• Supporting Reserve Forces and Cadets in the South East

    Reserves & Cadets
  1. 151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

     

    151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps is proud to have some of the finest soldiers serving within its ranks. People like Corporal Lisa Ingram, who has been ...

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    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

    151 RLC RESERVIST NOMINATED FOR QVRM IN QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS

     

    151 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps is proud to have some of the finest soldiers serving within its ranks. People like Corporal Lisa Ingram, who has been notified by the Commanding Officer that she is to receive the Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday honours announced today.

     

    Lisa is a Marksman and one of the Army’s top shots.  She developed a keen interest in shooting which began in 2002. Soon after becoming top shot at the Regimental Skill at Arms competition Lisa joined the Regimental shooting team. Within her first year shooting she was within the top 50 Army Reservists competing at Bisley. She has been in the top 20 every year since. Lisa has won the RLC Corps Operational Shooting Competition on several occasions and continues to be part of the winning team.  Selected to represent the Army Reserve Operational Shooting Team Lisa has also competed in numerous international competitions.

     

    Lisa is also a Section Corporal with 124 Transport Squadron based in Maidstone Kent.  When she is not shooting, Lisa commands a section of drivers operating LGV vehicles moving ammunition and commodities where ever the Army needs it. Her skills being operationally tested when deployed during Operation TELIC in Iraq.

     

    Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Dave Miller said, “Lisa typifies the selfless commitment displayed by our Reservists and the contribution they make to defence. This award recognises the incredible achievements Lisa has made throughout her military career and is testament to the opportunities available to all”. 

     

    On receiving the news Lisa said “Being a member of the Reserves has given me the opportunity to really challenge myself as part of a team.  To be recognised in this way is a fantastic honour, I was delighted when informed and excited at the thought receiving the award”.

     

    The Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) was created by Royal Warrant of Queen Elizabeth II on 29 March 1999.Only 13 Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medals may be awarded in a year. The medal is presented only to members of the Volunteer Reserves of the British Armed Services for exemplary meritorious service in the conduct of their duties.

  2. FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB and X-Forces invite businesses to Armed Forces Covenant event

    • Tom Tugendhat MP and Ren Kapur MBE to discuss the benefits ex-forces personnel bring to industry at a Tunbridge Wells’ event on 21 June 2019.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in partnership with X-Forces Ente...

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    FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB AND XFORCES INVITE BUSINESSES TO ARMED FORCES COVENANT EVENT

    FSB and X-Forces invite businesses to Armed Forces Covenant event

    • Tom Tugendhat MP and Ren Kapur MBE to discuss the benefits ex-forces personnel bring to industry at a Tunbridge Wells’ event on 21 June 2019.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in partnership with X-Forces Enterprise (XFE)  is inviting business owners to hear from Tom Tugendhat MP alongside Ren Kapur MBE, Barry Thompson of Me:Now; Kate Lole from the Ministry of Defence; Shaun Micallef-Green of The Rift Group and Lisa Marr from Veterans Employment Transition Support (VETS) at a special event in the run up to Armed Forces Day.

    1,200 start-ups have been born out of the military community over the past four years, according to XFE. With around 925,000 veterans of working age, FSB Area Leader Deborah Turner says there are opportunities for many more to start their own business following military service.

    Deborah Turner says: “Many skills learned in the forces are absolutely key to running a business – technical skills, logistics, leadership and management. Plus, of course, tenacity and resilience. Plus, with one third of firms struggling to recruit, an open recruitment policy is essential for businesses to thrive. This event will highlight ways in which both businesses and ex-forces personnel can benefit.”

    FSB Members Debbie Scott of Scott Communications, and Dominic Offord of TN4 have volunteered their time to curate the event.

    Debbie Scott says: As an FSB member and former Naval reservist, I was delighted to hear that FSB supports X-Forces. It can be hard to find the right support and advice on leaving military service. We hope to raise awareness of the expert skills and resilience ex-forces members can bring to business, as well as show how businesses can do more to support those leaving the armed forces by signing up to the Covenant.”

