW EAGLE there are 3 different basic levels of training – Ski Foundation (SF) 1, 2 and 3:

  1. This level is for people who have never skied before. By the end of the week each person will be at a level where they can confidently stop, turn, control speed and ultimately tackle basic blue runs, more challenging red runs, and occasionally a black run.


  1. Once you have completed SF1 or have skied before and have a good competent level of ability, this group hone their skills on the slopes, advance to black runs ‘as a standard’ and prepare to advance to the next group.


  1. For the advanced skier, this group spends a lot of time skiing off piste, ski touring, undertaking avalanche training and rescue. This group gets prepared to go onto the next course which is a whole new package of training which is Ski Leadership 1, 2 and 3.

Every person I spoke to in each of these groups thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the week and all got a massive sense of achievement from their week’s work. This week was very enjoyable but don’t be fooled into thinking it is a free ski trip. Personally I was in the SF3 group and this was very physically demanding, from skiing off piste, digging in deep snow for avalanche search and rescue and most demanding was ski touring. This involves putting skins onto the bottom of the skis, detaching the heel part of your ski binding and then basically walking up the mountain. The payoff for this though is amazing views not available from the top of a ski lift and then, of course, the off piste trip back down creating fresh tracks of your own!

SNOW EAGLE is one of many different schemes that are run as adventure training; there is also mountain biking, canoeing and mountaineering. It is well worth looking on the MOSS website to find out more.



Employer Engagement event on board HMS Victory Part.2

Councillor Frank Jonas the Armed Forces Champion accepted the MOD Silver Employer award on behalf of Portsmouth City Council.

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Denise addressed the Silver Award winners which included her own Hospital NHS Trust. She said, “I am so proud to represent the Royal Naval Reserve.”

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Royal Navy Reservist Denise Wright, who works as a Nurse t the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is a member of HMS King Alfred based on Whale Island in Portsmouth 

Mr Heppenstall addressed the Silver Award recipients and said, “Three years ago QinetiQ accepted the same award, I congratulate you all, continue to do what you have signed up for, and remember the challenge – Silver is good but there is much more to do, Gold is the next step!”

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Mr Joe Heppenstall, Resourcing Lead at QinetiQ and the company’s Reserves Champion 

Captain Matt Loughrey, Commander of Brompton Academy Combined Cadet Force said, “We have been set up now for around 18 months and our contingent Army section is up to 40 – 50 strong.”

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Matt Loughrey accepted the Silver Award on behalf of Brompton Academy, a forward thinking and vibrant Academy based in Gillingham Kent. One of the first state schools to establish and develop a thriving Combined Cadet Force. 

More photos can be seen here http://www.serfca.org/Links/Media/Gallery/ID/16/HMS-Victory-Silver-Awards

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.


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”.


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.”


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”.


Banbury Armed Forces Day – 501 Sqn

By Sqn Ldr Andy Marshall – Officer Commanding 501 Sqn RAuxAF

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To celebrate Armed Forces Day 2016,  501 Sqn accepted an invitation and participated in the Banbury Town event which took place on 25 Jun. We saw it as an opportunity to show off the Sqn and the Reserves to the local community and so in the early Saturday morning a convoy of vehicles left Brize Norton and traveled up to Banbury to set up our recruiting tent and vehicle display.

In addition to 501 Sqn and the local Air Training Corps Sqns, it was hoped that the Royal Air Force contingent would be backed up by a Chinook from Odiham, but alas, aircraft availability, leaving Man SV Trucks as the military hardware on display. The weather played a part in the reduced turnout of the public, but those who did come to the event saw a range of displays from the Navy, Army and Air Force cadet forces, which culminated in Trooping the Colour by 142 Royal Logistics Corps, a Banbury based Reserve unit, supported by the Band of the Royal Artillery. This part of the event was to be supported by a Spitfire flypast, but the adverse weather conditions intervened and the flypast had to be cancelled.

