Under the Wings

2008, Age Seventeen

Seventeen months on, from walking through the gates of The Army Foundation College in Harrogate, as a young and naive sixteen-year-old, I was once again walking through a new set of gates. This time, however, these were the gates of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, and I had now completed the transition from ‘civi to soldier’.

I had learned a great deal in basic training and compared to the sixteen-year-old I was seventeen months ago, I had certainly come a long way. I was extremely proud of what I had already achieved and I was excited to finally be joining my regiment. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but remember the valuable lesson I had learned during the early stages of basic training (reference blog one, titled: Shock of Capture) and I noted, it would probably still be in my favour to keep my head down and play the grey man. (more…)

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Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

2007, Age sixteen

Tactical exercises, combat medical training, firing various weapon systems and putting live rounds down the range. 

Fifty two weeks of basic training, and I now stand to attention in front of my family, on my passing out parade (graduation parade). I’ve been taught how to shave, shower and wash my balls correctly. I’ve also received lessons on how to preserve the life of casualties and how to kill the enemy. There has been a great deal of information to take on board, however I was taught well and with diligence, I was now ready to join my regiment in order to deploy.   (more…)

Value of Military Friends

2007, Age sixteen.

Freezing my tits off, sitting on the frozen floor of a shell scrape (a temporary, defensive dug in position), somewhere on the training area of Catterick. So dark in the early hours of a cold January morning that I couldn’t even see my hands in front of my face, yet it was my time to be on stag (On watch or lookout). The whole platoon relying on my alertness and observation skills, so that they could rest easy, although I couldn’t see s**t. I remember my hands being frustratingly disabled due to the cold temperatures, which restricted me from being able to unzip my trousers for the meaningless and simple task of going for a tactical piss (urinating whilst maintaining a low profile). (more…)