    Dominic Offord says: “When I left the Navy I knew I had useful leadership and strategy setting skills but knowing what to do with them, and where to work next, was difficult. Organisations such as FSB and X-Forces can literally be a lifeline to those of us wanting to continue to contribute to society, but in a different way from service.”

    Armed Forces Event

    Business owners, managers and ex-Forces personnel of all ranks are invited to join the panel debate and event:

    Friday 21 June 2019

    The Ephraim Suite, Royal Wells Hotel, Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells

    08.45am to 12 noon

    Free to attend.

    To book email sarah.lilly@fsb.org.uk or register here http://bit.ly/2YlPE0a

  3. Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Over the weekend of 26-28th of April, a team of eight cadets from our CCF at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School competed in the national Cadet Cambrian Patrol. We had been preparing for this annual competition since the beginning of September, with early morning fitness sessions before school and lunchtime fieldcraft revision, as it one of the most challenging competitions a cadet can take p...

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    Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Cadet Cambrian Patrol 2019

    Over the weekend of 26-28th of April, a team of eight cadets from our CCF at Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School competed in the national Cadet Cambrian Patrol. We had been preparing for this annual competition since the beginning of September, with early morning fitness sessions before school and lunchtime fieldcraft revision, as it one of the most challenging competitions a cadet can take part in. 

    Cambrian takes place in the Brecon Beacons, which meant a long journey from Kent to Wales for the team and our officers, in a minibus packed full of kit. As soon as we arrived at 7 pm on Friday, the competition began immediately with a marked kit check to ensure we had everything we needed. After we were briefed on what the weekend would involve, it was then straight to sleep as early as possible for the entire team, as we would need as much energy as we could get.

    At 4 am the next morning we had to start getting ready for the main competition day, after only a few hours of disturbed sleep due to the raging storm outside. By 6:15 am we were ready at our start point. The competition involves completing a 30 km circuit in under 12 hours, with all the teams starting in different locations and stopping at checkpoints along the way. At some of these, we had marked tasks to do, which would comprise the majority of the marks available in the whole competition. At 6:30 the 12 hours began, which commenced for our team by crawling through the freezing mud and rain into a position where we had to carry out a defensive shoot, firing at targets ahead of us that popped up at random. We then started the long walk, already soaking wet and cold. By this time the rain had turned to powerful hail. It had somehow got even colder and windier than it had been before, with strong gusts that made some of our smaller cadet’s fall over. Our team moved as quickly as possible, so early on we managed to overtake a couple of other teams. We gradually got through more and more of the distance and checkpoints, stopping along the way to complete a military knowledge test, a section attack using laser guns, range cards and a first aid scenario.

    With several hours remaining we had just one more checkpoint to reach before we would return to our start point- meaning completion of the circuit. However, these two final legs of the distance happened to be the longest and steepest of the entire route, with several precarious river crossings along the way. By this point, we were all very tired, cold and in pain with an impressive collection of blisters between us, but we kept our spirits high as we knew we were nearly there. At some points along this final 6 km, we seemed to be making no progress, seemingly having to stop every few metres and struggling to make it up to the top of the steep hills. Eventually, we spotted the TWGGS minibus in the distance, where our officers were waiting nervously to see if we would be able to finish within the time, at the top of one final hill. The whole team completed the circuit together at 5:45 pm, with 45 minutes to spare. We then went back to the old cattle barn where we had slept the night before for a well-earned meal and night's sleep.

    Early the next morning we woke up and walked a final 3 km walk toward the firing ranges. Despite being sore from the day before, we arrived at in just over half an hour and completed the final scored part of Cambrian- a shoot of 15 rounds of ammunition fired from sitting, kneeling and lying down. After cleaning our faces, boots, and weapons, the 16 teams of cadets from all over the UK who had taken part, lined up for the parade. Each team was given an award: certificate, bronze, silver or gold, with several teams winning each type of medal. When it was announced that our team had won gold, we were unbelievably proud of all that we had done that weekend, as well as the countless hours of preparation we had spent leading up to that moment.  Next, the Brigadier announced the best commander and the best overall national team. Already very pleased with our gold medal, we were surprised to be told that we had won the award for the best national team and had won the whole competition- for the second year in a row!