Overall, during the day, Sqn personnel ran a recruiting stand for all of the Sqns based at Brize (and beyond) and dealt with several enquiries from people interested in service with the Royal Air Force Reserves. The SV truck proved very popular with the visitors to the show, many who got the chance to sit behind the wheel for a photo opportunity.

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US/UK Exchange – 151 Transport Rgt/124 Transport Sqn

Written by Corporal Michael Marshall 


My name is Cpl Marshall of 151 transport regiment, 124 transport squadron Maidstone and I currently serve as a class 1 chef in the Royal logistic core, I have been in the reserves for 15 years.

Recently I have have had the opportunity to take part in the annual us/uk exchange, and was selected to represent the regiment in California at FORT HUNTER LIGGETT. And serve alongside the 786th QM Company, Provo, UTAH, on their annual two week exercise.

There role is to provide fuel to all other units taking part in the exercise, they deployed a week before the main force arrived so that they were able to build the bulk fuel distribution point. So as the units arrived they were able to refuel straight away without any delay in the process of moving forward to their locations.


It was while I was here and was assisting in numerous tasks they were surprised to find that my main trade was as a chef and not a fueller, so I was given the privilege of a tour around the battalion field kitchen, which is capable of feeding 800 troops a day, most of the food is bulk mres which are heated up and then served to the troops. Not fresh but it was there to provide a service and ensure that the troops had two hot meals a day the other would be ration pack or mre as they are called.

It then appeared that one day in the early days of the exercise that due to complications the main field kitchen was unable to feed the unit I was with, so I offered my services to use their own kitchen get it set up and then teach their own cook how to prepare a fresh meal for the troops in the field, as this is not how they feed in the field.

Supplies were found at the local Wal-Mart over two hours away mind you, and then came up with a menu. I had many volunteers to assist some had to be turned away as they had never been served a fresh cooked meal in the field kitchen.


The unit then asked if they could invite their sister unit that had just arrived to enjoy a fresh meal which was no issue, with the help of the volunteers in two hours we had a menu to serve 85 troops which consisted of chicken chowmein, kebabs on bed of rice , brattis in rolls with a chilli sauce.

So 85 soldiers very happy even having seconds and I do believe thirds.

With the senior ranks being astounded at what was truly capable a request was put in for another meal to be cooked two days later as a visit from a one star general with his entourage was arriving so I decide to do a traditional English cooked breakfast, some ingredients were hard to get but we got there in the end.

So some extremely happy officers and troops being fed proper food that was tasty and hot.

For more information please go to http://www.serfca.org/Reserves/Army-Reserve/Royal-Logistic-Corps/124-Transport-Squadron-RLC

3PWRR Folkstone Training Weekend (Part.2)


Recruit Himal Gaha, 21 works in a fast food restaurant.  From a proud Gurkha family, Himal’s father and grandfather both served in the Royal Regiment of Gurkhas, he has always been interested in the military.  He said “I’ve come along to HQ Company in Canterbury with some friends and I’m now four weeks into the recruitment process but at the very start of my journey.  I’ve got my interview on Wednesday this week and then I need to focus on my fitness.”  He added “It’s been an awesome experience so far. I’m meeting and making some good friends and brothers”.


Private Liam-Grogan Edwards, 26, has been a member of the Army Reserve for two years.  Serving with 3PWRR’s A Company, based in Farnham, he works in landscaping.  He said “I joined the Army Reserve for the army life and the experience.  I enjoy being out on exercise and being part of a team”.  He added “This has been a good training weekend – focussing on section and platoon attacks.  But getting up at 3am to “stag on” was quite a challenge, but all part of it”.


Private Dan May, 25, has been an Army Reservist for three years and serves with HQ Company, 3 PWRR, based in Canterbury.  Dan, a car mechanic by trade, has seen operational service in Afghanistan on Operation TORAL where he was part of the force protection and in Cyprus on UN Mission Operation TOSCA.   He said “I joined the Army Reserve because I thought it would give me a good insight into the Army as I hope to join the Regulars.  I really enjoy being with the lads and the camaraderie that we all have”.

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.