  4. Exercise Kiş - 165 Port and Maritime

    In February 2019, the British Army was asked to send six observers to Exercise Kiş, a Turkish Brigade Live Fire Exercise, set near the Turkish garrison town of Kars in Eastern Turkey.  This was part of an eclectic mix of nationalities from countries a...

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    Exercise Kiş - 165 Port and Maritime

    Exercise Kiş - 165 Port and Maritime

    In February 2019, the British Army was asked to send six observers to Exercise Kiş, a Turkish Brigade Live Fire Exercise, set near the Turkish garrison town of Kars in Eastern Turkey.  This was part of an eclectic mix of nationalities from countries as diverse as: Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.  The British Army was represented by five Army Reserve Officers and one Regular Officer; the five Reserve Officers were from 4 Para, the HAC, the REME, and two from 165 Port and Maritime Regiment, 264 Squadron and 710 (Operational Hygiene) Squadron.

    Kars is set in beautiful mountainous terrain in the far east of Turkey and is a town known for its honey, cheese and carpets as well as a magnificent castle.  The British Observers were accommodated in the Turkish Army’s Officers’ Club in Kars, which was built in 1788, and had walls 3-feet thick.

    At the Exercise Headquarters the International Observers were briefed on the Brigade-size exercise which was overseen by a Divisional Headquarters.  The exercise included Air Assets and had Observers from 16 Nations.

    As part of the exercise we visited a display provided by a Turkish Commando unit which included a comprehensive equipment display and the opportunity to view the shelters used by the Turkish Commandos including snow holes and igloos. In addition to their military role the Turkish Commandos also undertake mountain search and rescue.  The Commandos demonstrated their capabilities, they flew in by Puma helicopter, attacking and destroying enemy held buildings; blowing up a bridge and then undertook a search and rescue mission. 

    We found the Turkish soldiers to be friendly and very keen to show off their military prowess.  They were well equipped, and it was clear that they were very used to operating in the local conditions which included daytime temperatures down to minus 14 degrees.  Extensive use was made of white paint for vehicles and white camouflage clothing and white camouflage nets. 

    The final big exercise was a combined-arms live-fire exercise with targets being hit by F16s, Artillery, Attack Helicopters, M 48 Tanks, APCs, RPGs and snipers.  Half way through the demonstration a Chinook flew in more artillery, a C-17 dropped resupplies, and then paratroopers each with a flag of a participating nation closed the exercise.  Overall, a very impressive display and something we were very lucky to witness.

  5. Adventurous Training Expedition - 165 Port & Maritime Regt RLC

    On Fri 8 Mar, 16 soldiers and officers from 165 Port & Maritime Regt RLC travelled to Les ...

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    Adventurous Training Expedition - 165 Port & Maritime Regt RLC

    Adventurous Training Expedition - 165 Port & Maritime Regt RLC

    On Fri 8 Mar, 16 soldiers and officers from 165 Port & Maritime Regt RLC travelled to Les Arcs Ski Resort in France to take part in a 5 day adventurous training package. The expedition included novice and advanced skiers who obtained ski foundation (SF) 1 and 2 qualifications, developing skills for potential participants in the RLC ski championships later this year and preparing those wanting to obtain an SF3 qualification. The SF1 package taught individuals the basics from the anatomy of ski’s and how to wear them, leading to eventually going down red runs all within just five days. The SF2 package introduced students to ski touring, using avalanche probes and skiing down some very testing black runs and going off-piste. The Adventurous Training package was a success with Soldiers and Officers training out of their comfort zones and pushing themselves physically and mentally.

    I would like to thank SERFCA for the funds provided towards this expedition and for contributing to its overall success.

  6. OUOTC Adventurous Training, Exercise Blue Slalom 2019

    This year’s Exercise, Blue Slalom, aimed to provide an opportunity for Officer Cadets to train in alpine skiing. For some, it was their first-time skiing, others had skied before and for a few,...

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    OUOTC Adventurous Training, Exercise Blue Slalom 2019

    OUOTC Adventurous Training, Exercise Blue Slalom 2019

    This year’s Exercise, Blue Slalom, aimed to provide an opportunity for Officer Cadets to train in alpine skiing. For some, it was their first-time skiing, others had skied before and for a few, who were already advanced skiers, it offered the opportunity to develop new skills through the SF2 training program.

    On the 4th January, 43 Officer Cadets arrived at Falklands House and after kit was issued started the 24-hour journey to Les Deux Alps. After having the rest of the day upon arrival to relax it was an early night in preparation for a week’s ski training. The next morning, we were up at 07:30 and after a shower and breakfast were split down into groups according to previous skiing experience.

    Having skied a few times before, but several years ago, the weeks skiing re-introduced me to the correct techniques and allowed me to develop quickly under qualified supervision. The week started on a gentle green slope and ended with some impressive reds. The individual groups all progressed at an equal rate, always at the pace of the weakest member so that no one was left behind or left out.

    The group quickly bonded and each day was progressively more fun as we became more confident in ourselves and our skiing improved. At the end of the week, everyone was either qualified with the SF1 qualification or the senior SF2 qualification which looked at emergency drills such as what do in the case of an avalanche. The weather was perfect with bluebird for most of the week.

    At the end of a day’s skiing and a good supper, Officer Cadets had time to relax and socialise with several socials organised by the group leaders. Deux Alps offered the perfect location for training with a huge range of slopes and a lovely French town in which to base ourselves. The Officer Cadets, many of whom had only joined Oxford UOTC a few months before the exercise, all bonded over this week and everyone had a very enjoyable time both on and off the slopes. 

  7. SERFCA Employer Engagement Luncheon at RMAS

    On the 06 March 2019, Employers...

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    SERFCA Employer Engagement Luncheon at RMAS

    SERFCA Employer Engagement Luncheon at RMAS

    On the 06 March 2019, Employers who are Gold Recognition Award holders as part of the Employer Recognition Scheme were invited to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (renowned worldwide as an establishment of excellence and is held as an exemplar on the subject of ‘Leadership’) for a Luncheon and talks on now the Army approach Leadership vs how a civilian organisation in this case Southern Gas Network approach leadership in their organisation.

  8. Alpine Adventure 2019 Skiing Expedition to Germany

    Alpine Adventure is a one week Skiing expedition to Bavaria, Germany during the February School half-term break and supports 100 cadet places for the experience.

    The expedition is open to any cadet, but places are grouped to fill the 3 lo...

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    Alpine Adventure 2019 Skiing Expedition to Germany

    Alpine Adventure 2019 Skiing Expedition to Germany

    Alpine Adventure is a one week Skiing expedition to Bavaria, Germany during the February School half-term break and supports 100 cadet places for the experience.

    The expedition is open to any cadet, but places are grouped to fill the 3 lodges used on the trip. Each Coach group occupies a separate lodge in the Allgäu area of Bavaria, where the cadets are accommodated, joining them from a wide variety of locations and Squadrons.

    The expedition costs are kept to a minimum by using land transport and self-managed accommodation & catering, group rates for Ski Equipment and passes as well as utilising RAFAC staff volunteers, all of whom are giving up their time for the expedition and who individually pay to retain and support the holding of their qualifications to lead cadets in the Skiing environment. Staff have trained and qualified as Alpine Ski Leader (some are BASI 1 or 2) to safely train cadets in skiing. Additional staff are used as sweepers in the ski groups and are used for other driving and supervision duties during the trip.

    During this years’ expedition, the cadets enjoyed some of the best snow we have seen along with clear blue skies and uninterrupted sunshine…. What a trip!!  During the day, cadets were split into groups of 8 based on skiing experiences and were led around by our ASLs. They all got to ski much of the mountain and, during the week, we moved to other local resorts to enhance their terrain experience. After the days’ activity, the coaches went their separate ways to the lodges for the evening meal , followed by another activity. 10 pin Bowling and Swimming were arranged off site as well as a quiz and film night on site at the lodges. The final fling was the Gala night on Thursday where all the groups converged to a local hall where presentations and group photos were completed followed by Party acts from each of the groups.

    This year; to mark the retirement of one of our founding members, former Wing Commander A.J. “Barney” Bruce RAF (Ret’d); we celebrated the presentation of the Barney Bruce Award, presented to the cadet who had contributed the most to the week both on and off the slopes. The winner was Cadet Sergeant Ashlea Hickman of 2374 Sqn in Kent.

    All together after a full skiing program; some 100 cadets and 20 staff embarked the coaches for the journey home; from Bavaria, through Germany to Luxembourg, Belgium and France, they finally split on the Quayside at Dover to return home for a well-earned rest.

  9. Gliding Dreams Comes Closer for Shoreham Air Cadets

    Despite last weekend’s chilly weather three cadets from 1440 (Shoreham-by-Sea) Squadron came a step closer to realising their dreams of gliding when they spent the day at the former Battle of Britain airfield at RAF Kenley in Surrey. Corporal Michael Gray (14), Corporal R...

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    Gliding Dreams Comes Closer for Shoreham Air Cadets

    Gliding Dreams Comes Closer for Shoreham Air Cadets

    Despite last weekend’s chilly weather three cadets from 1440 (Shoreham-by-Sea) Squadron came a step closer to realising their dreams of gliding when they spent the day at the former Battle of Britain airfield at RAF Kenley in Surrey. Corporal Michael Gray (14), Corporal Rosie Dyett (13) and Cadet Joseph Ramet (15) travelled to Kenley, the home of 615 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, to become the latest in a long line of Air Cadets to pass through their doors to begin their gliding experience.

    Gliding is one of the RAF Air Cadets core activities and the team were at Kenley to beginning their training to earn their “wings.” The three spent time in the hanger with qualified gliding instructors, looking over the two-seat Grob Viking T1 glider that has been used to fly cadets for many years. They learnt about how the aircraft gets into the sky and more importantly what keeps them there without engines! They also learnt how an operational gliding airfield works and how they fit in to the bigger picture.

     

    The cadets were all itching to get into the air but, as with all things, they needed to start at the beginning which for them this meant time firmly on the ground! The cadets were able to take control of the Viking simulator together with one of the instructor team where they were able to put into practice some of the theory they had learnt earlier in the day. Rosie, from Shoreham, said: “When it was my turn to go into the simulator, I was a bit nervous to start with but my instructor was really good and it was great fun!” Joseph added: “We learn about the principles of flight at the Squadron, but it has been great to be able to actually see how it all works and experience it for myself. I can’t wait to get into the air for real!”

     

    Sergeant Leslie Ackerman, an adult volunteer at 1440 Squadron said: “By starting the cadets off using a simulator on the ground, they are able to understand the basics of how aircraft fly and what the controls do to affect that. This makes for a much better experience when they do take to the skies.”

     

    Passing the Ground School element of their gliding training means that the team can now progress, take to the air and put into practice some of the things they learnt in the coming months.   

     

    Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be an Air Cadet, Adult Volunteer or member of our Support Committee? 1440 Squadron are keen to recruit young people aged between 12 (and in Year 8 at school) to 18 as well as adults who are keen to help us deliver the best opportunities to our cadets. Interested? Drop us an e-mail at 1440@aircadets.org or visit our website www.1440sqn.org.

  10. 254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    The 254 Ski team were an unknown entity; comprised of those who had responded to the Defence Connect ca...

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    254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    254 Medical Regiment Ski Team on Ex Proton Serpent 19

    The 254 Ski team were an unknown entity; comprised of those who had responded to the Defence Connect call for interest but skill levels for now unaccounted for!  The team comprised of Maj Susie King, Capt Dan Worley, WO1 (RSM) Paul Stockwell, SSgt Dave Roffey, Cpl Alice Phillips, LCpl Trustram-Eve, Pte Josh Ager and Pte Jake Halls.  It had been short notice between receiving the Admin Order, getting a Business Case through and all the preparatory admin required to secure the team 2 weeks training.  It was a long drive over to the Alps but travelling at night and in two cars rather than vans, went surprisingly well with the team arriving in resort by 07:30am on 27 Jan 19.  The organisation and MCCP for the exercise was very slick and it wasn’t long before we were recovering from our long journey and settling into our lovely alpine accommodation, with a delicious home cooked evening meal by Pte Ager. 

    Thank you to those who funded us, supported us and of course the skiers for pushing themselves in the competition.

  11. 142 (QOOH) VEH SQN – BATTLEFIELD STUDY

    As we have just reached the end of the year in which commemorations to mark the Centenary of the Great War came to an end, I wanted to write up the amazing experience that some soldiers and ex serving members of 142 (QOOH) Vehicle Squadron got to experience in November 2018.

    (Sgt Steve Renwick, LCpl Nick Thompson, Cpl Jon Melling, Cpl Graham Martin, SSgt Tom Robertson & SSgt Mark Taylor)

    The history of the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars (QOOH) is something that is held highly within our squadron given that we still hold the honorary title of QOOH, so I would like to reflect on...

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    142 (QOOH) VEH SQN – BATTLEFIELD STUDY

    142 (QOOH) VEH SQN – BATTLEFIELD STUDY

    As we have just reached the end of the year in which commemorations to mark the Centenary of the Great War came to an end, I wanted to write up the amazing experience that some soldiers and ex serving members of 142 (QOOH) Vehicle Squadron got to experience in November 2018.

    (Sgt Steve Renwick, LCpl Nick Thompson, Cpl Jon Melling, Cpl Graham Martin, SSgt Tom Robertson & SSgt Mark Taylor)

    The history of the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars (QOOH) is something that is held highly within our squadron given that we still hold the honorary title of QOOH, so I would like to reflect on the personal impact that a visit to the battlefields of WW1 had on individuals both young and old who attended.

    We started the tour at the ARC in Banbury where 30 of us headed off towards via Maubeuge, France via the Euro Tunnel. Maubeuge is a town of approx. 30,000 people in northern France, situated on the banks of the Sambrea a stone’s throw from the Belgium border to the North. The evening of arrival on the 7th of November is ours and many take the opportunity to sample a few of the local bistros, bars and fortifications that surround the city.

    An early start on day 2 sees us head up head to Rifle Wood, where the QOOH had seen action on the 1st April 1918 (Two days after the battle for Moreuil Wood fought by the Canadians), this was a decisive part of the war for the QOOH, known as ‘The Last Great Cavalry Charge’, for obvious reasons.  There is a memorial not far from Rifle Wood on the southeast side, erected by the Canadians in 2004 to remember their men who died at Moreuil and Rifle Woods, and which includes a plaque commemorating the QOOH men who fought at Rifle Wood. Serving Members of the squadron laid a wreath in memorial. Following this we headed to the joint Canadian/UK memorial for a tour of the site and to look at the immense size and scale of what was in place.

    On day 3 saw we visited the Flesquières museum. An amazing experience and highly recommended if you can go, which comes with an amazing story of how the tank was found. For six years a man searched, dug, read archive reports, war reports and files to find the tank that was supposedly buried in area after succumbing to German fire. Eventually after years of searching he found it buried 2 metres down and they dug out a Mark IV Deborah tank, buried whole. The tank is now on display at this purpose built museum for everyone to see, and it is truly amazing to look at.

    From the museum we visited the Flesquiéres Hill Commonwealth War Cemetery, here we spent some time to reflect on the ages of some of the soldiers and officers who had fought within the area. From Flesquiéres we headed back to the hotel to prepare for a tour and meal in the Angelus brewery, Erquelinnes. A very interesting evening unfolded which ended rather late….

    On the fourth day we headed to visit the American Memorial and Graveyard at Bony, a staggering 14.3 acre cemetery containing the graves of 1,844 of military dead. From Bony we drove to Guillemont Farm. Guillemont Farm is something that all members of the QOOH have at least minimal knowledge of due to its importance. It was here that Major Valentine Fleming (father of Ian Fleming) and two other officers were killed in 1917 along with many QOOH soldiers. It was very rainy and windy when we visited the farm, and it only added to the feeling that this would not have been a very nice place to have been whilst under constant German offensive.

    We got back in the minibuses and headed to Templeux-Le-Guérard Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery.  Here we left crosses at the graves of QOOH soldiers who died in the area. Old, Macey, White, Bleloch, Cox, Saunders, Buckle, Podbery, Baylis, Lovejoy, Buswell, Ayris, Thompson, Silvertop and course Fleming.

    That evening we were invited to the 2018 Armistice Gala Concert in Erquelinnes, the focus of our battlefield study. The evening was a grand event of music, dancing, local beer and food which went on well into the night. It was a great evening and the town Major of Erquelinnes made us feel very welcome.

    The final day, the most important. The Centenary of the Great War coming to an end. I had the great honour of riding a somewhat reluctant horse through the town of Erquelinnes. It was here on the final day of the war that the men of the QOOH rode in on horseback to liberate the town.

    There is a photograph of a QOOH Soldier on horseback with the backdrop of a local shop behind him which was replicated to mark the occasion before we marched front and centre of the procession to the Erquelinnes Communal Cemetery, paying homage to the fallen and laying a wreath for all soldiers who had fought and died in WW1.

    (Military members of the Battlefield Study)

    The day ended with an Armistice ceremony in the town square, where both speeches and gifts were exchanged between the QOOH Association and both the Town Major of Banbury (who sent a gift over with us) and Erquelinnes. After a beautiful silence, we were lead from the square, carrying the local beer and wine provided to a massive banquet in the town hall to celebrate the centenary of the Armistice.

    The Battlefield study was amazing and insightful, I really enjoyed it, following the history of our squadron through the final months of WW1 was invaluable and now when we parade with our colours through Banbury I can really understand the battle honours bestowed onto it. I think all who went on the study can thank those who organised it and indeed 165 Port and Maritime Regiment for allowing 142 Squadron to conduct this Battlefield study alongside the Regimental run one that happens each year.

    I’d say to anyone who hasn’t been on a Battlefield study to get on the next available one, seeing what happened during WW1 puts most things into perspective.

    Cpl Martin

    142 (QOOH) Vehicle SQN

  12. A Company 3 PWRR - Sgt Bell awarded medals for his service

    Sergeant (Sgt) Michael Bell currently serving with local Army Reserve unit, the 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, known as the TIGERS has been awarded two medals for his operational service.   

    Sgt Bell, 32 from North London a...

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    A Company 3 PWRR - Sgt Bell awarded medals for his service

    A Company 3 PWRR - Sgt Bell awarded medals for his service

    Sergeant (Sgt) Michael Bell currently serving with local Army Reserve unit, the 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, known as the TIGERS has been awarded two medals for his operational service.   

    Sgt Bell, 32 from North London and is a member of the 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR); however is posted into the local reserve unit as a Permanent Staff Instructor (PSI). He is based with A Company 3 PWRR at Manston, Ramsgate but also covers military duties at the platoon outstation in Ashford.

    Sgt Bell has served with the Regular Army since leaving school and follows in his older brother’s footsteps. He has seen operational experience in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq as well as deploying overseas several times on exercise.

    “Since joining I have really enjoyed every opportunity of my time with the Army.  It has taught me a lot about myself and given me a unparalleled level of life experience.  I have had the opportunity to travel and learn about different countries and the culture of the people there.”

    Sgt Bell has been presented with a further two medals.  These are in recognition of his time spent in Iraq serving on Operation SHADER.  This is a training mission where the British Army is deployed to assist with the training of the Iraqi Army.  Sgt Bell spent six months in the country as part of the training team; there he taught the Iraqi soldiers both basic skills as well as some more specialised skills.  Some of this reflected the high level of training that he himself received from the British Army and they benefitted from the experiences that he has also had from his past tours of duty.

    The second award was in recognition of his accumulated service.  The Accumulated Service Medal is award to individuals who have completed more than 720 days on operational service.  Sgt Bell achieved this during his time away on Op SHADER.

    “Since being in my new post as PSI in a reserve Battalion, I have been given the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and wisdom to the future soldiers and leaders of the 3rd Battalion. In some respects, this is like my time on Op SHADER.  I hope this will stand them in good stead for future operations on which they might deploy; which is still an important task for the Army Reserve.”

    Sgt Bell has about another year in his post with 3 PWRR before he will return to 2 PWRR his parent unit.  2 PWRR has recently re-roled into one of the new Special Infantry Battalions of the British Army.  These help to deal with the various training missions that are currently being undertaking across the world.  He will no doubt be able to take with him plenty of instructional experience from his time spent with the Army Reserve.